Wish [NOOK Book]

Overview

James McConnell’s one wish is that his nine-year-old son will finally be healthy enough to play a game of catch. Then he and his wife, Emily, receive news they’ve dreaded: Aaron’s cancer has relapsed.

As the family steels themselves for a draining treatment regimen in yet another hospital, Aaron receives the gift of a lifetime—a personal visit from one of his favorite ...
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Wish

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Overview

James McConnell’s one wish is that his nine-year-old son will finally be healthy enough to play a game of catch. Then he and his wife, Emily, receive news they’ve dreaded: Aaron’s cancer has relapsed.

As the family steels themselves for a draining treatment regimen in yet another hospital, Aaron receives the gift of a lifetime—a personal visit from one of his favorite professional baseball players—and the chance to make a bold request, his wish: to see his dad play in one major league game.

A former college standout, James fears he doesn’t have the talent it takes, even for one game, and that he’ll miss what could be Aaron’s precious last weeks. Yet how can he refuse his dying son’s wish?

Poignant and triumphant, Wish is the story of a father’s love, a family’s perseverance, and the miracles that can happen when you believe in the impossible.
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Editorial Reviews

ForeWord Reviews
Smith weaves emotional tension into this spiritual story of leukemia and baseball.
A nine-year-old boy suffering from leukemia makes a selfless wish that challenges his father, in Jake Smith’s moving Wish. Their shared love of baseball adds depth to the father-son relationship.

Smith introduces his first work of fiction with the dramatic moment when James McConnell learns that his son, Aaron, first diagnosed with cancer at age five, is again critically ill. James and his wife, Emily, had dared to believe that Aaron’s five months of complete remission would continue indefinitely. Instead, Aaron, his parents, and his six-year-old sister, Elizabeth, move into a family suite at a pediatric cancer research hospital in southern central Michigan, where he faces more aggressive treatment.

The family’s emotional tension about Aaron’s illness looms large in this story. When James and Emily meet with Aaron’s new oncologist, Dr. Barna, to discuss his chances for recovery, the doctor tells them that finding a bone marrow donor match for the boy’s rare tissue type is the best chance for his long-term survival. “Define long-term,” Emily responds, wanting the most definitive prognosis the doctor can’t give.

An effective use of analogy heightens the book’s poignant message. For example, when Aaron begins to improve, the family attends a Detroit Tigers home game. James, who abandoned his dream of playing professional baseball to marry Emily, shares with Aaron the thrill of walking onto an major-league field before the game starts. A religious man, James describes the space as a “cathedral” and compares the middle of the field to a “sanctuary.” Smith writes, “He felt so small, so insignificant, and everything around him seemed so … holy.”

Smith convincingly shows Emily and James’s devotion to each other and their children.

A revealing moment occurs just as the family prepares to leave the hospital after Aaron’s

treatment has ended. Concerned about Aaron’s lack of enthusiasm for feeling better and going home, James reminds his son that he is a cancer survivor. His son replies, “No, Dad, that’s just it. I’m not a survivor. I’m just … surviving.”

Smith’s competent prose style and flawless editing reflect his professional experience as a magazine editor and author of nonfiction articles and books. A well-researched story, Wish offers an insightful look into the perils of childhood leukemia. While the focus on baseball may not interest some readers, this story of a family struggling to overcome their son’s devastating illness holds universal appeal.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414395722
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/18/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 177,674
  • File size: 416 KB

Read an Excerpt

WISH

a novel


By Jake Smith, Caleb Sjogren

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Jason A. Smith
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-9154-0


CHAPTER 1

JAMES MCCONNELL LOVED THIS MOMENT, when the sinking, early May sun transformed the high school baseball field into Yankee Stadium, gilding the pitcher's mound and bases and each blade of moistening grass. With a golden brush, it painted over the field's blemishes, smoothed the pockmarks around third base, greened the scrubby grass in shallow center field, and refilled the crater consuming the right-handed batter's box. Everything softened and melted together in that evening glow, and the high school's small field, carved out of a northern Michigan swamp, became a place where profes sionals played.

The slanting sun sharpened his concentration. In the first base coach's box, he bent forward and rested his hands on his knees, legs spread wide, and studied the opposing left-handed pitcher. The teenager had just walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fourth inning on four straight pitches, and James recognized the pressure clenching in the pitcher's jaw. For most seventeen-year-olds, pressure meant mistakes. And James spotted one brewing in how the kid, lips mashed together in frustration, took far too long getting the sign from the catcher. James figured a wild pitch was coming. That, or a medium fastball right down the middle, a perfect pitch to hit. Either way, he told the runner on first to be ready. Sure enough, the next pitch skipped in the dirt, low and away to the left-handed batter, but the catcher blocked it, keeping the runner at first base.

James straightened, and in the few seconds between pitches, he marveled again at the evening sunshine and how it always seemed to make his baseball career feel complete—from high school star at eighteen, to promising college standout at twenty, to part-time assistant high school coach at thirty-four. It created a moment that, unlike many others in his life, felt perfect.

The moment shattered.

The runner, shuffling back to first base after the pitch in the dirt, said, "hey, Coach Mac," and flicked his head toward the first base dugout.

A burgundy SUV streaked down a paved No Vehicles Allowed footpath that wound down from the school and around the track and softball diamonds. Greg's car. A hand shot out the driver's window with a frantic wave. The SUV dipped, threatening to veer down the grassy slope toward the baseball diamond, but the driver fought back, straightened it out, and jammed the brakes. Tires screeched.

James sprinted off the field.

He knew why Greg, the school's athletic director, was there, and that perfect moment he treasured vanished. The golden light, the performance of his team, the eternal hope of an unlikely state title, his love of baseball—none of it mattered. Not anymore.

The cancer was back.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from WISH by Jake Smith, Caleb Sjogren. Copyright © 2014 Jason A. Smith. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Plot spoilers

    Just once id like to read a review without all these plot spoilers revealing every detail of the story then bragging how they got their book for free for their supposed honest review. Come on. Really? You just ruined a good book by telling everything that happens. Other readers would like to read a book a discover the storyline for themselves not have you plot spoilers read a book then regurgitate the plot line back to us. Please bn, ban these plot spoilers and put a stop to this.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2014

    This is an emotionally-intense story of James, a man facing ever

    This is an emotionally-intense story of James, a man facing every parent’s nightmare. His nine-year-old son, Aaron, has been battling leukemia for 5 year; and now after a brief five months in remission, he has relapsed and must start the fight all over. The baseball gloves that sit on Aaron’s shelf, unused, waiting for the day he might be strong enough to play a simple game of catch with his dad, serve as symbols of his lost childhood. Little sister has only known life with Aaron being sick, and mom and dad are just trying to help him get through the grueling, painful treatments-“that no child should have to bear, sitting powerless and horrified as something so minuscule and intangible dictated that this particular child would in fact have no childhood at all.”
    As the prognosis seems hopeless, Aaron makes what may well be his dying wish—that his dad play one game of major league baseball for his beloved Detroit Tigers. To everyone’s surprise, the Tigers front office people agree to help make the dream happen. What ensues is the father’s struggle through accelerated minor league training to relearn his college ball skills in the three weeks until he is scheduled to play for the Tigers on Father’s Day. It is a beautiful tale of caring folks in the baseball world and of the love of a father who submits to humiliating public ineptitude to somehow give his son the strength to keep fighting.
    There is another character in the story—The Place-the dark depression that threatens to overwhelm James. “The place where pictures of life without his son filled the walls. The Place where he sat in the corner wondering what he could’ve done differently. The Place where he grew old staring out a smudged window, imagining who his little boy would have become had his life not been stolen.” Surely, every parent of an ill child must be all too familiar with such dark nights of the soul. It is the struggle to make Aaron’s wish come true that allows James to fight his way out of The Place.
    Due to the nature of the storyline, the book is emotionally-wrenching and a tear-jerker. This is just the story of ordinary people dealing with what they have been handed to the best of their ability. Aaron’s wisecracks, his encyclopedic knowledge of baseball stats and his passion for the Tigers make the face of cancer very believable. Yet, the love within the family is uplifting and touching, and the reader is caught up in the prayer that Aaron will beat the disease once and for all. I won’t spoil the ending by giving more information, but this is truly a sentimental journey worth making. The author publicizes the need for us all to register as bone marrow donors as that gift of marrow is often the deciding factor in whether a child survives. I received this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for this my honest opinion.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2014

    Great book. Even though I am not a baseball fan, this tale revol

    Great book. Even though I am not a baseball fan, this tale revolving around the sport caught my attention and kept me up till the wee hours of the morning to finish it. A dying boy's wish is granted and the reader is on a trip through the ups and downs of an aspiring baseball player. Despair and hope, family love and conflict through a young child's fight with returning leukemia, Wish reminds the reader what life really is all about. Wish will tug at your heartstrings, educate you about bone marrow transplants and renew your faith and hope in things that really matter.
    I received this book for free from BookClubNetwork and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I have also posted this review on DeeperShopping, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.
    And finally...Go Tigers!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2014

    Aaron has leukemia His remission just ended He wants his dad

    Aaron has leukemia His remission just ended He wants his dad to play in a Major League baseball game so he arranges for his dad to have the opportunity to try out by first going to minor league teams.
    This is what gives Aaron the strength to fight the leukemia........watching his dad in his dream
    And be prepared for a big surprise
    God bless All of you

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A fantastic read about a family's struggle against cancer and de

    A fantastic read about a family's struggle against cancer and despair that will pull at your heart. James McConnell is ripped from life as he knows it when he gets the news that his nine-year-old son's cancer has relapsed. He struggles against despair as his dream of playing catch with his son, who shares his passion for baseball, starts slipping away. The family digs in for another battle with the disease they thought they had defeated. Then Aaron gets a visit from his favorite baseball player and makes the ultimate wish - for his dad. Aaron's only wish is to see his dad play in one major league baseball game. James, a former college star, gets to work against worry for his son, distractions, and doubts about whether he can still play well enough to get promoted to the majors and make his son's dying wish come true.

    As a sports fan, I loved how baseball weaved into the story. You get a look at the Detroit Tigers and their minor league systems throughout the book. Baseball, while not a perfect sport, does have some amazing players that I could see being just as caring as the characters in this book. If you're not a baseball fan, then this book may not resonate as well with you, but I urge you to stick with it for the rest of the emotional roller coaster. The wish and attempted rise to the major leagues mostly takes place in the middle of the book and really takes up less than half of the story.

    As a father of a young boy, this book really grabbed a hold of me. Any baseball fan will love the behind the scenes look at the different levels leading up to the big game in the major leagues, but it's the rest of the book that will pull at your heart strings. You get a good look at what a family goes through when a child has cancer. You see all the hopes and fears as they struggle through the same fight for a second time.

    The subtle religious undertones did not come across as very obvious or preachy in my opinion.The author and story reminds us that we all have a part to play in making someone's wish come true. I will definitely be recommending this book to everyone!

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  • Posted August 20, 2014

    Great Book! Jake's worst nightmare came true-his son Aaron's Le

    Great Book!

    Jake's worst nightmare came true-his son Aaron's Leukemia returned. While in the hospital for treatment
     Aaron had the chance to meet one of his hero's a major league baseball player.  At the end of the visit Aaron whispered his wish to the man.  Little did Jake know that the wish was for him.  This was a powerful book about a family's love for each other going through a seemingly impossible journey. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    Wish is very well-written, and a book I would recommend to anyon

    Wish is very well-written, and a book I would recommend to anyone.

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  • Posted August 16, 2014

    Wish is a book to keep and re-read. It is a powerfully, emotiona

    Wish is a book to keep and re-read. It is a powerfully, emotional story of a nine year old diagnosed with a re-occurring leukemia. He makes a wish for his father that changes the whole family. It has a sports background but it does not distract from the heartaches of a family.The story will definitely show the need and effects of registering to be a donor. There is a need!
    This book has already been passed on several times and enjoyed tremendously.
    I recieved this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2014

    This was a very good book, and I enjoyed reading, even though I

    This was a very good book, and I enjoyed reading, even though I don't really care for baseball. It was certainly very inspirational.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    I have a really hard time saying I "like" books with t

    I have a really hard time saying I "like" books with things that are completely sad in them.  Like this book, one of the main characters is a 9 year old boy that had cancer at age 5 and it is back at age 9.  How can you honestly say that that is a good story?  It is sad, depressing and just plain is wrong.  Anyone having cancer seems that way, but it is extra cruel when it happens to a child.  I also have a hard time liking a book that is about sports, which I pretty much don't give a rats bum about.  And baseball, while ok to watch in person is just unbearably boring to watch on tv or read about.  And those were the two main parts of this book.  This is supposed to be a Christian novel, but very few references to God or anything pertaining to God were mentioned.  It was almost like the father and son in this book, their God was baseball.  They dream about it, they read about it, study it, watch it, want to play it, on and on and on.  And the father reminds me a lot of Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, he is forever trying to relive his glory days, "back 13 years ago, I could throw a ball this far and if I wouldn't have got married and had kids, I would still be fabulous."  Get over yourself!  You have a family now, that you chose, baseball is his life, and he has made it a huge part of his sons life too.  While I doubt that the concept of this book is even feasible, a man that has not played in 13 years is suddenly just going to be good enough to let a professional team let him play even one inning of one game, pretty out there.  It was also a good "wish", and I did think it was cool that the kid thought that much of his dad that he was willing to give his own wish away to see his dads come true.  Would I recommend this book?  Probably not.  Would I re read it?  again with a negatory.  Just not my type of book or genre of book.  I basically only read it because it is on the Tyndale House summer reading program and I got it free a few months back on iTunes.   

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2014

    What an amazing book! The combination of baseball, childhood can

    What an amazing book! The combination of baseball, childhood cancer, and faith make for a powerful story. While the book is definitely an emotional one, I couldn't stop reading it. Aaron is an adorable little boy and completely selfless. I was encouraged by his family and the way they supported one another. And of course, seeing celebrity athletes come together on behalf of Aaron was inspiring.

    This book has a special place in my heart because of the attention it brings to childhood cancer. The author got the emotions of patients and families right on the mark. And I especially appreciated the emphasis on registering as a donor with the Bone Marrow Registry.

    And for those who need to know if the author gives readers a "happily ever after" ending ... the book ends on a happy note.

    This is a book that everyone should read. I highly recommend it! [5 stars]

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  • Posted July 20, 2014

    James McConnell has had one wish for a very long time, and it's

    James McConnell has had one wish for a very long time, and it's that his son, 9 year old Aaron, didn't have leukemia. Although Aaron has been in remission for some time, when the cancer comes back James is devastated - and angry.



    Aaron's wish is to see his dad (who was a college baseball star with solid pro potential before deciding to get married and have a family was more of a priority to him) play in the major leagues. Jake Smith's debut novel, "Wish" is the story of one family's journey to peace no matter the outcome.


    Baseball fans will especially enjoy the play-by-play descriptions and Aaron's savant-like stat knowledge. Check it out!

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  • Posted July 19, 2014

    Wish is a touching and heart warming story.Aaron is such a sweet

    Wish is a touching and heart warming story.Aaron is such a sweet little boy. Instead of thinking of what he wants, he thinks of what his dad wants.  Make sure you grab a box of tissues before even starting on page one. It really was a quick read for me. I thought it was a great read. 
    4 1/2 stars

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  • Posted July 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Jake Smith in his new book ¿Wish¿ published by Tyndale House Pub

    Jake Smith in his new book “Wish” published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. takes us into the life of  James McConnell.




    From the back cover:  James McConnell’s one wish is that his nine-year-old son will finally be healthy enough to play a game of catch. Then he and his wife, Emily, receive news they’ve dreaded: Aaron’s cancer has relapsed.




    As the family steels themselves for a draining treatment regimen in yet another hospital, Aaron receives the gift of a lifetime—a personal visit from one of his favorite professional baseball players—and the chance to make a bold request, his wish: to see his dad play in one major league game.




    A former college standout, James fears he doesn’t have the talent it takes, even for one game, and that he’ll miss what could be Aaron’s precious last weeks. Yet how can he refuse his dying son’s wish?




    Poignant and triumphant, Wish is the story of a father’s love, a family’s perseverance, and the miracles that can happen when you believe in the impossible.




    What a mother has for her children cannot be equaled. Having said that what a father will do for his children is something to behold.  Jake Smith explores the love of a father for his son in “Wish”.  Aaron has blood cancer and may die but when given a wish he wants for his father to play in one major league baseball game. Sounds easy doesn’t it? However there is a lot of training involved to play in even just one game. Now James is faced with the training while worrying about his son. This is a marvelous story about the dynamic between James and Aaron and the deep bond they share. “Wish” is all about family. Mr. Smith has given us great characters who live and breathe on the pages and draw us into their lives so that we root for them and want them to win.  “Wish” is highly emotional but a wonderful read!




    Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2014

    Wonderful book! Lovable characters.

    This is a wonderfully written and inspirational novel. I found myself emotionally invested in the characters, and wanting to help. Made my way to the Bethematch website as soon as I finished the book.

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  • Posted July 9, 2014

    This was an excellent book!!  A great read for men & women a

    This was an excellent book!!  A great read for men & women alike.  Very well written with excellent characters & amazing writing.  I could easily see this book being made into a movie.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Wonderful

    I got so caught up in the story that I even cried at parts.

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    Great journey I enjoyed this novel, with its emotional ups and

    Great journey

    I enjoyed this novel, with its emotional ups and downs. The characters were great, especially the son. Some of the baseball content was over my head, but not enough to detract from the plot and my connection with the main character – I really wanted to follow him on the journey. I’m glad I picked this book!

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book ... didn't really seem to be &

    I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this book ... didn't really seem to be "my thing". I was surprised at how easily the story went by, and it promotes a worthy cause without being cliche or groan-inducing. It's a good read, and well written. Recommend. 3.5 stars.

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  • Posted July 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I have been drawn to Wish from the time I first saw its cover se

    I have been drawn to Wish from the time I first saw its cover several months ago, and while it is an entertaining work of fiction, it is so much more. It's a story of family, of caring and sacrifice, of people coming together to help in time of great need. It's very real, poignant, touching, heartwarming, and motivational. The cover makes you think this is about baseball, but it's really a story about the long journey of one special family, set against the backdrop of the professional baseball world.




    At the heart of the story is nine-year-old Aaron, who is beginning treatment after his cancer has relapsed - and anyone who has loved, taken care of, and sacrificed for a child diagnosed with a serious illness  can relate to Aaron and his parents. The outcome is not guaranteed, worries are real, emotions are raw, yet Wish is an inspiring book filled with hope and triumph. 




    Jake is a talented writer and has done his research well. In fact, I find it hard to believe that he has not experienced what he writes about, at least in some form. His description of the hospital where Aaron receives treatment, a state-of-the-art children's hospital and research center in Michigan, is fascinating.




    James, Aaron's dad, clings to his faith, but still finds himself drawn into the dark world of The Place . . .




    The Place was a cell. A prison echoing one powerful, spiteful word:  why? . . . When James couldn't fight the situation with stubbornness, he wallowed in The Place. The Place where pictures of life without his son filled the walls. The Place where he sat in the corner wondering what he could've done differently. The Place where he grew old staring out a smudged window, imagining who his little boy would have become had his life not been stolen.




    None of us can say how we would handle a similar situation without having experienced it, but if my child were critically ill, I can totally see myself wallowing in The Place.




    How Aaron's "wish" to see his dad play in a professional baseball game comes about is highly entertaining - from the inner workings of baseball clubs, to the humble pro athlete who quietly uses his "celebrity" to help sick children, to the  awesome night game itself. This whole book is a reminder that God heals - sometimes in life and sometimes on the other side - but He heals. Sometimes miraculously, but often through the skilled hands of the medical professionals, and sometimes simply through the willingness of ordinary people to be used.




    I think the phrase "fiction with a mission" perfectly describes Wish, for there is a bigger purpose behind this book. Jake writes in the acknowledgements at the end that the story's real mission is "the care of those in hospitals right now and those who anxiously wait to receive word that there's a bone marrow match and a donor ready to give." 




    So for me, Wish is Christian fiction that entertains and engages the emotions, while inspiring readers to some kind of action at the same time. These words of Aaron's parents point the way for all of us:  "We can sit on the sidelines and let this cancer tell us how to act - or we can move forward with life and living."




    I am so glad the people at Tyndale believed in Jake's book and hope we see more from him soon. This is a story that sports fans will obviously enjoy, but I believe it will appeal to all readers, as I loved it even though I don't care much for professional sports. Wish is a great debut for Jake Smith. Highly recommended.




    Thank you to Tyndale House for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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