Melanie isn’t in the mood to believe in magic, but it comes looking for her anyway in the form of a most eccentric character in Elizabeth Varadan’s The Fourth Wish (CreateSpace, reprinted in 2010).
Eleven-year-old Melanie McCormick thinks her school vacation will be, at best, boring, although she suspects it will be something much worse. Her parents have recently divorced, her mother is working longer hours and Melanie has to help out more around the house. If that weren’t enough, her younger brother and sister and her brother’s best friend are tagging along everywhere she goes. How will she ever manage to catch the eye of the school’s newest heartthrob or talk privately on the phone with her best friend, Jenny?
While on their way to see a magic show, Melanie, Cory, Erin and Arthur help a stranger pick up the spilled contents of a shopping bag. What the four don’t realize is the stranger, who introduces herself as Mrs. Seraphina, is the one who really is magic. When she grants a wish to Melanie’s brother, the first to volunteer to help Mrs. Seraphina, a domino effect of complications ensues, sending ripples into the lives of not only the four children but the magician, The Great Mondo, a struggling performer who adds his own unique, and unintended, magic to the plot.
Filled with mystery and enchantment, this fast-paced and gripping story will make you wonder what would you ask for if granted one wish. Would it be a wise choice without any unexpected consequences? What about the person who is the recipient of your wish—how will it change his or her life? And what if one day you were the recipient of someone else’s wish, for remember Mrs. Seraphina can grant four of them, and Melanie, Erin and Arthur still have theirs to make …
This is a book whose characters, dialogue and setting are all on target, and the mystery is both magical and satisfying. You’ll wish you didn’t have to reach the end. And you’ll find yourself wishing for a sequel. It's a great summer read for youth.
A retired elementary-school teacher, Elizabeth Varadan’s work has been published in Story Friends and Ladybug magazines. In addition to two picture books, Varadan has written two middle-grade novels, a story collection for children and an early chapter book. Presently she is working on a chapter-book mystery. She also writes children’s book reviews for Sacramento Book Review (http://sacramentobookreview.com/) and teaches art classes for 8 to 12 year olds one day a week. The Fourth Wish is her first published book.
Varadan lives in Sacramento with her husband, Rajan, and their dog, Cezar. Visit her at
Support your local library! Ask for a copy of The Fourth Wish. It’s also available at http://www.amazon.com/Fourth-Wish-Elizabeth-Varadan/dp/1440413061 and https://www.createspace.com/3353849.
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What’s on your book list for this summer?