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The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

What if Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was written for adults today? What if Willy Wonka was no chocolatier, but an eccentric and recluse children's book author? What if you found the perfect book at the perfect time in your life?

Meg Shaffer is an incredibly whimsical, heartfelt author who is starting my new favorite genre... Children's books for adults. A genre I didn't even think was possible until devouring her debut novel The Wishing Game.

Lucy Hart is a twenty six year old teachers aide who has fallen in love with an orphaned boy at her school. Christopher's parents died suddenly and tragically and Christopher was quickly entered into the foster care system. Lucy would do anything to be able to adopt Christopher, but with her limited income, her debt, and her complicated relationship with her family she is just not financially able to support a life for her and Christopher together.

When it seems like there is nothing left for Lucy to do but to let Christopher go, Jack Masterson, a renowned children's book author has written his first book after a long, long hiatus. Jack says there is only one available copy of the book and only a handful of special children from his past will have the opportunity to come to his home on Clock Island to compete for the chance to win the book, and all rights to sell the book afterwards.

The book would mean financial stability for Lucy and Christopher, her forever happy ending. So she sets off to meet her hero and to make her wishes come true.

I had no idea what to expect when I opened this book, but I was floored. I couldn't put it down! The magical setting of Clock Island, the painfully accurate kinship I felt with our protagonist Lucy, and the overall nostalgia of feeling like I'm reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory again for the first time... I was completely enthralled!

The book is more than just a magical romp through the rose colored glasses of childhood, though. The Wishing Game shows the complexities, the heartbreak, and the horrors of what it means to grow up. The complexities of our relationships with our families, our friends, and ourselves is earnestly captivated through Meg Shaffer's honest dialogue.

I laughed. I cried. I just cannot stop thinking about it. Please go read this book. Read it for yourself, and read it for that little one inside of you who still believes in magic.

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