08 October 2014

Wishing Will by Daniel Harvell

 Outcast middle schooler Will Cricket wants a new look, popular friends, cool parents and enough coordination to dribble a basketball - but he never actively pursues any of it. Instead, Will makes wishes.
When the magical wishing corporation known as the Sky Castle Network and Enterprises (a.k.a. the SCENE) agrees to grant him his ultimate wish to be someone different, he must work for his reward. Becoming a super-powered agent for the organization, Will teams up with a celestial wish agent with delusions of Hollywood stardom, a shape-changing half-Genie, a narcoleptic Dreamweaver and a stick-in-the-mud wish lawyer.

Together, they grant the wishes of Will’s classmates and family members, helping the same people who pick on Will every day. As if these challenges weren't enough, there's a mystery surrounding his peculiar grandmother and a malevolent force bent on enslaving humanity. Will might have to fight not only for his wish but also for the entire world!
I read Wishing Will along with my two kids and we truly enjoyed the world Harvell created. The fantasy of having beings with the ability to grant wishes and humans who can tap into that power was a magical tale full of wonder and excitement.  

Will is an easy going and kind kid trying to navigate his way through the awkwardness of school. He doesn’t fit in at school and to make matters worse he feels invisible at home. His popular older sister pretends he doesn’t exist, the school bully is constantly messing with him, his eccentric grandmother is oblivious to her surroundings and his parents are too busy to take notice. Will feels disconnected so he makes a big wish hoping to become someone else but that wish brings much more into his life that what he could have ever imagined. He goes from lost kid trying to hide to someone with a great power and unique abilities. He has new friends from another world who work for a wish granting company and his life is now full of adventure, danger and mystery. He’s helping grant other peoples wishes while trying to protect his grandmother and keep an evil wish granter from taking control over the human race.

The book had a great underlying theme of dreaming big, working hard and being selfless. It touched on the angst kids feel as outsiders and how looking at things from a different perspective can help you channel those negative feelings into positive ones reminding us that we all belong to something bigger, have something to offer and that none of us are perfect. It’s a magical, heartwarming and funny story I recommend to kids and to adults who want to get in touch with their inner kid.

You write one short story at the age of 10 about a pit on the moon laden with poisonous hamburgers, and suddenly you’re an author. That’s the way I saw it when “Murder on the Moon” became an instant hit with my fourth-grade classmates. I’d always been a voracious reader, but upon sharing my little yarn with my friends, I suddenly realized the freedom (and power!) of becoming the storyteller. Over the next few years, I would go on to write several short stories, mostly involving murder mysteries and my schoolmates.

The thrill of whodunits subsided when I discovered the long and (theoretically) rewarding payoffs of the soap operatic style of telling tales, which was followed quickly by my unearthing of the superhero fiction genre (which is just soap operas in spandex).Fast-forward to my last semester at Florida State University, where I was starting to regret my decision to pursue a business management degree instead of something more literary. I had big stories in my head. Instead of second-guessing my educational path, I used my free time to pursue my passion. A few months later, my first novel had arrived in the world—and it wasn’t pretty. Like all writers, though, I had to start somewhere.

I went back to the drawing board with my ideas for The Survivors—a contemporary fantasy story about what would happen if real people found themselves empowered with superhuman abilities. But The Survivors wasn’t so pretty either. The concept was fun but the execution was rough. It was temporarily shelved while I set out to learn how to be a better and publishable writer. And 10 years later, I think I may have learned a thing or two.

During the interim years, I finally found my true voice in Wishing Will. While The Survivors will always be my baby, Wishing Will has been my favorite child (I know, I’m not supposed to have one, but this book just hits all of the right notes). In many ways, the work of an artist is like his or her child. Now my little ones are ready to play with the big kids.


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