Book Review: The Wishing Game
Be careful what you wish for
Wishes can be a powerful thing — especially in Meg Shaffer's debut novel, The Wishing Game.
When Lucy was a young girl, she loved the Clock Island series written by extremely famous yet reclusive children's author, Jack Masterson. She loved them so much that she even ran away to the fantastical Clock Island in her early teens, showing up on the author's doorstep.
Now an adult employed as a teacher's aide, Lucy shares the love of the Clock Island series with her students, especially Christopher — a bright seven-year-old boy who was left orphaned following the tragic death of both his parents. Wanting nothing but happiness for him, Lucy's biggest wish is to be able to adopt the boy, but without proper funds and stability, it seems an impossible wish.
That is until Jack Masterson comes out of a long hiatus to announce he's written a new Clock Island book, of which there is only one copy in the entire world. He plans to hold a contest for the copy, inviting four lucky contestants — one of which is Lucy — to compete for the prize. All four contestants have one thing in common, and they travel to the real Clock Island for the second time in their lives to try and win.
Lucy can't believe her luck — in winning the newest book, she could be financially set for life, with enough money to afford the stability needed to adopt Christopher and create the perfect family together they have always wished for. But what must come first are challenges far more serious than a riddle or two from Jack Masterson — Lucy must come to terms with her past, and relive parts of her childhood she thought she left behind.
What follows is an absolute masterpiece — part whimsical fairytale come to life, part lessons in what it means to be an adult whose childhood may not have been ideal. Meg Shaffer paints a world in which both these things come together so magically that it is easy to believe that if you wish hard enough, all of your dreams just might come true.
Ballantine Books // 304 pages // Fiction, Fantasy