About the book: Marten doesn’t believe in
the power of wishes. None of his have ever come true. His parents ignore him, his little brother is a pain and his family is talking about moving to Texas. Not cool. So when he makes an impulsive wish during a meteor shower, he doesn’t expect it to make any difference.
Until his annoying brother disappears.
With the present uncertain and his brother’s future in limbo, Marten finds himself stuck in his past. And if he runs out of time, even wishes might not be enough to save the ones he loves.
“Fun and accessible, rich with realism and heart, this magical adventure reminds us of the things truly worth wishing for.” ~CASEY McCORMICK, literary agent intern and blogger at Literary Rambles.
Now on to the review! My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
When I first began reading Wish You Weren’t, I didn’t have high expectations. Books where a kid learns a life lesson are usually slow and kind of dull (at least for me) and it seems to take forever for the character to figure it out for himself.
This is not one of those books.
As soon as Marten gets his wish and his brother disappears, he immediately resolves to take the wish back. The trick, of course, is how to do it, which is what he spends the rest of the book doing. Marten does learn additional lessons throughout the book, but never at the expense of slowing the story.
The words and dialogue flow nicely, and the pacing is good, with hardly a dull moment anywhere in the book. The method used to solve the problem at the end was unique and interesting, and the pace really picked up in the last quarter of the book. I especially liked the way science was merged with the fantasy aspects of the story.
The title is clever and I like the cover, although I think it should have incorporated more of a fantasy feel to match the story.
Anyone who’s ever had a sibling, both younger and older, should be able to relate to Marten’s irritation with his little brother. And I think the fact that Marten wants to revoke his wish as soon as his brother disappears sends a great message to middle graders.
There’s not much to be said about the other characters in the book. Paul is Marten’s best friend, but most of the time he’s only there for comic relief.
My only real complaint occurs in the first half of the book, where things got a little confusing. We meet Tor, the being responsible for fulfilling Marten’s wish, and although Tor appears to be there on Marten’s behalf, he’s incredibly cryptic about what Marten needs to do to rescue his brother, almost to the point of annoyance. I realize the appearance of a stranger who knows what’s going on but remains stingy with the information is a standard trope in fiction–a way to keep the reader turning the pages–but the trick is to dole out enough information to keep the story moving forward. In this case, other than mentioning something about a “review” a few times, Tor refuses to answer even the simplest of questions, apparently for no other reason than to keep the reader in the dark for as long as possible.
Because of this, Marten’s first couple of adventures come across as kind of random and, not surprisingly, result in total failures, or at least I think they were failures, since Tor never explains what Marten was supposed to do, doesn’t seem all that interested in what happened, and never explains the purpose of the adventures—even by the end of the book. Fortunately, once Tor releases a few more details, the story begins moving forward again.
I should also mention that Wish You Weren’t is written in present tense, which is a turn off for some readers, although once the story gets moving, I bet you’ll hardly notice it.
I give Wish You Weren’t by Sherrie Petersen 4 out of 5, and I’m looking forward to her next book. BTW, don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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