Sometimes words can be more than language. They can be color, sound, taste, and touch too, just look at Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin, a story that is a true adventure for the senses. It is guaranteed to make you feel like you’ve spent time in the magical valley she describes, and perhaps make a wish of your own: that you can go there for real.
Twelve-year old Peter and his family have recently moved to the rural Texas Hill Country to escape the bullies that terrorized him in the city. His family is trying to “save” him. They think he is too introverted. Annie is at a camp running away from a different kind of bully, cancer. She is a wish girl, that is to say she is a Make-a-Wish girl, a recipient of a wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation that grants last wishes to dying children. She was lucky enough to survive cancer, but now it has returned. She has a parent also trying to “save “ her. Her mother wants her to do more chemotherapy, but Annie is afraid it will rob her of who she is: an artist. Both children are drawn to the solitude of a magical valley that seems to have a mind of its own. It protects those it likes and sends danger to those it does not. The children will find what they need in the valley, but it is not magic to “cure” them. It is courage.
The subjects presented in this book are obviously serious, but they are so masterfully presented from a child’s point of view, they leave the reader with a feeling of hope. Mix this with an undercurrent of magic real and imagined, and you have the makings of a book that will inspire both children and adults alike. It is a must read.