Wishes Come True in Dreamy Novel About the Magic of

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The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

What’s it About?

Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel.

Have you ever wanted to live inside your favorite book?

To literally escape to another world is something most people can only wish for — but not Lucy Hart. Lucy gets the chance to dive head first into the world of her favorite childhood book series in Meg Shaffer’s debut adult novel, The Wishing Game (Ballantine Books). Shaffer masterfully transports readers to the imaginative Clock Island, where your deepest wish can come true — if you’re brave enough.

Make a Wish

Growing up, Lucy Hart loved nothing more than the Clock Island books. In a house where she felt unloved, Lucy could escape to the world of Clock Island and experience adventures as the sidekick to Master Mastermind.

As an adult, Lucy wants nothing more than to be the mother of Christopher, a 7-year-old foster child she tutors at school. This wish seems impossible though, given her financial difficulties, but the two of them share their love for the Clock Island books, where the wishes of brave children come true. And it seems Lucy’s wish is about to be granted when she receives a letter in the mail inviting her to the real Clock Island to once again meet the author, Jack Masterson, and compete to win the only copy of his newest long-awaited book.

On the island, Lucy stands against three other competitors (a doctor, a lawyer and a bookstore owner). Jack views all four as his own children, and though they are pitted against each other, friendships blossom between them. Meanwhile, a tender romance begins to bloom between Lucy and the world-weary artist Hugo Reese, the books’ illustrator. But Lucy must remain focused and compete with everything she has; if she loses, she fears she and Christopher will never get to be a family.

The stakes rise with each new game and riddle, until the contestants must face their fears if they stand a chance of winning. Lucy thought she knew what that was, but a surprise awaits her. Will she stand up to the challenge, or run away and lose everything?

The book takes an unexpected turn at the end, but don’t worry — this fairy tale has its happy ending.

Willy Wonka-esque

The Wishing Game is an elegant combination of light humor and drama. Shaffer keeps a light air about the book even as she dives deep into analyzing these complex characters and their darker pasts.

The relationships explored within the book are vast and encompassing. Lucy and Christopher’s relationship is tender and heartwarming, the unlikely beginning of a family. Lucy’s past relationships with her parents and older sister are strained, but while she feels deep resentment, she eventually faces a satisfying (and realistic) form of closure. And while Hugo may appear dark and brooding, his experiences with loss have not left him any less the romantic artist deep down.

Jack in particular is a delightful character, and it was touching to watch his development. His jovial whimsy and knack for games and riddles are reminiscent of Willy Wonka or the Mad Hatter, but there’s more of a melancholic air around Jack that gives him an extra layer of depth. Readers will find themselves fascinated by his riddles, and as more of his past is revealed, find themselves falling more in love with this complex character.

The Wishing Game is perfect for anyone who’s experienced the joy and magic of reading, and understands the power of wishes. From the One O’Clock Picnic Spot to the Nine O’Clock Dock, Shaffer transports readers to the imaginative world of Clock Island, where adults can once again see through a child’s eyes —glimpsing the world not as it is, but as they wish it could be.


About Meg Shaffer:

Meg Shaffer is a part-time creative writing instructor and a full-time MFA candidate in TV and Screenwriting at Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri. Find her online or at home, watching Hitchcock films and/or writing Star Trek fan fiction when she should be doing her homework. She lives in a state of uncertainty. Meg — it’s short for Megalodon shark.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Publish Date: 5/30/2023

Genre: Fiction

Author: Meg Shaffer

Page Count: 304 pages

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN: 9780593598832

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