Ann M. Martin’s BETTER TO WISH begins with a brief prologue to introduce the main character. The year is 2022 and Abby Nichols is 100-years-old. The first chapter then takes you back to when she was 8 and the rest of the book chronicles the ups and downs of her life until she’s in her early twenties. The story is sad and sweet and will touch you deeply in many ways.
Each time I picked up the book, the author’s name – Ann M. Martin – stared at me and I kept asking myself Where have I come across her books before? The answer was in her bio located in the inside book jacket. Twenty years ago in my then sixth grade classroom, she was the most popular author on my shelves for most girls (and a few boys). She started the widely popular BABYSITTER”S CLUB series in addition to other popular novels and series.
BETTER TO WISH is a far different story and one I didn’t expect to enjoy. I’m glad I was proven wrong. It’s also the first in the Family Tree series that take you deeper into other generations of Abby’s family. The second book, THE LONG WAY HOME, came out in late 2013 and is about Abby’s daughter, DANA. The third, BEST KEPT SECRET, just released this year, details the beginning years of Abby’s granddaughter, Francie. Finally, next year the series will conclude with Abby’s great granddaughter taking center stage with HOME IS THE PLACE.
PUBLICATION DATE:2013 READING LEVEL: 4.7 WORD COUNT: 44,343
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): In 1930, Abby Nichols is eight, and can’t imagine what her future holds. The best things today would be having a dime for the fair, keeping her Pops from being angry, and saving up eighty-seven cents to surprise her little sister with a tea set for Christmas.
But Abby’s world is changing fast. Soon there will be new siblings to take care of, a new house to move into, and new friends to meet. But there will also be good-byes to say and hard choices to make. As Abby grows older, how will she decide what sort of life will fit her best?
In this incredible new series, bestselling author Ann M. Martin brings the past and the present together one girlhood at a time and shows readers the way a family grows.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT BETTER TO WISH
- The jolt you get with the realities of limited choices for young women graduating from high school 75 years ago. Marriage and a family was the expectation and a career in any prominent field was discouraged.
- The snapshot of life in the 1930’s. No computers, Facebook, or Twitter. Cell phones? You’d have to wait another 50 years for those to surface. Life may not have been easy during those years, but it seemed a lot simpler.
- The relationship of Abby with her father. I’m certainly considering him for my 2nd annual award for the jerkiest parent in books, but I also need to remind myself of the time period. Many were like Luther, bigoted and career driven and not wanting to talk about life’s problems.
- It’s a coming of age story in a time period unknown by today”s youth. They would be enriched by taking a texting break and reading this book.
- Any good series has you wanting to read more. This one did just that. Unfortunately the next three will have to take their place on the bottom of a overly large TBR list… but I will get to them eventually!
“She turned over carefully and thought about Marie and about Orrin and the UmHays, and about what it must feel like to be foreign or dark-skinned or out of work when all around you, people like Pop were watching with smug eyes.”
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.