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Author: Harkey, Faith
Genuine Sweet, twelve, of tiny, impoverished Sass, Georgia, inherited the ability to grant any wish except her own but with help from new friends, her life and town are improving until unexpected trouble arrives and Genuine learns the difference between wishing for a better life and building one.
Kirkus Reviews (02/01/15)
School Library Journal (01/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (06/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 4–6—Genuine Sweet is a fourth generation wish fetcher. Using starlight that she whistles down from the night sky, she bakes magical biscuits that allow her to grant wishes. The magic has rules however—it can only be used for other people and only for good-hearted wishes. Genuine's life is not easy, her father is unemployed due to drinking on the job, and the whole family subsists on Gram's meager social security benefits. Despite her own needs, Genuine throws herself into helping others. But it's not long before the news is out, and suddenly the wish requests escalate beyond her ability to keep up, even with two loyal friends helping. Then, while Genuine is out helping others, her beloved grandma dies. This is nearly the undoing of the girl and her rant at the stars afterward is moving. The story builds predictably, but the characters and events are well written and intriguing. Genuine's frustration over the dilemma of being able to help everyone but her own family is well crafted. Her voice, though perhaps a bit too perceptive for a 12 year old, is otherwise authentic and unique, creating a character that readers will identify with and care about. Hand this to fans of Natalie Lloyd's A Snicker of Magic (Scholastic, 2014).—Gretchen Crowley, Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2015 Shortly after Genuine (pronounced “Gen-u-wine”) Sweet’s twelfth birthday, Gram tells her the big news: “You and me, and your ma too-all of us MacIntyre women-we’re wish fetchers.” Though this means that Gen can call magic down from the stars to grant wishes for others, she can’t fetch them for herself-a challenging caveat given her family’s grinding poverty and empty stomachs. With the help of Jura, a savvy city girl new to small-town Sass, Georgia, Gen tries to find workarounds to this rule that will allow her to help others while providing for Gram and for her chronically drunk, chronically unemployed widower father. While her first acts of wish fetching go smoothly, she soon finds herself overwhelmed and under attack for both the inherent and self-imposed limitations of her powers, and she must rely not only on unlikely friends, but her own best judgment and inner strength. Insightful, self-effacing, and sympathetic, Gen beguiles with her candor and ready supply of regional adages. Harkey adroitly and wisely metes out the folksiness, using it to add depth to her characters and create a sense of place so that Gen and her community feel both believable and likable. By turns funny and moving, this charmer of a novel recalls DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie (BCCB 6/00) while providing a unique exploration of the meaning of magic, self-worth, and relationships. Give this to readers who want a poignant story that, like its heroine, is genuinely sweet. AA - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 06/01/2015 Set in small-town Georgia, this debut mixes backwoods magic with folksy charm to deliver a potent message about community spirit. It takes a brave author to name her protagonist Genuine Sweet, deprive her of her mother, and saddle her with a drunken father and a grandmother with supernatural powers, but Harkey is as resourceful as Genuine Sweet herself. Twelve-year-old Genuine amiably introduces herself to readers, explains how she discovered her own magical abilities, and explores the many complications that arise from their use. Genuine comes from a long line of “wish fetchers,” and she must figure out how to use this power to solve a variety of problems. She begins by addressing her state of hunger and household’s disrepair by creating a wish-fulfillment barter system with a few friendly neighbors (wish fetchers can’t grant their own wishes). Next, with her new friend Jura, she tackles world hunger. Harkey has created a lively cast of appealing characters, but Genuine’s sweet and generous heart is the star of the story. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.