The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas. Aladdin, 2010.
Sixth-grader Griffin Penshine loves to make wishes! That is until she is unwittingly tricked by an old woman into accepting a box of “lucky” pennies. The pennies actually belong to people who made wishes on them and threw them into a fountain. The old woman stole the pennies from the fountain, and, with them, the wishes, which makes her a “Wish Stealer”. In order to break the “Wish Stealer” curse that the woman put on her, Griffin must somehow either return the pennies to their owners or to others in need of the same wishes. This leads her on many adventures, including using alchemy for a science project, giving a puppy to an elderly lady, and becoming a bass guitarist in a rock band.
The Wish Stealers is a quick and cute read, perfect for upper elementary and middle school students. There is just enough of a scary element in the book to keep the reader on the edge of his seat without becoming gory or violent. Griffin’s last name, “Penshine” was a smart choice. It is a play on shiny pennies, which is the focus of the book; it also happens to be the color of Griffin’s hair! Each chapter in the book ends with a quote, which serves to tie the story together. One drawback of the plot is the stereotyping of the mean girls in the story; as usual, they are rich, spoiled, and beautiful. Griffin, on the other hand, is a likeable character and is determined to do what is right. She has a wonderful relationship with her grandmother; it is this relationship that adds a twist to the end of the story. Unfortunately, some of the scenes in the story are a little contrived, and the ending is too tidy. Despite its flaws, younger students will enjoy reading what Griffin has to go through in order to save her family and friends.
I recommend this book for upper elementary, middle school, and public libraries