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The Wish

The Wish

4.2 96
by Gail Carson Levine

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There is nothing wrong with Wilma Sturtz that a little popularity won't fix—or so she thinks. And luckily for her, she meets a witch on the subway who makes her wish to be popular come true. Almost instantly, Wilma becomes the center of attention at her junior high school. She has more friends than she can keep track of and forty invitations to the


There is nothing wrong with Wilma Sturtz that a little popularity won't fix—or so she thinks. And luckily for her, she meets a witch on the subway who makes her wish to be popular come true. Almost instantly, Wilma becomes the center of attention at her junior high school. She has more friends than she can keep track of and forty invitations to the Graduation Night Dance—plus someone is writing her love poetry. What more could a girl want? But what will happen when the wish ends? How can Wilma make sure she is never unpopular again?

In this original modern-day fairy tale, Gail Carson Levine takes an ordinary girl and gives her an extraordinary chance, and along the way reveals the truth about what it really means to be popular.

Editorial Reviews

Presto! -- she's popular! In this original modern-day fairy tale, Gail Carson Levine, the Newbery Honor-winning author of Ella Enchanted, introduces a friendless eighth-grader whose wish to become the most popular kid at school comes true. Now, Wilma's life is everything she ever dreamed of -- she has dozens of friends, guys vying for her attention, and she can do whatever she pleases and people still love her. But what will she do in a few weeks when her wish ends with graduation? Funny, painful, and delightfully real, this engaging novel explores the question of whether we really want to be liked for who we are.
USA Today
Levine, the author of Newbery Honor Book Ella Enchanted, writes with great sympathy and humor about the elusive nature of popularity. And middle school readers from every spot in the pecking order will sympathize with Wilma's efforts to be comfortable in her own skin.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Levine (Ella Enchanted; the Princess Tales) turns from fairy godmothers in the Brothers Grimm era to modern-day magic in this provocative meditation on what it means to be popular. Eighth-grader Wilma Sturtz is a nice New York City girl, but she's not popular--until she gives up her seat on the subway to a feeble elderly woman who grants her one wish. "I want to be the most popular kid at Claverford," Wilma tells the woman. Like many other books in this genre, the author explores the ramifications of "be careful what you wish for," adhering to the exact wording of the wish and demonstrating the fallout after graduation day. But, as always, Levine adds a refreshing twist to the fairy tale model: because Wilma has integrity, she uses her popularity to benefit others besides herself. The heroine, acutely aware of her unconditional popularity, adheres to the quote she most appreciates from Hamlet, "To thine own self be true." Because Wilma remains Wilma despite her popularity, she ultimately discovers who her true friends are when the wish's magic concludes. A flesh-and-blood supporting cast of imminently recognizable clique fixtures, as well as the unpopular outsiders whom Wilma also befriends, will offer readers much to ponder in their own lives. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Wilma Sturtz is a real girl in a fairy tale predicament. If only she'd worded her wish differently to the feeble old lady on the bus, she would've been popular forever. Instead, time is running out. The second she graduates from middle school, she's fated to be laughed at and lonely once again. Levine (author of Ella Enchanted and four volumes of The Princess Tales) has a real gift for making once-upon-a-time conventions fresh and contemporary. Readers will warm immediately to Wilma's humor, spirit, and occasional cluelessness. They'll also cheer her instant success--a dozen best friends, forty dates to the graduation dance, and the power to say and do totally uncool things without losing her appeal. Even more gratifying is the wit and wisdom that almost makes this novel into a guidebook for decoding the quirky criteria for popularity. Insightful readers will discover how to be themselves, laugh at themselves, and still have friends. 2000, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12, $15.95. Reviewer: Betty Hicks—Children's Literature
Wilma Sturtz, an eighth grader, feels rejected and ignored after her two friends move. She has trouble making new friends, until one day she gives an unusual elderly woman her seat on the subway. Impressed by Wilma's manners, the old woman asks young Wilma "if she could have anything, what would she want?" And then, just as suddenly, she grants Wilma her wish: to be the most popular kid at Claverford, her exclusive, private school. Instantly, Wilma is the center of attention. Every girl wants to be her friend, and every boy wants to take her the graduation night dance. Wilma, though, dreads graduation, because that is day this wonderful "wish" ends. In the end, though, Wilma learns to accept herself for who she is, and not because of the 'magic spell. 'Preteens will enjoy this story, which explores the real meaning of popularity, and makes it clear that friendship can never be forced. Above all, it taps into the deep-seated desire of every preteen to be liked and accepted. Genre: Popularity/Friendship. HarperCollins, 2000, 197 pp., $15.95. Ages 8 up. Reviewer: Deena Wilma Newman; Rockledge, Florida
This modern-day fairy tale is a look at the social trials of an unpopular 8th grader. Wilma Sturtz is a smart kid who has a lot of things going for her; however, she is one of the unlucky social lepers of Claverford School. All her bad luck changes when one day she gives up her seat on the subway to an old lady, who in turn grants Wilma one wish. Wilma says she wants to be the most popular kid at Claverford. When she returns to school, everyone flocks to her, wanting to be her friend. She begins to hang out with the most popular girls in her grade. While juggling this new blooming social life, Wilma realizes that she asked to be the most popular kid at Claverford and that at the end of the school year she will be moving to the area high school. She doesn't know whether the popularity spell will follow her or not! Wilma also starts dating her first boyfriend, Jared, who asks her out after the spell was cast. However, Jared is an unpopular kid, like Wilma used to be, and has liked her all along. The confusion mounts when Wilma has to decide what to do when the spell ends and what is really important to her. Although this story has a predictable Aesop-like moral to it and the reader can easily see where it is headed, it is enjoyable. It will entertain young teens while giving them a healthy reminder of the important things in life. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, HarperCollins, 243p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Erin Darr
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Wilma Sturtz, an average middle school student, offers her seat to an old woman on the subway. This thoughtfulness changes her life when the stranger, who tells her to think carefully, grants her one wish. She wishes to be the most popular student at school. Cliques of popular girls who ignored her are now vying for a place to walk beside her; boys who never noticed her are falling over themselves to sit next to her in class; and her once silent phone is a constant source of interruptions from admirers. As graduation approaches, Wilma's fear of losing her popularity sends her searching the streets for the old woman to find out how to keep her new-found popularity. The quality and narration this recording is excellent. Known for her television and film roles, Ari Meyers gives an outstanding performance of this book by Gail Carson Levine (HarperCollins, 2000), creating distinct and memorable voices and capturing the essence of the many characters: coolly critical Nina speaking in her flat, unaffected voice as she assigns "points" for her friends' actions and words; breathless and beautiful Ardis who embodies teenage perfection; and Jared, whose nerdy voice conveys his intellect while retaining his sensitivity. The constant interchange and clarity of these voices add a fast-paced feeling and creates tension. Suitable for preteens and older readers, this audiobook, with its humor and heartbreaks, will help listeners to explore the meaning of true friendship and acceptance.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Set in New York City, this is a highly entertaining, funny, poignant modern fairy tale of a lonely adolescent who receives the sudden gift of popularity. Wilma is at the end of the most excruciating eighthgrade year. Her existence defines unpopular; not only is she friendless, her clueless Language Arts teacher has read aloud a pointofview assignment in which Wilma spends a day as her Airedale Terrier, Reggie. She describes in loving detail the joys of doghood, waiting anxiously for "Beloved Wilma" to come home, lifting a leg to pee, and sniffing a Dalmatian's rear. That's the last straw. Wilma is constantly taunted. Anonymous woofs and snuffles follow her down the school corridor. Suzanne, a particularly nasty classmate, takes every opportunity to ask if Wilma has sniffed an anus lately. One morning while dreading yet another day of isolation, Wilma gives up her subway seat to an elderly woman who looks a bit faint. In return, the woman grants Wilma one wish. She wishes to be the most popular student at her school, Claverford. It is only after the spell begins to work that Wilma realizes her error. The spell will only be in effect at Claverford until graduation, which is only three weeks away. Levine (Ella Enchanted, 1997) captures the daytoday lives of tortured teens, their language, their anxieties, and their joys while spinning a light tale with deeper meaning. (Fiction. 1013)

Product Details

Perfection Learning Prebound
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I once read that in some primitive tribe or other, they punished people by ignoring them. If you were being punished, nobody would talk to you. They'd look through you, they'd pretend you didn't exist. It wouldn't take long for this treatment to kill you. I mean, you'd actually die. Dead.

I didn't die, but for the first nine months of eighth grade I almost wished I had. Before then, I had not one but two best friends, Tracy and Freda. We'd been friends since kindergarten. But then Tracy moved to Connecticut, and Freda's parents got mad at Claverford. They said the teachers weren't developmentally aware enough. They sent Freda to a boarding school even though we had only one more year to go before high school.

At first I wasn't worried. I figured I'd make more friends at school. But it turned out making new friends wasn't easy–or even possible. Cliques had already been established, and I couldn't break in. Or maybe I didn't have the knack of showing people that I was okay. Fun. Nice, even.

At first, the other kids weren't out-and-out mean. They let me sit with them at lunch–but nobody talked to me. If I had to call somebody about homework, whoever it was would answer my questions–the same way you take messages for your parents–bored, but vaguely polite.

Then, in November, it got worse. Much worse. Ms. Hannah, my teacher for homeroom and language arts, told us to write two pages on our "secret lives."

"This is the creative in creative writing, children." Ms. Hannah was the only teacher who still called us"children." She also pronounced "blue" as b-l-y-e-w.

I wrote seven pages pretending to be my Airedale, Reggie. I could have written a hundred pages. I love animals, I love dogs, and I especially love Reggie.

I wrote about dog happiness, about what dog dreams were like, about how it felt to chase a squirrel, about my favorite flavor of dog biscuit, and about my feud with the German shepherd who lived across the hall. But that's not what got me in trouble when Ms. Hannah read my report out loud.

She started out by saying she wanted us to hear the best example of "point of view" she'd ever come across in a student's writing. I relaxed in my chair, waiting to hear yet another piece by Daphne, who was adored by Ms. Hannah and avoided by everyone on our side of the teacher's desk.

"Wilma is to be congratulated on her exemplary effort, which you shall now hear."

I wished I could vaporize and reassemble in a middle school in Moscow. If I had thought anyone else would hear my paper, I would have written the kind of thing everybody else wrote, like my secret life as a music video star, or my secret life as a pro basketball player.

The awful part began halfway down the first page, when Ms. Hannah read, "'I hear the elevator door open. It is my beloved Wilma coming home from school.'" And then–even worse–"'My beloved Wilma is asleep. From the foot of the bed, I watch her. She is so beautiful.'"

Everybody was laughing so hard that Ms. Hannah had to wait five minutes before she could continue. Was she going to read all seven pages? I could survive what she'd read so far, but not if she kept going.

She kept going. "'I see Celeste, the dalmatian who is my best friend after my beloved Wilma. She is peeing. I rush to smell her pee. Celeste had chicken for dinner. I lift my leg over her pee.'"

The class howled. Timothy stamped his feet. BeeBee moaned that she had to pee. They all looked at me and looked away again laughing harder than ever. It took Ms. Hannah five more minutes to get them to quiet down. I wished they never would. I knew what came next.

"'Then I sniff her anus. It smells rich and full of Celeste.'"

After that, Ms. Hannah lost control of the class.

From that day on nobody talked to me, except for the occasional woof or snuffling noise as I walked through the halls–and that wasn't conversation. I was left strictly alone, with only three exceptions.

The first exception was Jared, who sat next to me in language arts. He told me he liked my secret life. He said it made him understand dogs better than he had before. I was glad to hear it, but I wasn't interested in Jared Fein, whose eyebrows met over his nose, forming one long continuous eyebrow.

The second exception was Ardis Lundy, the most popular girl at Claverford. She had Ms. Hannah for sixth period, and Ms. Hannah had been kind enough to read my secret life there, too.

"I'm glad she didn't read mine," Ardis told me. "I pretended I was my grandmother, raising my mother. It was pretty personal." And she smiled at me.

After that, she'd smile and wave when she saw me, but then again, she smiled and waved to everybody.

The third exception was Suzanne Russo. Razor Mouth Suzanne Russo. From then on she'd call me "beloved Wilma," or ask me what I'd sniffed lately or if there were any good fire hydrants near school. And no matter what else she said, she'd always drag the word "anus" in somehow.

Then, two weeks after The Reading, I got a lucky break. Mr. Pashkin, our communications teacher, paired everyone off for debates, and he paired me with BeeBee Molzen, who was very popular. Our topic was human cloning, and we were supposed to work together on our arguments before we debated in front of everybody. I thought this could be my chance to make a new friend, and then to make even more friends if BeeBee brought me into her clique.

The Wish. Copyright © by Gail Levine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

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Wish 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 96 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book this past summer and it was great. I kept wanting to turn the page and I could hardly put it down. 'The Wish' is about a teenage girl who wishes that she was the most popular girl in school but eventually learns that the people who matter in her life will like her for who she is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book was cool and Funny. I couldn't put it down. Some parts of the book were sort of odd though. If you like teen fantasy and romance. Then this book is definetly yours.
pinkfairytale More than 1 year ago
This story was a huge letdown. I read Ella Enchanted first and loved it! I followed it up with Fairest and enjoyed it as well. But this book... I mean really what happened to the sweet fairytale? The girl this story is about is in 8th grade and of course wants to be popular! She is a relatable character but her whole story is so strange. It is set in our time- which makes it even more weird. While on a bus ride our main character gives her seat to an elderly lady and in thanks the ederly lady tells her that she will grant one wish. Willima (the main character) wishes to be popular...and here begins the story. This book was nothing like Ella Enchanted so if you are looking for a similar story look elsewhere. There were quite a few things to watch out for in this book - In 8th grade this girl had no problem agreeing to meet a guy she likes for a kissing sesion. Her friends were a bit boy obsessed and each had boyfriends. I did NOT think it sounded right at all. For one because of the setting -moderen- and the whole wish thing... it just didn't work out for me. I know that middle schools are very much like the one featured in this story but is was just so silly to think of 8th graders being in love, going to dances, partying, and just generally acting inmature by trying to act mature and fit in. I hope I don't scare anyone away from this story. I read a few reviews before hand and others seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe the reason I didn't like this book is because I loved Ella Enchanted's sweet story and I like old fairy-tale settings to go along with a... well, a fairy-tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a intresting book I liked it a lot! Wilma's persanality is so much like mine! I Recommend it,thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is so lifelike because so many people try to fit in but can't so..... you know but in the end she should be happy because she got to know her "friends" personally(fears, life before popularity and more) as a kid (now I'm thirteen) I didn't fit in and people always made fun of me, but when I got to seventh grade people would talk about me but not as much and now in the eight grade I got a whole lot of friends, so this book means so much to me because I see it from my own personal view.
Tanna_L More than 1 year ago
In the beginning a girl named Wilma was going to school and then she let and old lady have her seat and the old lady offered her a wish and then she asked to be the most popular person at her school. and when she was at school e bunch of people started throwing notes at her and she thought tnhat some of them were wierd. I really liked this book it was awesome I hope you like it!!!
Morenabustamante More than 1 year ago
Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. One day she meets an old lady on the Subway in New York. The old lady offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity, she asks to be the most popular kid at school. Wilma an eight grader forgets that she will graduate in three weeks and her popularity will vanish. When her wish came true she has more friends that she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything was great, until she realizes that there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out. Wilma's wish has ended after they graduated. I like this Book, The Wish because it was very good because it talks about popularity and romance. I think everybody has the wish to be popular specially when you go to a new school and you don't know anybody and nobody wants to talk to you. Be Careful what you wish for.
feilunhai183 More than 1 year ago
I find it very fun to read, from the beginning to the very end. Very page turning. Recommended
fantasygirl11 More than 1 year ago
I read this and I thought it was pretty good. But if you're truly a good reader than you should be able to comprehend what she was going through. She had no friends and no one wanted to be friends with her. The only reason she wished to be popular is because she thought the lady was joking. But anyway this is a truly a good book that teaches you being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really weird. She had really mean friends, and it was kind of a cliffhanger, like will her friends like her anymore? I mean, I was kind of hoping for one of Gail Carson Levine's instant classics, like Ella Enchanted or her princess books, but this one was really disappointing. It had a good idea, but the story was not great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wish is an amazing book. I think anyone who likes funny and romantic book this is the one you want!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wish is an awesome book about wilma Sturtz and it relates to a kids everyday life! It is like a true book. (except for the witch) But i recomend this book to anyone who likes to read! Thanks ! ~!Books Rule!~
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wish is a heartstopper. I wanted to keep reading every page. If you enjoy fantasies, a little love, and big decisons we all must make, then you'll love this book. It was everything I was looking for in a book. GREAT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think it was awesome this is one of those books that you can read over and over it makes me really really happy she is like my best friend i love this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book...Gail Carson Levine certainly has a gift for telling the truth and putting it beautifully...This particular book tells about friendships: discovering them, losing them, fighting for them. Again, this was a wonderful book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book to tell realistic feelings toward popular and ordinary people. This book has to be read by anyone who has experienced these kinds of thoughts, which is everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When most people think of when they think "popular" is the mean blonde jerk girl who has fifteen boyfriends. (No offense to people with blonde hair, because I've known plenty of sweet blonde girls, it's just that I've noticed that 90% of mean girls in my life are blonde.) But popular really means that you're nice so lots of people like you as friends, they can rely on you to be a good person. The best popular people are the ones who aren't afraid to lose their popularity as long as they stay true to themselves. Never read the book, but from what I hear it sounds too teen romancey. I hate teen romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What does hashtag mean and awesone book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved all her books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Merfairy613 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful modern day fairy tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago