Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant
|Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A very engaging thriller for anyone young-teenaged and up, with a gang of teens summoning a witch's murderous abilities, with lots of awkward consequences.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Puffin Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Rural Germany, in modern times. Steffi and her five friends lark about in a deserted building to summon a witch and get her to kill a local celebrity - who does indeed die. When a repeat attempt gifts a decent amount of cash to Steffi it becomes clear she is alone in having her wishes granted. So what will happen when she wishes for the town hunk - hasn't Steffi heard to be careful what you wish for? But how on earth can things get so bad she feels her story deserves *that* title?
It's very evident how little we see the friends in description - nothing more than height and hair colour, generally, but in the skilled hands of Helen Grant they are complete characters - Steffi especially. Her moods and the plot are based around the stifling insularity of life as a baker's daughter - and heiress-to-be - in a small town. And the fact everything about her personality comes across expertly and realistically adds weight to the story and all the various intrusions in it caused by the witch character doling out what is ordered.
Grant is expert in many regards throughout these pages. Even when the chilling aspects of the fair witch project are highlighted, the pace can suddenly change to create a very different mood. Whether we see Steffi's relationships and humdrum life or whether we get given the willies from something, we're rapt. Brilliant cliffhangers aren't there as regularly as some authors would have them, but they're there often enough and we don't want for readability.
This has some themes, darkness and vocab to nudge it beyond a 11+ audience to that slightly older - and far beyond. From the virtuoso use of a cherry upwards this certainly has a quality to make it very successful entertainment for adults too. It's gripping, spooky while still believable, meaning it is a book from the top drawer.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wish Me Dead by Helen Grant at Amazon.com.
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