The Wish Stealers, by Tracy Trivas

The Wish Stealers, by Tracy Trivas (Aladdin, 2010, middle grade, 288 pages)

Griffin is a compulsive wisher--every eyelash, ladybug, and even dandelion puff inspires her. Her wishes are happy ones--that the new baby on its way turn out to be a little sister, that she might become a great bass guitarist, that her new school might smell like fresh chocolate chip cookies. But there are darker wishes, and darker wish-ers, in the world...

On a visit to the local antique shop, Griffin is accosted by a hideous old woman, who compels her to accept a priceless, shiny Indian Head penny, along with a box of polishing cloth. To Griffin's dismay, the box also contains stolen wishes--eleven perfect pennies, each labeled with a wish made years ago. And there's a letter in the box from the strange old woman, bearing horrible news--the old woman was a Wish Stealer, and she's chosen Griffin as her heir. From now on, Griffin's own wishes will go horrible wrong, unless she can somehow return the eleven stolen wishes...

So to her ordinary middle school concerns (a boy she might or might not like, a mean girl, her grandma, who is old and not well, the new baby on its way) Griffin must add the biggest challenge of her life--to somehow restore wishes to strangers who might not even be alive...

This is one of those real-world fantasies, where the magical element drives the plot, but is firmly rooted in the everyday. Griffin's ability to make evil wishes come true is fantastical, and adds a generous dose of suspense and mystery, keeping the pages turning nicely. The crazy, and scary, witches from Macbeth, ostensibly in town to promote a performance of the play, are especially zesty, although I wish they'd had a bit more page time and been more fully explained. An added bonus is the a strong message of the book--it promotes both positive thinking and action.

In short, it's a fun story, good for those who eschew overwhelmingly magical stories, but who enjoy their middle grade fiction spiced up with a bit of fantasy pizazz.

(Review copy received from the publisher for Cybils consideration)


  1. Thanks for the review. This has been on my list of books to read. It sounds good.

  2. I've wanted to read this book for awhile. I love the concept of it, and when I share it with my students they are super interested.

  3. This might be good for my 6th grade niece. She *could* read YA but isn't into vampires or boy crazy girls; however, lower middle grade fiction might bore her. And she gets upset by really sad books, which eliminates quite a bit!

  4. This does sound like a good one for her, then!


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