by Nikki Loftin
"A dying girl gives a boy the strength to live in this lyrical novel that will break your heart and lift your spirit
Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name. When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think.
There, he meets a girl his age: Annie Blythe. Annie tells Peter she’s a “wish girl.” But Annie isn’t just any wish girl; she’s a “Make-A-Wish Girl.” And in two weeks she will begin a dangerous treatment to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Left alone, the disease will kill her. But the treatment may cause serious, lasting damage to her brain.
Annie and Peter hatch a plan to escape into the valley, which they begin to think is magical. But the pair soon discovers that the valley—and life—may have other plans for them. And sometimes wishes come true in ways they would never expect. "
This book has some wonderful moments. I really liked both of the main characters - they are what is best in this story. They have a lot of conflict, pain and heartbreak to deal with. I enjoyed the time they spent together and the relationship they had. However, I didn't care for any of the secondary characters. I wanted to punch Peter's family and arrest the bullies, so I felt like the ending was either very unrealistic, or a lot was left unresolved. What happens when school starts in the fall? Won't Peter and the bullies be going to the same school?
Anyway, I do think this one would make a good read-aloud or book group book because it deals with some issues that could lead to important discussions. Terminal illness, bullying, dysfunctional families, running away, suicidal thoughts...
Bottom line - I liked it but I didn't love it.
Areas of concern:
The above mentioned issues.
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 8-12
School Library Journal - Grades 4-7