The Wishing Game Review

Hello, all!

Don't you love going into a book knowing nothing about it, and it becoming one of your new favorites? That's how The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer was for me. 

Pub Date: 5-30-23
Adult - Contemporary

Lucy Hart knows what it feels like to grow up unloved and neglected. Her parents were always too busy with her sick older sister, so Lucy found solace in the Clock Island book series. This series, and its author Jack Masterson, helped Lucy feel like she wasn't alone and taught her to be brave. Now Lucy is a twenty-six-year-old teacher's aide and shares her love of the Clock Island books with her young student, Christopher. Christopher was left orphaned after a tragic accident, and Lucy wants nothing more than to adopt the child but doesn't have the money or stability needed for approval.

Just when Lucy is about to give up on adopting Christopher, Jack Masterson comes out of hiding and announces he's written a new book, but there's a catch: he's holding a contest to see who can win it. Jack advised he's inviting four special contestants to his home on Clock Island, and the winner gets the rights to the book and can do whatever they please with it. Lucy was one of the lucky four chosen and knows that winning would change her and Christopher's lives. But first, Lucy has to navigate sleazy lawyers, outsmart the other contestants, and try not to get distracted by Hugo Reese, Jack's handsomely grumpy illustrator. Unbeknownst to everyone, Jack has a plot twist up his sleeve that will change the game (and all their lives) forever.

I picked this up on a whim, and I'm so glad I did. It felt so nostalgic and whimsical. I felt like I could go to the bookstore and find the Clock Island books alongside the Boxcar Children. Shaffer's writing was so easy to fall into, and I read this in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down. Lucy wasn't a perfect main character, but she was so earnest that you couldn't help but root for her. I loved her relationship with Christopher and wanted to see them happy. I also liked seeing the romance bloom between her and Hugo. He was such a curmudgeon, but I loved it. Aside from the characters, I thought the plot was also well done. Jack comes across as a Willy Wonka-type character; he's eccentric, mischievous, and always seems one step ahead of everyone else. I still don't fully understand his reasoning behind singling Lucy out, but I loved how it all wrapped up. If you enjoy feel-good, found family stories, then this is a must-read.

Rating: 4.5/5


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