Friday, September 01, 2023

One True Wish, by Lauren Kate

Once you are in sixth grade, you aren't supposed to believe in wish-granting fairies.  But that's OK, because when Phoebe (a wish-granting fairy) crash lands in Texas, she's incredulous herself -- because she doesn't believe in children!  However, if Phoebe is going to ever return to her home on the North Star, she's going to not only start believing but get Birdie, Gem, and Van to start making some serious wishes that she can grant.

What should they wish for?  Gem is struggling with body image problems, Birdie feels that her life-long friendship with Gem is falling apart and she doesn't know why, and Van (who is non-binary) misses their home in Ireland and is growing tired of being passed back and forth between their separated parents.  With all of their lives changing around them, there's in fact never been a better time to start believing in fairies!

Despite a promising synopsis and a potential tribute to J. M. Barrie, this is a disappointingly slapdash middle reader with a plethora of tropes and few ideas of what to do with them.  It's a story with tween girls, so let's talk about bras and periods!  It's a story with a non-binary character, so let's mention puberty blockers.  It's a story that takes place in Texas, so let's acknowledge that Van's plans for their future use of those blockers are being circumscribed by the State government.  But let's not actually do anything with any of these ideas.  Instead, there's a largely incomprehensibly story about finding the kids choosing their "truest" wishes and getting the fairy to grant them.  I found it to be a hot mess and gave up on trying to understand by the end.

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