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Wish I Might by Colleen Murtagh Paratore

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: 5/1/2010

About the Book: Willa's summer just got more confusing. A boy has shown up in Bramble claiming that he's Willa's long lost half-brother and that he think their father might still be alive. Does Willa believe him? And if this is true, how will this affect her mom and Sam?

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This is a hard review to write because I adored the first three books in this series. But when the series took a turn from being "The Wedding Planner's Daughter" series to "The Life of Willa Havisham" the charm started to fade. I could deal with the last book because there were still glimpses of the charm that I liked. There was the big twist at the end with Willa's brother which was somewhat out of character for the books I thought, but still interesting. But Wish I Might just fell flat for me.

The book itself is only 166 pages, and it takes around 70 pages in before we really get to the story about Willa and her brother. The entire time leading up to that is spent with Willa re-capping the previous four books and being preachy. That was my biggest problem with this volume in the series-it's so preachy about Willa's causes and ideas for change and what she thinks about various issues. For most of the book I felt like I was reading a political message more than a story about Willa. Sure, Willa's always been politically active in the past books, but it hasn't been as much and it's had to do with the plot. This time around I felt it was thrown in there just to get messages out about changing the world, saving money, reading Three Cups of Tea and being inspired to help children, and finding homes for the hard-working poor who can't afford nice homes on the Cape. It didn't further the story.

The parts that have to do with furthering the plot along were OK, but there were only a few chapters that actually dealt with Willa and her brother. The book just felt like it was there because there needed to be another in the series and while it added to the series somewhat, it wasn't as fun and charming as the first three books. I think part of this is because the books are trying to age up and become more teen, but it looses it's charm then. I like tween-centered Willa more.

This might be the librarian in me, but sometimes I get annoyed with Willa's book picks in each book. I love that the main character of the series loves to read and in one book saved the library, but it seems like her books are always classics. The last two lists have had more children's lit on it, but it always seems to be full of the required reading books that I don't know always fit the tween age group who would be reading the series. In a series geared to 8-12 year-olds, Willa recommends The Pearl, Great Expectations, The Old Man and the Sea, Robert Frost, Henry David Thoreau, Leaves of Grass, My Antonia, The Scarlet Letter, There Eyes Were Watching God. It's like Willa can only have serious high brow literature on her lists. Yes, by the fifth book, Willa is fourteen, but she starts the series as twelve, so where are the more tween-friendly books? I'd love to see some newer titles featured and maybe some that aren't so serious. Where is love for The Penderwicks, The Graveyard Book, From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Savvy, No More Dead Dogs, Among the Hidden, Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, Shug-I could go on and on!

I'll still recommend the series to my tween readers because I think the first three books in the series are wonderfully done (and the fourth is pretty good). I just hope the series gets better.

Side Note: The cover has nothing to do with the books and I still prefer the cute cartoony covers of the original titles in the series.

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from final copy sent for review


  1. Did you feel like Willa was exceedingly immature for a 14 year old? When I read this one, I felt like Willa was still more of a 12 year old than 14.

  2. LibraryFae-She goes back and forth for me. There are some things she does that I think are out of character for her age and feel older (like her relationship with her boyfriend), but then other times she still seems like she's 12.


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Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee