Mock Newbery 2023 discussion

The Seventh Wish
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Book of the Month - 2017 > July Read - The Seventh Wish

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message 1: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Jorgensen (sunnie) | 586 comments Mod
Kate Messner has written a fabulous tale, but is it distinguished?

message 2: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Harrison | 421 comments Kristen wrote: "Kate Messner has written a fabulous tale, but is it distinguished?"

Everything Kate Messner produces is distinguished.

message 3: by Erin (last edited Jul 01, 2016 07:26PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erin (erinelyse) | 60 comments I know I am absolutely going to be in the minority here; I didn't love this book, but hear me out - it's still distunguished. I think one of the hardest things to do in kid's lit is create a story that deals with serious issues, like addiction, and make it accessible to young readers through creative storytelling. Messner does this brilliantly. These stories are so needed - such a huge gap in kid's lit. But, I am a character driven reader, and I just found the characters a little flat.

Suzanne | 14 comments I just finished The Seventh Wish. I liked it, but I'm not sure that I bought how the sister became an addict. It just didn't seem like Messner did enough set-up of the change from all-American high schooler and addict.

message 5: by Czechgirl (last edited Jul 06, 2016 11:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Czechgirl | 214 comments This book was fabulous. Kate Messner could have not written it any more accurately than she did for the middlle-grade reader. You see, my family, was a family just like the protangonist, Charlie, in this book. My older son, a bright and straight-A student, got involved with drugs and the problem seemed to just arise overnight before our eyes. My younger son's life had to go on. My husband and I had to help our son. We learned we couldn't enable him. He had to learn to deal with it on his own. This is the message Messner gives in this story. Yes, the subject is a little "tough", but the book is not at all inappropriate for middle-grade readers to read. I don't understand why Messner was uninvited to school.

message 6: by Ana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ana Marlatt | 72 comments Just finished The Seventh Wish. I really liked how Messner combined the very tough reality of drug addiction with the fantasy of the wishing fish. The characters are believable and likable. It was interesting to see how Messner described how drug addiction affected the family, especially Charlie. I think this book could be a great read for a student experiencing similar things. I like what the School Library Journal wrote about the book: " a charming fantasy story with threads of several deep themes."

Barb | 35 comments I cannot say that I cared for this book. While well-written, the blend of fantasy and reality did not work for me. I'd struggled a bit with"Hour of the Bees" (also a fantasy/reality mix). It was a unique read, but not "distinguished".

message 8: by Kate (new)

Kate | 185 comments I love the detail that Kate Messner incorporates in The Seventh Wish. The descriptions of Irish dancing and ice fishing, which I didn't know about at all, plus the details of addiction treatment, which I have experienced, made the story captivating. I could not stop reading as the book pulled me in.

Susan Dickey | 1 comments In the previous discussion of Wolf Hollow, Trey posted a link to Messner's blog post about the unfortunate incident of her being disinvited to one school in Vermont and her response. Definitely worth reading:

I personally thought the addiction thread was the strongest and most effective in the book. It seemed so realistic (not to mention timely) and not over-the-top sensational.

message 10: by Laura (new) - added it

Laura Harrison | 421 comments Susan wrote: "In the previous discussion of Wolf Hollow, Trey posted a link to Messner's blog post about the unfortunate incident of her being disinvited to one school in Vermont and her response. Definitely wor..."

I feel terrible that Kate Messner was uninvited. There surely had to be a better way of handling this situation.

message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate | 185 comments Suzanne wrote: "I'm not sure I bought how the sister became an addict. It didn't seem like Messner did enough set-up of the change from all-American high schooler to addict."

Based on the experience in my family, this change was 100% believable. The change happened just that quickly and with just as little warning.

Pam  Page (httpwwwgoodreadscompagep) | 70 comments I agree. Working with parents of addicts it is very scary how quickly people become addicted and their lives change due to substance abuse. So much of this book resonated with the experiences I have had and others' stories.

message 13: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy | 2 comments All the Answers is a favorite among my students (me, a little meh.) The Seventh Wish is an IMPORTANT book for readers (dark themes, no pat endings, a believably immature narrator), but I would not call it distinguished literature. I hope this one ends up on state lists, though!

Becky | 31 comments I just finished The Seventh Wish last night. Wonderful. We've had quite a bit of drug addiction in our affluent school district and I found all the characters to be true and believable. Through Charlie and Leah, Messner painted a realistic picture of how these struggles can just appear out of the blue to our middle school kids, how addiction inadvertently hurts them deeply, and how this disease is a life long battle. While I will be buying this book for my middle school library, and will include it as a free read for my Mock Newbery Club as a way of promoting it, I don't think it will get a nod. It is a well written important story, but not distinguished enough for the medal.

I don't understand at all why Kate Messner was uninvited to speak based upon the content of this book. This book is real and important and nothing to be scared of. Kudos to Messner for dealing with topics that our kids need to have access to.

Shari | 86 comments I just finished THE SEVENTH WISH and was deeply moved. It is masterful how Messner tempered a devastating topic like drug addiction with lighter topics like a video of a dancing school mascot going virile. Using the wishing fish was brilliant! I'm sure that families dealing with drug addiction do a lot of wishing. It is truly a distinguished book and is on my top five list.

message 16: by Becky (new) - added it

Becky | 8 comments I did not know anything about The Seventh Wish before reading it, so it honestly surprised me. The first half is light, tackling the typical issues of a 5th grader. Then suddenly, it's taking on addiction. Not sure I bought in entirely. I did enjoy it, but it felt a little mixed up to me with the magical wish fish and all. Not sure it's a contender for me.

Carol M | 47 comments I think this book is realistic in the best sense of the word -even with the talking fish. The details of the hobbies, the school work, the friends, the not so friends were just right. This book is very well balanced in its details. I liked it; didn't love it. For me, it is not a medal winner.

message 18: by Donna (new)

Donna Preece | 21 comments I just finished reading SEVENTH WISH and I think it is an awesome book. I could see the addiction problem coming and I held my breath. I could feel Charlie's pain when the family had to put the older sister first and it made me cry. I loved the detail about the Irish dancing. That was one thing Charlie had to cling to and it served her well. I cannot begin to tell you how truly real the parts about addiction are. Kate Messner did her homework or she knows someone who has been through the addiction experience. I loved the wish fish for two reasons. First, the fish made Charlie think carefully about what to wish for. Second, families dealing with addiction need hope and something to wish for. This is yet another book that is on my list of possible Newbery winners. I cannot remember the last time my list was this long. So many good books this year.

Brenda | 57 comments I saw the on this book and the topic of addiction. I think it is a perfect way to help kids understand the devastation a family feels when a manner is suffering with addiction. The author's focus is on the shame, guilt, disappointment and loss a family deals with in trying to come to grips with the reality of addiction. The story can help kids who are in need of support when they are dealing with this disease. But it also helps all children gain empathy in understanding the wide variety of feelings experienced during such a traumatic event. Overall the story stays positive and

Brenda | 57 comments I accidentally posted before finishing, can I edit?

message 21: by Mary HD (last edited Sep 23, 2016 08:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mary HD (marymaclan) | 97 comments I feel most comfortable evaluating this as a problem or message novel, and on that basis, I think it is fairly successful.

Heroin addiction can indeed strike any family, and addiction can be terribly hard to overcome. The Seventh Wish does a gentle but effective job of presenting these disturbing truths to young readers - just at the age where they learn in school about the dangers of drugs. Students might find the threat of drug addiction harder to dismiss after reading this.

I found other aspects of the book rather weak. Charlie's character was a little too omniscient and articulate to be completely credible. Abby's path to addiction was barely addressed. The fantasy element was too obviously a literary device. The writing style was bland. (But I did enjoy learning about Irish dancing, ice fishing - and entomophagy.)

Magdalena | 25 comments It took me a while to get my hands on this book, so I only just read it a week or so ago. I was really looking forward to it because I loved Kate Messner's previous book. My expectations were so high that I was slightly disappointed in The Seventh Wish, but the more I think about it, the more strongly I feel that it really is a distinguished, well-written, and important book.

What I initially didn't like so much about The Seventh Wish is that something feels a little off about the pacing. The first couple chapters almost felt a little choppy to me, and there were some parts of the book that seemed to condense too much time into too little text. It detracted a little from the emotional depth of the story, for me. I also felt like the fantasy element was a bit too distinct from the rest of the book. Even though we see Charlie's wishes come true in the "real world", it doesn't play as large a role in the plot as I had expected, which makes the whole magic-fish device seem a bit unnecessary. I guess my point is that this book didn't persuade me to suspend my belief enough for the magic fish to make sense.

But all that being said, this book has an interesting storyline, memorable and believable characters, and a message for middle-grade readers that I think is best addressed through literature. It is my belief that books like this, that describe the harsh reality of difficult, "objectionable" problems, do young readers a great service because they gently and honestly introduce children to things that they may actually have to face at some point. Some adults may think that a middle-grade reader is too young to read about heroin addiction, but there are real kids out there who, like Charlie, have loved ones who have become addicted. Although I have no personal experience with illicit drugs, I have struggled with some similar issues. (Eating disorders are more similar to drug addiction than is immediately obvious, and I related to a lot of Abby's experience) So I feel justified in getting up on a soapbox to say that middle-grade kids SHOULD be reading books like these and having honest, open discussions with parents, teachers, and other respected adults about the consequences of poor life choices, what can be done to avoid them, and what can be done to help and to cope when a loved one has problems.

To make a long ramble short, I really like this book both as a work of fiction and as an object lesson. But the Newbery medal? I think there are a few better options.

Reving | 106 comments I loved this book. I really did.

message 24: by Kate (new)

Kate | 185 comments Reving wrote: "...there have been SO many good books this year!"
This is certainly true, but The Seventh Wish is still my favorite.

message 25: by Kate (new)

Kate | 185 comments Reving wrote: "...there have been SO many good books this year!"
This is certainly true, but The Seventh Wish is still my favorite.

Reving | 106 comments Last week I had the horrific task (though a privilege) to officiate at the funeral (I like to refer to them as Witness to the Resurrection) of my brother's childhood friend. He was 41 and he died of a heroin overdose, leaving behind a beautiful daughter and a heartbroken group of family and friends. I guess I must have been living under a rock. My cousin runs an ambulance in our middle-class town and in the last two weeks there have been 3 DOA overdoses, heroin at the root of them all.
I think that made this book jump up to number 2 on my list- first is still Towers Falling, but I guess I just thought (naively) that heroin wasn't "that much of a problem."
But the more I thought about this book and Charlie's sister and how REAL all of this was, it made me have a new appreciation for it. Even as my foolish innocence was lost.

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