Just One Wish
Putnam Juvenile (2009)
Reviewed by Rachael Stein (age 15) for Reader Views (1/09)
Annika Truman is an intuitive girl with a knack for telling stories. She generally uses those tales for good, to cheer up her little brother Jeremy. But when she convinces him that one of her little yarns is actually real, she enters a world of trouble. In her story, Jeremy wishes to meet the real Teen Robin Hood from his favorite TV show, and now Annika has to play genie. Telling Jeremy the truth just isn’t an option as Annika can’t let Jeremy down, not this close to his surgery. So, she does what any other loving sister would do: she hauls her butt all the way over to Burbank, California in order to convince Steve Raleigh, the actor who plays Teen Robin Hood, to come home with her and visit her bother. Annika hopes that this will provide Jeremy with confidence that will make the surgery go well. It’ll be a struggle, but this witty heroine just may have what it takes to write a happy ending to her own story.
Rallison effortlessly conveys an unforgettable story in “Just One Wish” that succeeds in being funny, romantic, and moving. There is a lot going on in this novel plot-wise, but it all fits together so nicely. There are issues concerning friendship and family to relationships and love, and everything in between. Rallison writes so beautifully and realistically that the reader is immediately drawn in to the story and doesn’t want it to end. And as heartbreaking as it is, “Just One Wish” is so believable because it lacks most of that too-good-to-be-true sparkle. There isn’t much I’d like to change about this incredible story except for some minor details I felt were a little weak.
The characters are just as well written, if not better, than the plot. They are so realistic and authentic that they, especially Jeremy and Annika, capture and retain the reader’s attention and sympathy. Even Steve Raleigh isn’t your typical jaded movie star or perfect stud; his flaws help make him more believable. Annika’s character has such an honest goodness about her, as does little Jeremy’s, that readers will be rooting for all their wishes to come true.
Fans of Rallison’s previous novels will not want to miss this one, and fans of Sarah Dessen, C. Leigh Purtill, and Alyson Noël will also want to check out this cute novel. The female population, particularly teenage girls, will immensely enjoy “Just One Wish” by Janette Rallison.