The Wishing Game | By Meg Shaffer





Book Review | Contemporary Fiction

The Wishing Game
Make a wish. . . . Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability. But be careful what you wish for. . . . Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy. For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever. . . . You might just get it.     (Goodreads)    



My thoughts






Narrative and Plot







A whimsical tale and a tribute to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it is a nostalgic callback to all those kids, now adults, who waited for a letter from Hogwarts or a hidden Narnia in their wardrobe. For me, it was about sneaking in on a plane with the Famous Five and be a part of their adventure. 

If you have ever loved the whimsical tales in your childhood and wished for a moment to live in those adventures, you can do that vicariously through the characters of The Wishing Game. For me, that is the main draw and plot of the book. The worldbuilding was amazing for a contemporary novel and you almost wish to get your hands on all the Clock Island books.
















Characters and Conflicts







Lucy Hart and Christopher are the heart and soul of the story. Their relationship was pure and your heart went out for the two of them. And then comes the eccentric mastermind, James Masterson, with his own sidekick Hugo Reese. When in reality, he is only a broken man himself, held by a fragile thread.

I have expected the contestants to be cutthroat and pitted against each other, but the book took a different direction. Obviously, this is not a thriller and the competition, despite being part of the title, is not exactly the focus of the book. This story focuses mainly on finding joy even when it is hard to do so and keeping the hope alive.











The romance, however, was a miss for me. In the Netflix series, The Romantics, they talk about the Hindi movie Lamhe, which bombed. Anupama Chopra, the film critic, reveals a particular scene which Aditya Chopra wanted to scrape, but Yash Chopra kept anyway that led to the audience eventually disowning the romance. I think this is the best way to express my opinion about the romance here without giving away any spoilers. 




















Overall, I enjoyed the book and might even re-read it. It was more about the nostalgia and the love of the idea of being a part of the whimsical world that you always admired. If you can ignore a few flaws, this book is worth a try.









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