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Dreamer, Wisher, Liar

Dreamer, Wisher, Liar

5.0 2
by Charise Mericle Harper

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Dreamer, Wisher, Liar is a heartwarming story about one girl's transformative summer full of friendship, secret magic, and family. Fans of Rebecca Stead will enjoy Charise Mericle Harper's funny and poignant novel.

When her best friend is moving away and her mom has arranged for some strange little girl to come and stay with them, Ash—who is


Dreamer, Wisher, Liar is a heartwarming story about one girl's transformative summer full of friendship, secret magic, and family. Fans of Rebecca Stead will enjoy Charise Mericle Harper's funny and poignant novel.

When her best friend is moving away and her mom has arranged for some strange little girl to come and stay with them, Ash—who is petrified of change and new people—is expecting the worst summer of her life. Then seven-year-old Claire shows up. Armed with a love of thrift-store clothes and an altogether too-sunny disposition, Claire proceeds to turn Ash's carefully constructed life upside down.

While every part of Ash's life seems to be disrupted, she must protect a carefully hidden secret: She has discovered a magical jar in her basement. It's a wish jar, full of someone's old wishes—and it has the power to send her back in time and provide a window into another friendship between two girls. Discovering her own connection to the girls' story shows Ash that her life is full of surprises and friends she never saw coming.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Harper’s voice-driven story glows with slow-growing optimism and moments of magic. Ashley’s summer is off to a rough start when she learns that her best friend Lucy is moving away; besides the all-around awfulness of losing a friend, Ashley relies on Lucy because of her own face blindness, an inability to recognize people. Then Lucy’s mother announces that Claire, the seven-year-old daughter of a family friend, will be staying with them for a while. Upset at these turns of events (as well as Lucy’s temporary departure for summer camp), Ashley is shocked to discover a jar full of paper wishes in the basement, which magically allows her to be an invisible witness to the changing friendship between two unfamiliar girls. In between fulfilling Claire’s various demands for their days together, Ashley pieces together the girls’ story, though readers may guess the connection long before she does. Still, Ashley’s colorful interior life and growing self-confidence, along with dashes of romance and mystery, combine elegantly in this story about growing up and the way friendships evolve. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A pleasing mystery a la Rebecca Stead...middle-grade girls will particularly warm to Ashley’s story and find themselves wishing for a similarly magical summer.”
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Ashley is in a funk. Just as middle school is out for the summer, her best friend, Lucy informs her that she will be moving away. And, to top it off, Lucy is leaving for summer camp soon. Ashley will be joining her in a month but in the meantime, her mother has “arranged” for Ashley to babysit seven-year-old Claire. Although Ashley is sympathetic to Claire’s family drama, she was not planning on entertaining a talkative seven-year-old for a month to add to her misery. Claire moves in with Ashley’s family and into Ashley’s room during a period when her father is working out of town forcing Ashley to take occasional refuge in her basement just to get some peace and quiet. While in the basement, she discovers a jar of balled up pieces of paper labeled “wishes.” When Ashley reads one of the wishes she is magically transported to another time and place and scenes that feature two girls about her age. Told in Ashley’s own narrative, this lively, fast-paced tale follows Ashley’s interactions with friends and family as she negotiates a disappointing summer including the resolution of her time travel, her friendship with best friend Lucy and just handling life’s ups and downs. It’s an interesting adventure perfect for summer reading. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.; Ages 9 to 13.
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Juidth Hayn
Ashley expects a disastrous summer since her best friend, Lucy, is off to summer camp and then moving to Oregon. To top it off, motherless seven-year-old Claire arrives, and Ash is responsible for addressing the brash visitor’s every wish and demand. In six weeks, Ashley will join Lucy at camp, but a lot can happen in a short amount of time, especially when she finds an old jar labeled, “Wishes,” in the family’s junk-filled basement. The tightly wrapped balls of paper, each of which contains a pithy one-liner, draw Ashley into a strange world mired in the past. While keeping tabs on Claire, Ash is pulled backwards in time by the phrases, as she is captured by the mystery involving two young girls. Who are they, and is there a tie between present and past? Complicating Ashley’s life is her prosopagnosia, the inability to remember and recognize faces, along with a fear of change and surprises. Claire’s bouncy and extroverted personality leads the two unlikely pals into new relationships, young and old, that help Ash accept the changes around her. The characters, including classmate Sam, help her grow and learn about herself; however, Ashley cannot recognize Sam, so she shuns contact until Claire facilitates the connection. Ashley is a likeable, imaginative heroine, and middle school girls will root for her as she unravels the mystery of the wishes and the tale they tell. Reviewer: Juidth Hayn; Ages 11 to 14.
Kirkus Reviews
Bracing for a lonely summer, Ash is surprised when the little girl she babysits and some unexpected time travel open new horizons. Ash begins her summer knowing her best friend's moving to Oregon, leaving her to cope alone with prosopagnosia, a condition that prevents her from recognizing faces. Additionally, her mother expects her to babysit a 7-year-old named Claire for three weeks. An enthusiastic, high-maintenance child whose mother recently died after abandoning her family, Claire's armed with a wish list of things she wants to do, and Ash finds herself unwillingly escorting Claire to thrift shops and senior center events where she meets new people. Though she's busy with Claire, Ash becomes distracted after finding a jar labeled "wishes" in the basement that transports her into the lives of two girls living when her parents were young. As she becomes obsessed with the past, Ash gradually realizes there's a relevant connection to her own life. Ash tells her summer saga in a humorous, chatty, somewhat-vulnerable voice, and although the time-travel thread initially feels disconnected from the plotline, the past and present eventually sync. Spot art line drawings feature chapter elements. Amusing, heartfelt time travel about friends and wishes—old and new. (Fantasy. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Ashley is ready for the worst summer of her life. Her best friend, Lucy, is going to camp and then moving away forever and Ashley's mom has roped her into babysitting for a friend's daughter for three weeks before she can meet Lucy at camp. While she is wallowing in her sadness, Ashley stumbles upon a magic jar full of wishes among her mom's junk. Soon after seven-year-old Claire arrives—full of enthusiasm, energy, and surprises. She has a long list of things that she wants to do while she is visiting. But all Ashley can think about is her wish jar, reading her new P. J. Walker novel, and getting through the next three weeks so that she can finally spend time with Lucy. Ashley decides that Claire is "like the golden retriever of people—everyone loves her." And, although her enthusiasm is exhausting, Claire turns out to be exactly what Ash needs to get through all the upheaval of the summer. Harper connects people and events seamlessly throughout the story, keeping readers engaged to the end. It will be easy for kids to empathize with Claire as she comes to terms with the loss of her mom, and with Ashley, as she grapples with all of the changes in her life. Fans of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me (Random, 2009) and E. L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (S. & S., 1967) will enjoy this refreshing novel.—Annette Herbert, F. E. Smith Elementary School, Cortland, NY

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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Meet the Author

Charise Mericle Harper is the author of the Just Grace and Fashion Kitty series and picture books such as Cupcake, Mimi and Lulu, and If Waffles Were Like Boys. She lives with her family in Westchester, New York.

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Dreamer, Wisher, Liar 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Soooo good omg read it now people
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book