Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas

Griffin Penshine is always making wishes. But when a sinister old woman tricks her into accepting a box of eleven shiny Indian Head pennies from 1897, Griffin soon learns these are no ordinary pennies, but stolen wishes.
This box of labeled pennies comes with a horrible curse: People in possession of the stolen coins are Wish Stealers, who will never have their wishes granted.... In fact, the opposite of what they've wished for will happen. Griffin must find a way to return these stolen wishes and undo the curse if her own wishes are to come true.
But how can Griffin return wishes to strangers who might not even be alive? Her journey leads her to ancient alchemists, Macbeth's witches, and a chance to help people in ways she never imagined, but the temptation of the Wish Stealers' dark and compelling power is growing stronger. Can Griffin reverse the curse in time to save herself and the people she loves?

When I was a kid, I always wondered what happened to the coins that people tossed into fountains. I wanted to believe in the magic, but the more practical side of me wondered if someone came along and cleaned out all those coins...and I also wondered what happened to them. I never could shake the idea that if someone took the coins out of the fountain, something bad would happen. This is the fabulous premise in The Wish Stealers, and I was very excited to get my hands on a copy.

I wish the characters and plot had lived up to the premise, though. I liked Griffin, but the other characters weren't as fleshed out. Samantha becomes Griffin's arch-rival for no good reason, and her appearances throughout the story seem too convenient. Like she's only there to create tension, and that made her very 2-dimensional.

I also wish the light/dark objects in Mariah's box and Grandma's box had been explored or explained. Same with the Shakespeare witches. A connection to Mariah and Grandma is implied, but not clear.

Lastly, many of the story's events didn't ring true to me. While the author clearly did some research, I think she could have done more. As in, you don't look at constellations through a telescope (they are too big and can see them with the naked eye, so you look at individual stars or planets through a telescope). In Kansas, you don't wear cashmere in August (it's *way* too hot). The price of garnets, even unusually large ones, isn't high unless there's some diamonds in the setting. Etc.

Perhaps I'd set my expectations too high in the beginning, but this wasn't a book I enjoyed. It didn't have enough depth for my taste, and came across as a bit preachy. That said, younger kids may enjoy this as a light and fun read, and it may spark their own imaginations as to what might happen if you take a wish-coin out of a fountain...


Jennifer said...

Man, it sucks when a book doesn't live up to expectations--and it totally sounds awesome from the blurb. I might still get it from the library, but I think this one is getting stuck way at the bottom of my TBR list.

Tabitha said...

It's a cute read, and if you sit down with the expectation that it's going to be light, then you might enjoy it. I was hoping for a lot more depth (considering how much I thought about wish-coins as a kid), so that colored my enjoyment.

I really think this would be a great springboard for a middle grader's imagination. I would have *loved* this book as a kid.

Nora MacFarlane said...

That's too bad, I want my reads to have some depth. I really like the premise, though.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Bummer! I loved the premise of this book, too. Sounds like it still might be fun to get from the library and read with my daughter.