Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin

I grew up a quiet, introverted child roaming the remote canyons of the Texas Hill Country, searching for magic. I saw myself as fundamentally wrong because I just couldn't become an extrovert, no matter how hard I tried. Nikki Loftin's Wish Girl is the book I needed.

Peter is gentle and thoughtful, and doesn't fit in his loud family. Smart, artistic Annie has a disease that could kill her, but the treatment could leave her with permanent brain damage; she's as afraid of that as she is of dying. They find each other in a canyon whose quiet magic can turn distinctly ugly to those who don't respect it.

Wish Girl is about life and death. It's about children and the choices they are or aren't allowed to make for themselves, and how powerless they feel (and how there are no easy answers to that, because they are still children). It's about how our society sees quiet, gentle people as broken, especially if they are boys. It's a beautiful love letter to nature and silence, and the value of closing your eyes and listening for a while.

The book itself, for all its quiet magic, doesn't shy away from hard questions and sharp edges, which gives them powerful impact when they come. Child or adult, introvert or extrovert: I think everyone should read this book.


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