Charlie’s got a case of second-fiddle-itis. With her parents busy in their careers and her older sister away at college, she’s barely on anyone’s radar. One day she’s ice fishing with some neighbors and pulls in a small fry, which promises her one wish in exchange for being released. The Seventh Wish starts out with the trappings of a fairy tale, but things get real very quickly.
Author Kate Messner (All the Answers) packs this book with points of interest, from Charlie’s passion for Irish dance to the world of ice fishing in upstate New York to, surprisingly, drug addiction and recovery. It never bogs down in heavy issues—there’s a very funny running gag about a student who keeps misplacing her flour “baby” from home ec class—but manages to communicate a lot about family dynamics, trust and the point at which wishing loses its power. Despite feeling like she barely casts a shadow, Charlie has a network of friends who support her once she’s able to be open with them.
The Seventh Wish would be a great pick for young book club readers, with its frank discussion of how we perceive drug use and addiction versus the reality that many experience. It’s also a new take on a classic fairy tale that reminds us to be careful what we wish for . . . and prepare to deal with whatever life gives us in return.