Posted by: teachergirl | August 14, 2009

The Wish

The Wishthe wish
Gail Carson Levine
New York: HarperTrophy, 2000
Genre: Young adult fiction, light fantasy
Interest level:  Middle grades
Reading level: 3.5 (wow, that’s low even for a middle grade book)

This book left a scowl on my face.  I so enjoyed Levine’s Ella Enchanted that I was looking forward to reading The Wish.  There is nothing to commend in either the writing or the story.  A couple chapters in, I thought I knew the direction the story would take, but I was very wrong, and quite dissatisfied.   The writing does not stand out from run-of-the-mill young adult novels.  No interesting turn of phrase, no memorable passages, no choice words, nada.  Bland character descriptions.  Bland setting.  I wasn’t able to develop a solid picture of Wilma’s world and its inhabitants.  There was no character development.  Wilma came out at the end unchanged.

The Wish tells the story of Wilma, a decidedly unpopular eighth grader at Claverford Middle School in New York City.  One morning she meets an old lady on the train who offers her one wish.  Wilma asks to become the most popular kid at Claverford.  Wish granted.  Now everyone likes her, but is she happy?

[Spoiler warning]

Yes.  Wilma is shallow.  Aside from a few moments wondering whether her “friends” like her because of who she is, Wilma is ecstatic to be the center of attention.  She’s in with the top clique, and boys are asking her out left and right.  The one she chooses as her boyfriend is a unpopular loner with a unibrow.  She knows little about him, but after one date at the zoo, she’s ready to engage in extended kissing sessions with him.  I had hoped that Wilma would realize that everything was fake and that it would be better to have friends who liked you regardless of popularity, not because they’re under the spell of a fairy.

Save your time.  Pass over The Wish and read one of the many, many great books that are out there.  I wish I had the quarter back I spent on this book at Goodwill.

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