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Well Wished

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  50 reviews

One wish for a lifetime...

In the village of Bishop Mayne there is a magical Wishing Well where a person may make one wish in a lifetime. But the Well can create problems for those who use its power, for wishes often go wrong. It was just such a wish that took all the children in the town away. Only eleven-year-old Nuria, who lives with her grandfather up on the mountain,

Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published May 1st 1997)
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Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
"A coin for passage to your heart's desire. That is the first rule. One wish each lifetime; one cycle of the moon to repent and call it back. That is the second rule. And for the cycle of the moon, your lips are locked in this: To no one may you speak of your wish. To no one but to me, for your wish is my wish too. That is the third rule."

I almost overlooked this gem of a book, but as it happened, I was looking through books on my bookshelves in the classroom searching out fairy tales when I stu
Well Wished is lovely, like a fairytale. It's definitely pitched to a younger audience than Chime, though maybe not much younger than the audience for The Folk Keeper, but it's lovely anyway. I love the way it invokes other fairytales, other stories -- a bit of Heidi, I think, and The Snow Queen, and maybe even a touch of Diana Wynne Jones in the figure of the governess... But it all comes together into its own story. There are some gorgeous lines, and I love the background characters and basica ...more
Grades: 4 to 6 Genre: Fantasy
There is a magical wishing well in Nuria’s village. While it will grant the wishes of those who ask, it often seeks to twist the wish into something that the wisher doesn’t want. Because of a misspent wish, all the children in the village are gone except Nuria. Then one day a child returns to the village. Nuria is trilled to have a new friend, but Catty is bound to a wheel chair and wants Nuria to make a wish to fix the situation. Nuria then makes the wish and it is
The old adage "be careful what you wish for" comes true in this original body-swap fantasy that reads like a fairy tale. A magical wishing well twists the wisher's words to bring misfortune; can Nuria, used to getting her way, trick the well into giving her what she wants after her own wish goes awry?

Billingsley creates vivid complex and dramatic characters. Her lyrical storytelling is slightly old fashioned and reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen, though wordier.

The plot is a neat way for Bi
Be careful what you wish for, or as Stephen Sondheim says, "Wishes come true, not free." There's a wishing well in Nuria's village, where any person may make just one wish, but there's a catch: the wishes often go awry, and one has caused all of the children in the village to disappear, except Nuria, who lives outside the village with her grandfather. When one child, Catty, does come up, things start to happen, and Nuria has to figure out how to use her one wish. This is another imaginative, wel ...more
The paranormal events in this book make it deliciously spooky, and I loved the antagonistic nature of the wishing well. There was the lurking sense as you read that at any moment things could go terribly wrong. When the wishing well turns its animosity on our hero, the plucky Nuria, she plots and schemes against it, showing how clever and resourceful she can really be. But for me, the best part of the book is the treatment of the sometimes vain and conniving, but ultimately human Catty, Nuria's ...more
When three friends help themselves to coins from an old wishing well, they have no idea how stringent the terms of repayment will be, nor how creepy the spirit of the well will turn out to be.

Fanny Billingsley writes very nicely as usual and her flair for horror is well displayed here. It was a nice touch to have each child receive frightening power that enhanced his or her basic personality: the chatty girl babbles out the wisher's thoughts, the observant boy develops hideous warty little eyes
I struggled to get through this book. I found the characters were poorly written and unlikeable. The concept of the wishes was compelling, but the execution was not there.
Um no, I don't think so!
Lisa the Librarian
I find it interesting that we mortals seem to long for the magic wishes idea, but can never actually execute a wish properly, always realizing that we would have been better off if we had never made the wish at all.

Okay, so we don't really get magical wishes granted, but every story written (or told) about wishes has some way that the wisher messes up the wish and ends up wanting (wishing) their lives were back to the pre-wish problems. Well Wished is no exception. The perverse wishing well does
This had the potential to be something better, I think. I realize it's a kids' book but some of the concepts in it were of adult-level confusion (reversing the *effects* of a wish, not the wish, itself). I guess I just got bored with the sudden and forced-fake friendship between Nuria and Catty.

My favorite character, by far, was the dastardly well. I suspect some lawyer was cursed to be this one, doling out horrible consequences for bad phrasing, taking everything to its literal conclusion…oh, I
This is the second book I finished today that was somewhat of a head-scratcher for me. Maybe I need a break from reading for a while. Nah--that'll never happen! Well Wished was cute but I found myself CONFUSED a good bit of the time. And if I was CONFUSED, how did the 8-12-year-olds that this was meant for understand it? Or maybe it's just me. Nuria lives in the village of Bishop Mayne with her beloved grandfather, the Avy. The only thing missing in her life is a friend. Well, actually, except f ...more
Laura Ashley
I cannot count the number of times I have heard people say that we need more strong female protagonists and children's stories that challenge the reader. Well, here's our book. The main character is a little girl who's made a mistake. To put it right, she has to do some soul searching and also outsmart some powerful magic. This is a lovely fairy tale with complex lessons about love, friendship, loneliness, and insecurity.
I enjoyed this book on some level but I felt the characters were a bit strange. Nuria and Catty acted eleven going on seven most of the time. I liked the idea of the Well and how it rewarded greed or even misapplied wishes. I also liked the colorful language and the suspense. But overall it did not captivate me.
I'm a huge fan of Frannie Billingsley's, so I enjoyed reading this early work even though it doesn't have the depth or stunning language of her later novels, particularly CHIME. The seeds of her talent with words are evident, though, especially in her descriptions of her frozen, magical setting. The main character, Nuria, is an irrepressible delight.
Well, if Chime is anywhere nearly as good as this, I can understand why it was important to get it on the list. I liked the Heidi-like setting, the wishing well, the disappearance of the children of the town by wish, and the complicated interaction between Nuria and Catty. It's a good story, with lovely echos of other stories. Plus, a few surprise touches of its own.

Library copy.
Sep 12, 2012 Liz added it
Shelves: owned
It's hard to rate this because it was a children's story. I picked it up because I absolutely loved
Chime and had to find anything else by that author. It did have a few great lines though, example: The parlour clock chimed the hour. "Hush!" said Nuria. "Can't you even let a minute pass without counting it?"
And the characters were pretty charming - I also like the fact that I could tell it as a bed-time story from memory if I wanted to.
Don't mind's desc; they must have mixed up their books!

This story is pretty cliche, but the world and characters are unique. However, something about the writing didn't move me up until the very end of the book, which is why I only gave it 4 stars. Now I love the book, but I had to really force myself to get to a point that redeemed the rest of the story. Otherwise, all good! :)
Julie Bird
I just love this author's quirky characters and unusual writing style. A pleasure to read!
Liza Goldberg
The potential was there, but it just fell flat. Also, some of the description was confusing, since you couldn't tell who was speaking/being referred to (plot twist), which detracted from the story.
I have read and enjoyed Billingsly's other two books but I just couldn't get into this one. My preference for sympathetic characters is the strongest factor in my enjoyment of a story, and the characters in this book were not likable. I tried several times to read the story and have now given up. However, I'll still look forward to Billingsly's next book.
It wasn't a bad read, but I think it is better suited to a young girl than a 27-year-old man. :P I found the main character a bit irritating (again, I have never been a young girl) and the plot twists were somewhat simpler and more predictable than I like. But it was still a fairly fun little read.
This is a charming and playful middle grade fantasy. I wasn't thrilled to discover it was a body-swap story, but the details were so specific and well-rendered that I enjoyed it. I particularly appreciated the effervescent and sophisticated language, which really brought Nuria's world view to life.
This book kept me guessing, which I love! The characters were realistic is most ways, so the plot would take turns in line with their thinking. There's magic, sadness, friendship and betrayal, and the feeling of not fitting in or having anyone understand you. Recommended for 'tweens.
Didn't finish. I'd like to know what age group the author wrote this book for, as the writing was fairly sophisticated and yet the main character was annoyingly petty and childish. Nothing much happened, either. I'm not sure what age (if any) would find this to be a good read.
This book was amazing!!! I loved the ending and all word choice. "and looked away from her reflection in Catty's black mirror eyes." page 157. This book really makes you think about the way you say things. My favorite character is Nuria, because she makes life fun.
The more I read Billingsley, the more I love her prose. This book was satisfying start to finish. It's more on the young side of young adult, but the rules of YA still apply. The main character is endearing, and it's a great to follow her story.
I love, love, love this author! I think she only has 2 books out (this and The Folk Keeper), but I will be on the lookout for more from her in the future. The main character was so strong and wonderful, and it was such a magical story.
Shaniel Olsen
Feb 26, 2008 Shaniel Olsen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shaniel by: No one,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is a classic tale about being careful what you wish for. The young protagonist gets more than she bargained for when she tries to help her sick friend. This is a fast read with an interesting perspective of a young, confused child.
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While Billingsley's first novel, Well Wished (1997), was warmly received by critics, a year ago she was a virtual unknown within a publishing climate that regarded fantasy as a specialty genre. Today, her name is on the lips of booksellers and reviewers throughout the country.

Franny Billingsley was not always a writer. She graduated from Boston University law-school in 1979, and worked for 5 years
More about Franny Billingsley...
Chime The Folk Keeper Big Bad Bunny

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