Wish by Joseph Monninger

Monday, March 7, 2011

author’s website: website
release date: November 9, 2010
appeals to: YA or Middle Grade
genre: Contemporary Fiction
length: 208 pages
publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
overall rating: 4 of 5 Stars

*the inside flap*
Bee’s brother, Tommy, knows everything there is to know about sharks. He also knows that his life will be cut short by cystic fibrosis. And so does Bee.
That’s why when a wish foundation sends him on a trip to swim with great white sharks, Bee vows to make it an unforgettable memory.
But wishes don’t always come true. At least, not as expected. Only when Bee takes Tommy to meet a famous shark attack survivor and hard-core surfer does Tommy have the chance to live one day to the fullest.
And in the sun-kissed ocean off a California beach, Bee discovers that she has a few secret wishes of her own. . . .

*my thoughts *
When I picked up wish, I glanced at the cover, saw a girl swimming under water, and thought it would be some kind of mermaid story. (I know, I know – Read the cover, right?! However, I preface this admission with the fact that my selection occurred during a rushed library trip when I was given 5 minutes to “get in and get out.”) I realized as soon as I started reading, that my prediction was about as far from correct as possible! Wish is actually the story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Bess who is accompanying her eleven-year-old brother Tommy to California where he is going to swim with great white sharks. Tommy has Cystic Fibrosis, and at his sister’s urging, he applied to the Blue Moon Foundation for a wish. Since Tommy is obsessed with sharks, his wish was to swim with great whites – something that sounds terrifying to me! Obviously, Tommy was selected, and in this story, he, Bess, and their mom travel from their home in New Hampshire to San Francisco for a long weekend of shark related activities. Along the way, you realize that Tommy’s obsession with sharks goes beyond that of most 11-year-olds...in fact, he probably knows as much as some of the “experts” whose books he reads. When they get to California, and realize that the Blue Moon Foundation didn’t understand his knowledge level, both Bess and Tommy are a bit disappointed. Fortunately, Tommy’s friend Ty – a shark attack survivor – lives close by, so Bess and Tommy go to visit him, and that is when the fun really begins.
If I had known that this was a book about a young boy with CF, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up, but I am really glad that I did. The story is quick moving, and has several funny parts. There are also shark facts interspersed within the story that were fun to read. While the story was fun, there were constantly reminders of the strain that Tommy’s condition put on him and on his family. It was interesting to read about the lives of people who are so impacted by something so uncontrollable. It was also amazing to read about how dedicated a 15-year-old girl can be to her brother. While most teenage siblings fight and bicker, she honestly watched out for him and took care of him at all times. Often she even put his needs before her own. Overall, this was a great story, even though it was out of the norm for my book picks.
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