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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.
Awards & Distinctions
Junior Library Guild Selection
American Booksellers Association Best Books of the Year; 2016
Parents Choice Gold Award
Nerdy Book Club Award 2016
SCBWI Crystal Kite Award 2017
Nebraska Golden Sower Award Nominee 2018-2019
North Carolina Children's Book Award Nominee 2017-2018
Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominee 2017-2018
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (Vermont) Childrens' Book Award 2017-2018
Iowa Children's Choice Award Nominee 2018-2019
Keystone to Reading Book Award Nominee (Pennsylvania) 2017-2018
Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award Nominee 2017-2018
O’Connor pens a touching tale of resilience sure to resonate with children who have ever felt like they didn’t belong...Poignant and genuine, this is a tale that will resonate with readers long after they finish it and have them cheering for the underdogs—both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties.
—School Library Journal
A warm, real, and heartfelt tale.
Like a generous portion of grits, Wish just makes the world a little better.
I looked down at the paper on my desk.
The “Getting to Know You” paper.
At the top, Mrs. Willibey had written “Charlemagne Reese.”
I put a big X over Charlemagne and wrote “Charlie.”
My name is Charlie. Charlemagne is a dumb name for a girl and I have told my mama that about a gazillion times.
I looked around me at all the hillbilly kids doing math in their workbooks.
My best friend, Alvina, told me they would be hillbilly kids.
“You will hate it in Colby,” she said. “There’s just red dirt roads and hillbilly kids there.” She had flipped her silky hair over her shoulder and added, “I bet they eat squirrels.”
I glanced at the lunch boxes under the desks around me and wondered if there were any squirrel sandwiches in them.
I looked back down at the paper in front of me. I was supposed to fill in all this stuff so my new teacher could get to know me.
On the line beside Describe your family, I wrote, “Bad.”
What is your favorite subject in school? “None.”
List three of your favorite activities. “Soccer, ballet, and fighting.”
Two of those favorite activities were lies but one of them was the truth.
I am fond of fighting.