Published June 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format read: ARC via publisher
With the same warmth and fun that readers loved in All the Answers, Kate Messner weaves fantasy into the ordinary, giving every reader the opportunity to experience a little magic.
Because The Seventh Wish isn’t just a book about wish fulfillment gone amok. It’s also a thoughtful look at what it means to grow up, and accepting that the world can’t always resolve itself in a way that makes to you, and learning how to accept that as a fact.
Messner introduces us to Charlie, who is struggling through middle school. She always feels like she’s the last priority in her family’s life, with much of the attention being devoted to her now-moody college-aged sister Abby.
After finding a fish that claims to have the ability to grant wishes, Charlie makes a series of wishes that she thinks will help fix her life, and the life of those around her. However, like most wish tales, the wishes don’t turn out as planned….
In the early stages of The Seventh Wish, Messner harkens back to the old wisdom of learning to be careful what one should wish for. Because even as Charlie’s wishes are well-meaning, they often have unexpected consequences, ranging from friends to not necessarily getting what they want, to Charlie getting what she wants – but with a twist.
While Charlie blames the twists on her mumbling or her lack of ability to elucidate her wishes clearly, any reader familiar with The Monkey’s Paw (or even the Simpsons episode spoofing The Monkey’s Paw) knows that it’s because wishes can play out differently than expected.
So when Charlie uses another wish to work on her relationship with her now-distant sister, readers can’t help but anticipate that it won’t turn out remotely how Charlie expected. And it doesn’t.
(Slight spoiler ahead)
But as Charlie struggles with the understanding that there’s no easy fix for her sister’s heroin addiction, Messner nudges both Charlie and the reader to recognize the challenges of recovery, and the empathy we must give to all those who struggle with that recovery process. As eloquently stated by a side character, it’s a lifelong process that Charlie must partake in.
And even though Charlie struggles with the idea at first, her eventual willingness to accept that she can’t change everything – vis-à-vis use of the serenity prayer – and her ability to grow from that knowledge, makes this a beautiful, much-needed book that will strike many hearts.
Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author:
KATE MESSNER is a former middle-school English teacher and the author of E. B. White Read Aloud Award-winner The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z., Sugar and Ice,Eye of the Storm, Wake Up Missing, Capture the Flag, Hide and Seek, the Marty McGuire chapter book series, the Ranger in Time chapter book series, and four picture books, Seamonster and the Bossy Fish, Seamonster's First Day, Over and Under the Snow, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. She lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and two kids. When she's not reading or writing, she loves hiking, kayaking, biking, and watching thunderstorms over the lake. Visit her online at www.katemessner.com and @KateMessner.