Saturday, January 11, 2020

Secondhand Wishes

Staniszweski, Anna. Secondhand Wishes
January 29th 2019 by Scholastic Press
Personal copy

Lexi is very particular about how she goes about her day; things have to be just right, or tragedy could occur. When she misses meeting up with her best friend, Cassa, on the way to school because her brother Austin has had a rough morning, she knows that things will not go well. She ends up in detention, which her teacher moves to lunchtime so that Lexi can go to her after school job at Cassa's mother's antique store, but Lexi is concerned when Cassa talks a lot about the new girl, Marina, and her brother's health starts to deteriorate. Cassa's mother is unable to have Lexie stay with them, so Leix ends up at her Aunt Glinda's house while her parents deal with her brother's hospital stay. She finds four stones in a pouch at the antique store and makes wishes on them, but the wishes don't work out quite the way she expected. Instead of Cassa and Marian not hanging out together, they literally can't SEE each other, leading to weird complications. Her brother's health improves, but he starts to squeak like a hamster. Luckily, she gets some help from former school mate Elijah to help her try to figure out the mystery of the stones and their odd connection to her family .
Strengths: Magical realism is gaining popularity in my school, and I like that this has a cover that will age well--  no particular fashion or illustration style, just a standard photo. Lexi's anxiety is warranted, given her brother's health problems and their effect on her family, and trying to use magic to solve them is a nice touch. I also enjoyed her relationship with Elijah. Friend drama is always popular as well, and readers worried about losing best friends will understand Lexi's difficulties with Cassa and Marina.
Weaknesses: There's a little too much coincidence for my taste, but young readers will enjoy it.
What I really think: I think this one will do well for fans of Wendy Mass' Willow Falls books or Sarah Mlynowski's Whatever After books and will hold up for a long time. I've never really cottoned to this author, but may have to go back and revisit her other titles.

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