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Wish by Barbara O’Connor is the story of Charlemagne (Charlie) Reese.  Charlie lives in a small “hillbilly” town, Conley, North Carolina with her Aunt and Uncle. She is finishing 5th grade. To say she is superstitious would not be an exaggeration.  Charlie wishes on everything and not just the normal find a “penny pick it up all that day you have good luck” type. She has superstitions about making wishes from time, 11:11, to spotting a yellow car on a train and everything in between.  What could she be wishing for? A better life perhaps.  Charlie used to live in Raleigh with her mother and father and older sister Jackie until her father’s incarceration and her mother’s separation from reality. All of that coupled with the fact that Jackie was a Senior in High School so she was able to stay in Raleigh with friends so as not to have to start over her last year in school. Charlie wasn’t that lucky and had to go stay with her maternal Aunt Bertha and her husband Gus. She wishes her father would be “corrected” at the correctional facility. She wishes for her mother to get a handle on life again and she wishes she was more like her outgoing sister Jackie.

Charlie tries to make the most of it, but it’s rough for her. Charlie is assigned a backpack buddy, Howard Odom, by her teacher and they become great friends. He helps Charlie befriend a mangy dog who has no owner. Howard also helps her with trying to adjust to her new life, but Charlie wants no parts of any of it, accept the dog. Barbara O’Connor has masterfully crafted a wonderful story about a little girl in a troubled family with this heart racing novel Wish. I Wish every young person struggling with difficult family situations has a chance to read this wonderful book.



Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the last bite. But when she is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her wish will ever come true. That is until she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all.

From award-winning author Barbara O’Connor comes a middle-grade novel about a girl who, with the help of a true-blue friend, a big-hearted aunt and uncle, and the dog of her dreams, unexpectedly learns the true meaning of family in the least likely of places.