Charlie has just moved temporarily from Raleigh to the Blue Ridge Mountains to live with Gus and Bertha in their house perched off the mountain. For now her dad, aka "Scrappy" is, as she prefers to call it, in a correctional facility and her Mama is struggling to get back on her feet. Charlie's family is "broken." Always seeing seeing the glass half empty, Charlie is now surrounded by half full people. There's Bertha, her mother's sister, who is nothing like her. Then there's Howard and his red headed family who live next door, and there's even her sister, Jackie, who is so upbeat and positive when she comes out for a visit that Charlie yearns to be more like her. For so much of the book I just wanted to grab Charlie's shoulders, look into her eyes and then point them all around the good world she was living in. At times I almost thought I was shaking the book a little. Even when Jackie tried to tell her, she just didn't get it.
Every time there is an opportunity to make a wish, Charlie takes it. A red bird. 11:11. Pointy end of a slice of pie. A wishbone...As the "mad continues to swirl inside" her, she keeps on wishing. You wonder--with perseverance like Charlie's, her wish has got to come true, right?
Hints of Sharon Creech, Sarah Weeks and of course, Barbara O'Connor, this is a beautiful middle grade novel that students will adore. I cannot wait to put it in their hands. They will not throw a pity party for Charlie like she wants them to, but instead they will WISH to hang out in her room next to the canning jars, put their head on her Cinderella pillowcase, and play with Wishbone and Howard "on [this] side of heaven."
I'm sorry to say that this book does not come out for another couple of months, but until then be patient, inhale, appreciate what is around you and know that Wish is a "ray of sunshine [not only] at the end of a long sorry day" but any time.
|Last summer I went to the mountains outside of Asheville.|
This is how I imagined the mountains of Colby to look.
|Outside the house we stayed in by Lake Lure, NC|
|Ahhh...a happy place....|