A captivating story by debut author, Lisa Stringfellow. The fictional Caribbean island of St. Rita is the setting and the choices young Kela makes after finding a magical comb of wishes will wrap readers up in anxious anticipation for each unfolding scene.

Ever since her mother’s death, Kela feels every bit as broken as the shards of glass, known as “mermaid’s tears,” that sparkle on the Caribbean beaches of St. Rita. So when Kela and her friend Lissy stumble across an ancient-looking comb in a coral cave, with all she’s already lost, Kela can’t help but bring home her very own found treasure. 

Far away, deep in the cold ocean, the mermaid Ophidia can feel that her comb has been taken. And despite her hatred of all humans, her magic requires that she make a bargain: the comb in exchange for a wish.

But what Kela wants most is for her mother to be alive. And a wish that big will exact an even bigger price…


The third person narration stays with Kela for about three-fourths of the 36 chapters in A Comb of Wishes. The others are given to Ophidia the mermaid. Both go deep in the emotional struggle each character faces. Lives are at stake and the pacing of reveals is perfect.

I found St. Rita to be a fascinating locale for the plot. Full of tourists and Caribbean folklore, the tale doesn’t disappoint. Nor does the author’s notes about her family and the creation of A Comb of Wishes. Middle graders who love magical realism will have a new favorite here. I can’t wait to see what is next from this author.



  1. The subject of grief appears often in MG lit but in this story it is handled in a unique and heart tugging way.
  2. Books about wishes are always popular in my neck of the woods. Having another to highly recommend will open up a new area of the world not often found in MG—the beautiful Caribbean islands.
  3. The reality that what you find in protected areas is not always finder’s keepers. There are levels of archaeological rights one must follow.
  4. When you feel compassion for both Kela and the mermaid, you know the author has done a great job with the enticing character ARCs.
  5. Kela makes jewelry out of the sea glass and rocks. Her passion is not just a sidelight but one deeply rooted into the outcome of the story.


  • My favorite book in elementary school was Mysteries, Monsters, and Untold Secrets. I picked it up at a school book fair. I read it from cover to cover many times, fascinated by stories about The Loch Ness Monster, the “lost” colony at Roanoke, and the ghost ship Mary Celeste.​
  • What was my second favorite book in elementary school? Charlotte’s Web, of course. I still have a copy given to me by my third grade teacher.
  • When I was a junior in high school, I challenged myself to read 100 books in a year… and I did!

I write middle grade fiction and have a not-so-secret fondness for fantasy with a dark twist…

(For more fun facts and info about Lisa visit her author web site).


I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinions. Comments are welcome below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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8 Responses to A COMB OF WISHES

  1. I’ve read a couple of reviews of this book recently, and it sounds really good, Added to my TBR!

  2. So glad you enjoyed Lisa’s book so much. I have it on reserve at the library and can’t wait for it to come in.

  3. msyingling says:

    I love the facts about the author! Comb of Wishes was an interesting book, and definitely will make your readers who like wishes happy.

  4. I have visited so many of the Caribbean Islands that I would enjoy reading a novel set there. But this sounds like a very appealing story. I didn’t know that things you find in a protected area must be reported and aren’t for the taking. Adds to the intrigue. Interesting facts about the author and her choice of books in her youth.

  5. Andrea Mack says:

    Sounds intriguing! I’ll have to look for it!

  6. carolbaldwin says:

    This looks like a really neat book. I’ll check into it!

  7. This sounds like a unique take on wish stories, and this sounds like a good one. I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the review.

  8. Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a really compelling story—Kela and Ophidia both sound like really compelling characters, and the spin on wish stories seems quite intriguing! And the setting is definitely nice to see too. (Also, the author facts are fun, but 100 books seems a teeny bit less impressive when Karen Yingling regularly octuples that!) Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Greg!

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