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The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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“The Wishing Game” Review: Meg Shaffer crafts heartwarming read

Lynn Singh

Looking for a heartwarming yet heartbreaking story? A story with a rollercoaster of emotions? A book that walks the line between reality and magic? Try Meg Shaffer’s debut novel, “The Wishing Game.”

Lucy Hart’s first connection was with Jack Masterson’s Clock Island Books. This series was filled with magical adventures two siblings shared on the magical Clock Island, she desperately wished she could visit. These books are described in a way that makes the reader wish they were real. Growing up, Lucy doesn’t have the best home life and she finds solace in these stories. It’s incredibly sad to see her backstory. Despite the solace provided by these books, stories don’t change reality. 

She grows up and becomes a kindergarten teacher, where she meets her favorite person in the world. An adorable little boy in foster care named Christopher is looking for a permanent, loving home. Lucy can provide the love, but not the stability. She faces one issue: money. The reader cannot help but sympathize with her situation. The kindness and empathy she holds has so much appeal. She needs a miracle to earn enough money to adopt Christopher. 

But all of a sudden, that miracle manifests itself as an invitation to Clock Island. Jack Masterson, the author of the Clock Island series, has come out of retirement to write the last book. He is holding a competition to see who will win the story. If Lucy can win the competition and sell the book from the world-famous author, she will have enough money to finally keep Christopher forever. Jack Masterson is sly yet playful, sneaking puzzles into these adult’s lives, successfully bringing them childlike joy. On the island she faces a series of challenges alongside her competition. In a frenzy of friendships, relationships, riddles, and rhymes Lucy is truly swept up in the magic. This section of the book leads the reader trying to win the game right along with Lucy. The riddles integrated in the text are delightful to try and solve.

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Shaffer does an amazing job of looping the reader into these Clock Island books and leaves the reader wishing they were real. Every book mentioned fits into the story, a piece of every puzzle Jack Masterson throws at Lucy. 

 However, Shaffer’s character building is what truly seals the deal. She builds a main character that the reader can’t help but cheer for, a little boy so optimistic it breaks hearts, and a love interest so mysterious yet caring. Every character in this book is so well written and dimensional. It is truly mind boggling how much emotion is embedded in every character. Shaffer tells the story at her pace, leaving the reader yearning for more at the end of every chapter. Truly, the story is heartbreaking yet so uplifting, and is definitely worth the read. This novel is perfect at showing that excitement and joy is not just for children. It reminds us that everyone needs a little bit of adventure in their everyday life. Shaffer was also really good at adding a little of everything in this book. There was a little romance, a little adventure, and a little fantasy. This book rarely leaves the reader bored. If you find yourself a fan of this book, keep an eye out for Shaffer’s sophomore standalone novel, The Lost Story, coming out Jul 2024. 

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About the Contributor
Lynn Singh
Lynn Singh, Staff Writer/Media Team
Lynn is a staff photographer for Stargazer. She is a Sophomore, and this is their second year on staff. Lynn engages in student journalism because there is something special about capturing moments that bring students together.

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