The Seventh Wish By Kate Messner
Summary from the Author’s website:
When Charlie Brennan goes ice fishing on her town’s cold winter lake, she’s hoping the perch she reels in will help pay for a fancy Irish dancing solo dress. But when Charlie’s first catch of the day offers her a wish in exchange for its freedom, her world turns upside down.
Charlie catches the fish again and again, but each time, her wishes go terribly and hilariously wrong. Just when things are finally starting to turn around, a family crisis with her older sister forces Charlie to accept the fact that some of the toughest challenges in life can’t be fixed by wishing.
I really liked this book. It starts off being a fairly light hearted realistic novel with a touch of magic. Charlie catches a magical fish which grants her wishes. She starts off safe, wishing to not be afraid of walking on the icy lake so that she can fish further out and for Roberto Sullivan to fall in love with her, but her wishes start to go awry. Robert O’Sullivan is the one that shows up at school, with a crush on Charlie that kind of mystifies him. But the ice wish works and so Charlie goes back and catches the fish a few more times and asks for wishes to help her family and friends. Each time the wish comes true, just not in quite the way that Charlie had envisioned. The wishing part of the book is not the main theme of the book however. About half way through the book it is revealed that Charlie’s sister has a big problem, and it can’t be fixed with wishes. The rest of the book is Charlie having to deal with her sister’s issue and how the family deals with it. (Sorry for not getting too specific, but I’m trying to not spoil.) Her sister’s problem is very difficult, but Kate Messner handles it in such a great way. Relating to it from Charlie’s point of view and how it impacts her makes it a much easier thing for the reader to deal with too. I loved the character of Charlie. She handles situations that were scary in a calm and productive way. I also loved the Irish dancing angle, you just don’t see that in a lot of children/teen books. Overall this is a charming, funny at times book that tackles some tough themes that are relevant to kids today.
There was some controversy when this book first came out. Kate unfortunately was disinvited from a school author visit because of the content of this book. She wrote a great blog post about it which you can see here.