The first wish is an impossible wish.
The second is a wish she can make come true herself.
And the third is the deepest wish of her secret heart.
Natasha is the oldest child in a family steeped in magic, though she’s not sure she believes in it. She’s full to bursting with wishes, however. She misses her mother, who disappeared nearly eight long years ago. She has a crush on one of the cutest boys in her class, and she thinks maybe it would be nice if her very first kiss came from him. (Then again, maybe it would be terrifying. Or both.) And amid the chaos of a house full of sisters, aunts, and a father lost in grief, she aches to simply be . . . noticed.
So Natasha goes to the willow tree at the top of the hill on her Wishing Day, and she makes three wishes. What unfolds is beyond anything she could have imagined.
From beloved and bestselling author Lauren Myracle comes the first book in an enchanting trilogy about three sisters, the magic of traditions, and the extraordinary power of hope.
Middle Grades Magical Realism at Its Best
WISHING DAY by Lauren Myracle is the first in a trilogy about three sisters and the wishes they make as part of a family and town tradition. The tradition is that on the third night of the third month after a thirteenth birthday, a girl living in Willow Hill may make three wishes: one impossible wish, a wish that she can make come true herself, and the deepest wish of her secret heart.
WISHING DAY focuses on the oldest of the three sisters: Natasha. The sisters’ mother has been gone for eight years as the story begins with Natasha climbing the hill to the wishing tree to make her three wishes. Since her mother disappeared Natasha has been good, she has been dependable, and she has been a caretaker and helper to her father, her aunts, and her younger sisters. When she reaches the wishing tree, she’s not so sure she believes in magic, but as she whispers her wishes into the bark of the tree, she’s overcome by the belief that it’s real.
Natasha’s story continues from there, and it’s a tale of hope, magic, wishes, love, family, and the trials of middle school.
Myracle’s book is beautiful in all ways. The cover is lovely. The characters pull you in and make you want to sit at the dining room table (or under the wishing tree) with them. The writing is fantastic, and if a book can be measured by the number of times I fold a corner of a page to remind myself to go back to something notable, then this one is the cream of the crop. I didn’t want the book to end, and I’m tremendously relieved to learn that I’ll be able to revisit the characters in the second and third books of the series.
There are passages throughout WISHING DAY that mix dreamlike magic with middle school reality, and Myracle manages to write in a manner that is both gorgeous and simple--making the book perfect for its intended age group and adults.
One of the book’s few flaws is the unsatisfying ending, but knowing there are two more coming makes that a little easier to manage. Impatient readers may want to wait for the other two to come out before diving into the first.
I loved this book, and my middle school self would have absolutely embraced it. I was torn between wanting to savor the book, and the need to race through the pages to see how it ended. I ended up racing through it, but I will reread it soon to allow myself to savor those folded-down pages.
My thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.