Wished is a daydream come to life. It’s a story of making friends and taking risks; of the security of family and the exhilaration of exploring new experiences. It’s a leap of imagination and a flight of fancy.

When Ed’s parents tell him that he and his sister Roo will have to spend the days of their half-term holiday with their elderly neighbour Miss Riley, he is decidedly unimpressed. But there’s no way out of it; the builders who will be working on an extension to their home don’t want unsupervised children on the site. There’s no other solution – although Ed tries his hardest to find one – and Monday morning sees the siblings on her doorstep, Ed resigned and Roo intrigued.

It’s Roo who inadvertently starts things off and their brand new friend Willard, who has just moved in next door to Miss Riley, who is the unwitting cause. Who’d have thought that some uneaten birthday cake (‘I don’t know anyone here yet, do I?’) and some old birthday cake candles found in a drawer could transform the holidays for the trio and Miss Riley – and her ancient smelly cat Attlee? And not just the holidays, but their whole lives?

Everyone knows to make a wish as they blow out candles on their cake. Wished demonstrates why it’s important to make those wishes very precise, just in case. Because sometimes birthday cake wishes burst into life, whisking the wishees off into unimaginable adventures, their own and other people’s.

Ed, Roo and Willard discover that there’s more to Miss Riley (and Attlee) than is immediately apparent. She may be (to their way of thinking) old now but, once upon a time, she too had hopes and dreams of adventure. Once the children have adjusted to this idea, half-term takes off in a series of unbelievable journeys.

I loved Wished. It’s a joyful romp, full of imagination and excitement as the characters are catapulted into a succession of adventures and give free rein to their imaginations. But it’s also a story of friendship and understanding and finding the courage to live life to the full however that looks for each individual. And it’s clever and funny with a satisfying dramatic arc. My suggestion is that you read it before passing it on to younger readers in your life. Or, better yet, buy them their own copies and keep yours to read again.

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