Wish by Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser; illustrated by Odessa Sawyer

By Ekta R. Garg

April 3, 2013

Rated: Bookmark it!

When a pair of best friends has a make-or-break disagreement, they try to sort out their differences.  Unfortunately the friend who feels wronged utters a momentary urge—an expression of anger—and everything changes when the other friend disappears.  The friend who made the wish realizes her mistake and decides to do what she can to bring her friend back, even if that means facing issues of her past.  Authors Beth Bracken and Kay Fraser offer young adult readers this tale on a canvas of lush illustrations by the incredibly talented Odessa Sawyer in Wish, the first book in the “Faerieground” series.

Best friends Soli (short for Soledad) and Lucy have known one another their entire lives.  Soli hides behind Lucy’s bravado and popularity; she is the shadow to Lucy’s light.  Lucy accepts her role as Soli’s protector and the leader, and yet both girls have recently started chafing under their self-applied labels.  They’re content to keep those labels for the moment.  But then Soli meets a boy she likes.  And Lucy kisses him.

Lucy half regrets the private moment, but only half.  Still, she tries to apologize to Soli, and Soli refuses to accept her apology.  To get away from Lucy, Soli runs into the woods—the same woods that rumors say houses fairies.  The same woods where Lucy knows wishes come true.  Any wishes, even if the person wishing doesn’t possess full understanding of the outcome of the wish.   Lucy follows Soli, and Soli wishes Lucy was gone.  Suddenly, without warning, Lucy disappears.  And Soli realizes she has made a terrible mistake.  When she tries to follow Lucy, Soli learns that her wish has set into motion a series of events that connect her to her mysterious past—and a future she could never have imagined.

Authors Bracken and Fraser don’t bombard their readers with dozens of details on Soli and Lucy’s lives.  In fact, the authors tell the girls’ story with a minimal amount of words.  Some readers might wish for more information, but many others will appreciate the sparse language.  Using fewer words allows readers to sink into illustrator Odessa Sawyer’s incredible portraits throughout the story.

Sawyer has worked hand in hand with the authors and truly brought the story to life.  Readers will enjoy the full impact of the lyrical quality of the words thanks to the illustrations that demand attention.  On first glance the illustrations appear simple, but a closer look reveals the layers of detail that Sawyer has built into each page.  From the whimsical double-page spread of a look at the faerie ground to the solemn portrait of Soli discovering she holds a jar of fireflies to the vivid climax toward the end of Soli accepting her fate, Sawyer draws readers into the novel and heightens its dramatic and emotional impact.

This reviewer highly recommends this book for all readers 10 and up.  Anyone who enjoys fantasy will appreciate the artistry of this first “Faerieground” installment, and this reviewer certainly looks forward to future segments of the story.


What the ratings mean:

Bookmark it!–Read this book and then buy it and add it to to your own collection.  It’s definitely worth it!

Borrow it–Check this one out from the library; it’s a worthy read, but think twice before spending your hard-earned money on it.

Bypass it–Free time is precious.  Don’t spend it on this book!

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