While her daddy (dubbed “Scrappy” after his fondness for fighting) serves time in the county jail in Raleigh, North Carolina, and her mama can’t make it out of bed anymore, fifth-grader Charlemagne “Charlie” Reese has gone to stay with her aunt and uncle, Bertha and Gus, in their house that seems to hang off the side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charlie, who inherited her father’s impulsiveness, may admit that she likes spending time in the mountains, but there’s no way she’s going to live where it’s just red dirt roads and “hillbilly kids” who probably eat squirrel. But no matter where she is, Charlie never passes up the chance with a four-leaf clover, a fallen eyelash or a rare yellow train car to make a secret wish.
Once again author Barbara O’Connor wields her Southern charm to tell this spunky gal’s story. When a stray dog appears, especially a dog that won’t judge Charlie’s past, she can’t help but name it Wishbone and begin to open up her guarded heart. Once opened, her heart finds a friend in Howard, an ever-positive boy, even when picked on for his up-down gait. Alongside painful truths about her parents, Charlie experiences family with Bertha and Gus—and her wish just might come true after all.
Like a generous portions of grits, Wish makes the world a little better.