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The Wish House

3.15  ·  Rating Details ·  604 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
First love, first sex, first death - a chilling, thrilling teenage novel from a best-selling writer. shocked and fascinated to meet the tenants of the historic Wish House. Jay Dalton is a well-known artist, and his large, bohemian family - casually stripping naked on the beach, smoking dope, ignoring convention - seem astonishingly glamorous. Richard falls under the spell ...more
Published March 4th 2005 by Young Picador (first published January 1st 2005)
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Oct 03, 2008 CJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I would have enjoyed this book even more if there had been illustrations to go with the gallery descriptions.
May 16, 2008 Bridgid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Although it was published for teens it just feels like an adult title. I did enjoy the atmospheric setting. Even though the themes suited for YA audience, something about the time frame, pacing, and characters' voice felt more mature than most teen titles and Rees' other books (which I loved!) I'd be curious to see teen reviews.
"The Wish House" is one of those coming of age stories that will either be a hit or a miss with its readers. I usually love summer themed, coming of age stories where the character grows in some manner during his or her experiences in a place outside of their usual dwellings, but this one left me wanting more than what it provided.

The story takes place in the 1970s. 15-year-old Richard spends the summer with his family in South Wales near an interesting dwelling called "The Wish House." What he
Splash Of Our Worlds *Yiota*
This is the book that made me fall in love with the idea of bohemian lifestyle. Placed on the later 70's this book travels you in a world so much different than ours without the technical achievements that involve our world.

It is summer and our main character, a 15-year-old boy named Richard goes on family vacation on South Wales. It's the place that he and his family going on vacation for several years. But this time something changed. In a big house no far from where his staying is leaving a f
Jun 11, 2009 alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review: Every summer, as far back as he can remember, Richard's family has brought their camper to the Welsh countryside.

It's there that his friend Dylan and him roam the woods as unsupervised as a kid can get.

No parents, no adults.

This summer though, Richard is left alone, abandoned by Dylan.

It is now, that Richard goes back to "The Wish House".

A place that Dylan and him discovered some years ago.

But now, he finds it to be occupied instead of abandoned.

The Dalton family as come back for their h
Apr 12, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
This is an interesting book, but not really a 'young adult' title. TV in the 1970s seems to have been full of such stories - ingénue encounters sophisticated/bohemian/depraved family and is taught all sorts of bittersweet lessons - and you could say that that plotline is a staple of English fiction from Brideshead Revisited to the Line (or Loin) of Beauty. Here we get it in its Andrea Newman, watered-down Iris Murdoch guise, with a splash of Alan Garner's The Owl Service and a few Angela Carter- ...more
Nimue Brown
Jul 29, 2012 Nimue Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gothic, compelling, this is the sort of YA fiction that is entirely accessible to older readers. In fact, I’d suggest it’s not suitable for the youngest YA readers as the plot revolves around the sex life of the central character.
It’s a thing I keep running into – in erotica, authors do not dare have characters under the age of eighteen. (Age of consent in the USA). In the UK, if you’re writing something a bit more literary, then underage sex isn’t merely acceptable, it seems almost to be an ess
Rebecca McNutt
Apr 12, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it
The Wish House was a lot like reading a much less humorous version of Running with Scissors and much more interesting, though rather disturbing. Taking place in the swinging seventies, it follows a teenage boy who spends the summer modelling (for what would be considered by most to be pornographic art), in a house where some very eccentric people reside. Among them are an exotic hippie-like young girl about his age and her equally otherworldly mother.

I really liked this book, but I wish the plo
Atmospheric is certainly the word for this one. Indeed, there is almost nothing but atmosphere here. I kept waiting for something to happen, something to warrant the lengthy descriptions and extreme attention to the most minute details of scenery, but nada. The descriptions are beautiful, poetic and extremely rich in detail, but I felt that it dragged at points. The story was interesting, it took me a minute to get into it, told from the present and flashing back to the 70s when our protagonist ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
I found this book highly captivating. It grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I know I'll be thinking about the themes and emotions it brought to the surface for a long time. It's harsh, slightly tragic, real, scary, beautiful and somewhat erotic all at once. It doesn't seem like a children's book or even a young adult book to me at all though. I was rather surprised by this, given its' publisher imprint and the other books this author has written in the past. It's definitely more a book about you ...more
Molly Westemeyer
In this book you meet Richard, a teenager who is trying to fill his summer after he finds out that his childhood friend has grown and become a full time worker for his father. He meets a family that is beyond odd. The "father" is a painter that spends most of his time in his painting room. The "daughter"(of whom Richard falls head-over-heals for and is a sexual partner) toys him along in a game and webs of lies. The "mother" has many 'partners'. The "son" is portrayed as a lay back kind of guy ( ...more
PennsyLady (Bev)

Comment from the Celia Rees website
"Summer, 1976: Life-changing, heartbreaking, unforgettable.
Every year, Richard has taken the same holiday with his parents, in the same part of Wales, meeting up with the same people.
But, this summer, everything is about to change. "

A coming of age novel ....
Not your usual....we have druids, poisonous herbs, the recently inhabited wish house
and a family well beyond bohemian.
Fifteen year old Richard, vacationing in the area is drawn into the myster
Charlotte Phillips
Dec 16, 2011 Charlotte Phillips rated it did not like it
Dull, boring and uninteresting is what I would label this book. It just seemed lifeless and the plot seemed to me to hold no imagination or creativity what so ever to it. It just was not exciting nor engaging in any sort of way and I just wanted the book to come to an end, merely because I am too stubborn to put down a book I have started to read. Compared to her other novel that I have read, I was say this was a very immature novel. There just seemed to be no common ground or theme to it and th ...more
Dec 23, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 21, 2009 Taro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the world of artistry... this book tackles the significant role of art into one's wholeness. a story about a 15 year, Richard who used to camp with his friend every summer in an abandoned house- the wish house (because of the sound that created by the reverberation of the wind through the leaves of the trees, creating a sound of a "wisssshhhh")who later became occupied by a well-knowned painter and with his strange family which brings Richard into a unusual dimension. the book per se ...more
I loved the intro of each chapter with the description of a painting or drawing. I thought it gave each chapter an almost magical feel. It made the world, for me, so real it was almost tangible.

I thought this was a great story about first love and first loss. About the possessive struggle within yourself that you may experience with "your first".
There will never be another "first" like that and sometimes it's hard not to want to smother that person ~ want to hold them and constantly be near the
This was a strange book for me to read because the boy and girl were exactly my own age (i.e. I was also 16 in 1976) and yet I didn't seem to recognise them at all. It didn't remind me much of what it was like to be a teenager in the UK in the 1970s. It reminded me more of the Agatha Christie book Five Little Pigs published 1942. Still, that's one of my favourite Agatha Christies and I enjoyed this too. 3 and a half stars really.
I really like Celia Rees books however this one felt like nothing really happened in the whole thing or even more like nothing was ever fully explained why it had happened. I really didn't like Richard too much in it as he just seemed a little bit like he had never lived in the real world at all and it seemed to me a little unreal that he was so attracted to the dysfunctional daltons. However i still enjoyed reading and waiting to discover what might happen though it felt very anti-climatic in t ...more
Jul 03, 2013 Methos rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
è scritto bene, ma il resto è...vuoto. racconta una storia banale e contorta che in sè non è neanche una vera storia: un ragazzino di 15 anni che passa l'estate nella famiglia stramba di un artista e dove, alla fine, viene spontaneo domandarsi 'e quindi?' Se lo scopo della Rees era scrivere un libro di transizione dall'adolescenza all'età adulta in stile 'stand by me/Stagioni diverse' di King non c'è riuscita per nulla.
Kim Pocock
Jun 28, 2014 Kim Pocock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, combining both current storyline with the past. Smart that each chapter began with a specific piece of art and then the corresponding event was told. I read another review that said it would have been awesome to have a picture of the art piece along with the exhibition description, which I agree with wholeheartedly. As for plot, it was alright. Very 70's, free love, free drugs, artsy kinda feel. Mature YA.
Sep 10, 2015 Carmen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
The book was captivating in its descriptions of this eccentric family that Richard finds himself getting attached to. The descriptions of the paintings also add to its suspense as art and reality start to blend. I loved how it began, and how the story was looking back through the series of paintings. In the beginning, you are mystified by the secrets of the characters and the paintings, and at the end, you find a sense of relief-- the same that you imagine Richard feels as well.
Jan 21, 2013 Riss rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I expected more.

The bio seemed so enthrawling and the plot so intresting but the book fell short. I didnt feel connected to Richard, could care less about what happened to the characters and the writting was...not good.

I finished it, but because I had nothing else to read at the time. Maybe this book just wasn't for me.
Stephanie A.
A unique introduction & format (I also loved how it was set in the 70s), but more risque and therefore not as compelling as I expect from one of my favorite authors. Decent summer story, though, and some beautifully described scenery. I sort of want it to be made into a film just for the scenery.
Though I like the style that Celia Rees writes in, I did not like this novel much. The main character's point of view was fun to read from, but the plot seemed too "all over the place" for me to fully understand what was going on. I think the subject matter of the plot was not to my liking either.
Inspiring Rose
The art,the first leaps of love and the family portraits described all together in a strange but as well, charming way. The author is using great techniques to put us into the house where the main story takes place, while we just keep turning the pages.
intriguing interesting atmospheric, great characters, unique story lines. kept me interested and engaged from start to finish. listened to it on tape in between la and belmont. very colorful and engrossing.
Feb 06, 2010 Mindi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I should have read Witch Child instead, but this was what they had at my local branch. This main character is a young man who becomes obsessed with a girl who lives with her hippie parents. Contains some mature content. Most appropriate for upperclassmen.
Feb 11, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
La narrazione dell'autrice è piena di suspence e devo ammettere che ho aspettato tutto il tempo una grande rivelazione sulla vera natura di questa famiglia, mentre in realtà il finale è piuttosto piatto.In ogni caso, il romanzo è molto buono se visto come uno stimolante racconto di formazione.
Mar 22, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When I finished this audiobook, I said to myself "So what?" Not that interesting a story.
Richard falls in love with Cleo. Cleo is the daughter of a famous artist, who has arranged the whole affair to get Richard to be his muse and model. A coming of age story that falls flat.
Jessica Journey
Jun 17, 2012 Jessica Journey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on CD (the guy had a great accent). It was riveting, suspenseful in a subtle kind of way. Beautifully written.
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Celia Rees (born 1949) is an English author of children's literature, including some horror and fantasy books.

She was born in 1949 in Solihull, West Midlands but now lives in Leamington Spa with her husband and teenage daughter. Rees attended University of Warwick and earned a degree in History of Politics. After university, she taught English in Coventry secondary schools for seventeen years, dur
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“Artists often collect. Sometimes compulsively. They hang on to things. They don’t want to let go. Like paintings. I don’t want to part with them. Some I won’t sell at any price. I don’t even let people see ‘em. - We don’t like change, and we’re possesive. Maybe that’s why we do it. We want to hang on to things, hang on to the one time. We don’t want to let it go; we want to capture it and keep it forever. Or one person. How she was then. At that moment. That’s what I want - to stop time, to have that power.” 1 likes
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