December 22, 2008


By Frances Hardinge
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

What if you took money out of a wishing well, spent it, and then had to grant the wishes that were attached to those coins? That is the situation three friends find themselves in when the spirit of the well visits them and informs the trio that they need to find the wishers and grant their wishes. To accomplish this, she gives them each a power: charming Josh can control things made of metal or electricity, timid, talkative Chelle is able to voice the thoughts of a wisher out loud, and insightful Ryan grows eyes on his hand that allow him to see things differently. At first they view their tasks as impossible, but when they start to figure out wish-granting, they are feeling as good as angels...until things begin to go wrong. The wishes don't come true like they think; in fact, they start to turn out very badly indeed. And as Ryan starts to uncover the truth behind the spirit in the well, he realizes that getting what you wished for may be one of the worst things that could happen to you. But how can you detach yourself from a maniacal magic spirit? And what if some of your friends don't want to? This is an excellent twist on wishing well magic, with plenty of spookiness, adventure, and thoughtful philosophy behind what wishes really are. Readers will be drawn right into this world, where the ordinary and magical live side by side, and will be thrilled by the plot twists. Top notch!

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