Monday, April 20, 2009

Review: Just One Wish

Just One Wish
Janette Rallison
2009; Putnam; 978-0-399-24618-0 (hardcover)

Summary: Annika's little brother, Jeremy, has cancer. Soon, he'll be going in for surgery to see if the tumor can be removed from his brain. Annika decides to focus on the positive and tells Jeremy she has a genie--a genie who can grant him two wishes. She expects him to wish for a Teen Robin Hood action figure and for a successful outcome to his surgery. Instead, Jeremy wishes for the real Teen Robin Hood. So now, it's up to Annika to get the actor who plays Robin to visit her brother, all within four days.

What appears to be a fun, fluffy book has surprising depth. With a lot of pluck and determination, Annika manages to pull off the near-impossible: bringing Steve Raleigh, aka Teen Robin Hood, to her brother. She has a gift for reading people, being able to find a way to make them help her, and she uses it fully during this adventure. The trip from LA to her home in Henderson, Nevada is full of roadblocks like paparazzi, a broken-down car, and family tension, but Annika won't give up. Annika can't help hoping that because of this, her brother will be fine--that his surgery will be a success. She tries to outrun her fears, but it's only at the end of the novel that she has to finally face them. Then Annika finds out what the true power of hope and wishes is.

This novel is more serious than some of Rallison's other works, but bound to be a crowd-pleaser. With a great family story intertwined with a fun romance, it has appeal for those teens who like Lurlene McDaniel but don't want something that angst-filled.

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