Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: The Wish Stealers

by Tracy Trivias
Age Recommendtion: Middle Grade
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Aladdin
Series: none

Summary (from Amazon):
Griffin Penshine is always making wishes. But when an eccentric old woman named Mariah gives Griffin a box of shiny pennies, a desperate quest is set in motion. The old woman was a wish stealer, who stole each penny from a wishing fountain decades earlier. Somehow, Griffin has to redeem the lost wishes, or the opposite of her own wishes will come true—and it could literally be a matter of life or death. Griffin’s mission to right Mariah’s awful wrongs allows her to meet some extraordinary people, and to do good beyond her wildest imagination. But can she do enough to reverse the curse in time to save the people she loves the most?

My Review:
Although I ultimately enjoyed The Wish Stealers, it was a debut novel (2010) and it read like a debut. Although the writing was strong, it seemed like Tracy Trivias was still finding her voice.

For one, Griffin, the main character, did not interest me all that much. She was almost realistic and almost  interesting, but it didn't quite cut it for me. I was more intrigued by everyone around her than Griffin herself. I think a story from the point of view of Mariah (the villain) would have been far more interesting. But Trivias seemed intent on keeping the "bad" parts down to a minimum - just enough to make a point.

In fact, the entire story seemed to be teetering between fluffy and serious. I'd have been more interested in a serious story. I understand that The Wish Stealers in MG, but I wanted more of the darker parts - more tension, more mystery, more danger.

I liked the writing style and the general plot, and I can see that Tracy Trivias has potential, but this particular story wasn't quite there. It was almost right in so many aspects. It was almost serious enough, almost developed enough, almost wrapped up well. But it was either too much or not enough. The environmental message was a little too in-your-face at the end, when Griffin holds a rally to raise money for "Pennies for the Planet" (a real organization with more information in the back of the book). Perhaps Trivias was writing too much for kids, without taking into account the older readers who might be interested as well. I would have gobbled The Wish Stealers up a few years ago, and truth be told, I did enjoy it even now, but I wanted just a little bit more than I got.

Overall Thoughts:
This book was almost really good, but it just barely fell short. I wanted a little bit more tension, action, and development throughout in order to really keep my interest. I suspect middle grade readers, however, will love it.

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