Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2014 When a best friend is leaving you, what can you do? Ashley dreads the upcoming summer and her last few weeks at camp with her best friend, Lucy, who is moving away. Ash feels further unmoored by the arrival of young Claire, a girl who will be spending the summer with Ash’s family under nebulous circumstances. The only place Ash can get a little privacy is in her mom’s overflowing basement, where she finds a jar marked “wishes.” Ash discovers that when she pulls out a wish, she’s transported magically to the past, where she views another friendship—this one between another Ashley and her friend Shue, who are moving through their own funny, strange, and painful summer. Through Harper’s skillful combination of fantastical and wholly realistic situations, readers are presented with gently larger-than-life characters, who are magnified through Ash’s eyes and take on the roles she needs them to as she steps into her coming-of-age journey. As sweet and tart as a strawberry lemonade, readers will want to sip slowly and savor every page. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 4–6—Ashley is ready for the worst summer of her life. Her best friend, Lucy, is going to camp and then moving away forever and Ashley's mom has roped her into babysitting for a friend's daughter for three weeks before she can meet Lucy at camp. While she is wallowing in her sadness, Ashley stumbles upon a magic jar full of wishes among her mom's junk. Soon after seven-year-old Claire arrives—full of enthusiasm, energy, and surprises. She has a long list of things that she wants to do while she is visiting. But all Ashley can think about is her wish jar, reading her new P. J. Walker novel, and getting through the next three weeks so that she can finally spend time with Lucy. Ashley decides that Claire is "like the golden retriever of people—everyone loves her." And, although her enthusiasm is exhausting, Claire turns out to be exactly what Ash needs to get through all the upheaval of the summer. Harper connects people and events seamlessly throughout the story, keeping readers engaged to the end. It will be easy for kids to empathize with Claire as she comes to terms with the loss of her mom, and with Ashley, as she grapples with all of the changes in her life. Fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me (Random, 2009) and E. L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (S. & S., 1967) will enjoy this refreshing novel.—Annette Herbert, F. E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NY - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2014 It was bad enough when Ashley discovered that her best friend, Lucy, is moving away at the end of summer. Now Ashley can’t even spend these last few months with her pal at camp because she’s expected to play babysitter to seven-year-old Claire, the daughter of Ashley’s mother’s childhood best friend. While hiding out from her charge in the basement, Ashley finds an old jar labeled “Wishes” and is transported back in time to witness the formation and ultimate dissolution of a friendship between two girls. Meanwhile, cheerful Claire and her list of things to do force the normally reserved Ashley to interact with people she’d usually shy away from and to discover the connections between the wishing jar and her own life. What at first appear to be very disparate plot elements (the wishing jar, a visit to a nursing home, a chance meeting with an author) coalesce into a pleasing mystery à la Rebecca Stead, and the clues are scaffolded in a way that will allow young readers to triumphantly put the pieces together just before they’re revealed. Ash’s narration is poignantly direct at times (“Nighttime is the worst for sadness”), and her actions can be both well intentioned and ill advised, making her an eminently relatable protagonist, a slightly older version of Julie Sternberg’s Eleanor (Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, BCCB 3/11, etc.). Middle-grade girls will particularly warm to Ashley’s story and find themselves wishing for a similarly magical summer. KQG - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.