The Wishing Game

Books on Tape. May 2023. 10:38 hrs. ISBN 9780593740064. $95. F
Debut author Shaffer charms with this inventive literary escapade. Kindergarten aide Lucy Hart is grasping at straws. She needs more money to get her own place and buy a car, but working in a school and having a side hustle on Etsy isn’t cutting it. Lucy desperately wants to adopt seven-year-old Christopher, but no caseworker will even consider letting her foster him when she has roommates. Just when it appears that all hope is lost, celebrated children’s author Jack Masterson announces a competition that could make Lucy’s wishes come true. She is selected as one of four contestants competing on Clock Island, the famous setting of the children’s book series, and things seem to be looking up. In Jack’s books, kids almost always get their wishes granted, but Lucy is no longer a kid. Does she even have a chance? The audio is terrifically narrated by Rachel L. Jacobs, who imbues the story with tenderness, and Paul Boehmer, whose childlike glee strikes precisely the right tone.
VERDICT Whimsical, hopeful, and fun, perfect for fans of Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Shaffer is sure to gain a following after this stellar debut.
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