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One True Wish

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About The Book

A dash of fairy magic illuminates this “heartwarming…lyrically told” (School Library Connection) middle grade novel about three friends confronting their deepest wishes from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Kate.

Phoebe is a wish-granting fairy who doesn’t believe in children. Birdie, Gem, and Van are sixth graders who don’t believe in fairies. But deep down, each of them has a wish.

Birdie and Gem have been best friends forever, but now things are changing, and Birdie doesn’t know why. Birdie feels left behind, while Gem feels she’s growing up too fast and no one understands what it’s like. Van is lonely, far from their friends in Ireland who never thought that being nonbinary was such a big deal.

When Phoebe crash-lands in the woods nearby, the three kids must race against the clock to restore the fairy’s powers and get her back home. They’ll have to summon a new kind of magic to save Phoebe and their friendships—the magic of their deepest, truest wishes.

Excerpt

Chapter One: Birdie ONE Birdie
Birdie Borovsky had been waiting for this day for years. But on the afternoon the fairy landed, practically in her best friend Gem’s front yard, Birdie didn’t even feel the quake. She was distracted by the scene unfolding in Gem’s kitchen.

“I WISH I’D NEVER BEEN BORN!”

Lately her best friend screamed. A lot. Sometimes out of nowhere.

“Gemima Cash, what an awful thing to say!” Mrs. Cash was an accountant and still in her work clothes, though she’d taken off her heels. “And over a piece of cantaloupe? You’ll have some, Birdie, won’t you?” She was holding out the cutting board, really not reading the room.

It wasn’t Mrs. Cash’s fault. All she’d done was slice some fruit on one of those cutting boards that looked like the cross section of a tree. The cutting boards in Birdie’s house were plastic and flimsy as a fingernail. They made everything taste like onions. Gem’s mom wasn’t anything like Birdie’s mom, which was one reason Birdie spent so much time at Gem’s house.

Birdie appreciated the effort Mrs. Cash took to stick a toothpick into the center of each cold cube of cantaloupe. Still, out of solidarity, there was no chance Birdie could accept. She was on thin ice with Gem already, simply for having mentioned she was starving, that she hadn’t hardly eaten lunch. Which was true. But it was the wrong thing to say. It made Gem look at Birdie like she was a real idiot, like anyone with one brain cell should know that the topic of lunch was forbidden.

To be honest, Birdie probably should have known.

No one understands me,” Gem fumed, even though Birdie was trying to do just that. For the whole second half of sixth grade, understanding Gem was a lot like algebra: the harder Birdie tried, the worse she did.

She knew it had started at lunch. She knew it had to do with Felix Howard. She knew—everyone knew—Felix Howard was the worst. What she didn’t know was how to help Gem feel better. Because the things that happened to Gem didn’t happen to Birdie.

Like: Felix Howard backing up on purpose in the cafeteria line and elbowing Gem in the boob. Then saying, loud enough for everyone to hear, that he was hungry for some melons. Birdie had felt her temperature rise, along with a few curse words she would have loved to sling at Felix. But then Birdie looked at Gem.

A weird thing about sixth grade was that there were moments when you didn’t recognize your best friend. A year ago, Gem would have punched Felix Howard. But a year ago, Gem didn’t have boobs.

Maybe boobs made all the difference. Birdie wouldn’t know.

Gem didn’t even look at Felix Howard. Even when he ended his taunt with one of his signature, thunderous, disgusting burps. She just walked past him with her tray and didn’t say a word about it, even to Birdie, the rest of lunch. When Birdie called Felix Howard a pig, Gem snapped at Birdie and said she didn’t want to talk about it. Worse, she’d turned away from Birdie, to Ava Rhodes at the other end of the table, and started talking about their history dioramas, due on Friday. It was like Gem just swallowed what had happened.

Right until the moment her mom put the cutting board of cantaloupe on the table.

“You used to love melon,” Mrs. Cash said. “Remember that honeydew sorbet I made last Fourth of July?”

Gem’s pencil tip snapped against her paper in the middle of her “Parts of a Whole” essay.

If Mrs. Cash had looked at her daughter then, she would have seen it: that moment just before the rowboat goes over the edge of the waterfall. She would have dumped the cantaloupe down the garbage disposal, no questions asked. She used to be good at stuff like that. She was one of those moms you felt was on a kid’s side. But she was halfway inside the refrigerator by then and muttering about expiration dates on yogurt.

Birdie closed the notebook where she’d been working on her comic for the final issue of the school newspaper. She readied herself for whatever would come.

“I HATE cantaloupe, and I HATE you!” Gem screamed. Then she flung her chair back and pushed the whole cutting board off the table, until there was cantaloupe everywhere, even in the dog bowl, and a pale pool of juice was oozing toward Mrs. Cash’s pedicure.

Gem bolted for the side door. She let it slam behind her.

She hadn’t taken Birdie with her.

Birdie wished Gem had bothered to look back, to say with her eyes, C’mon. I need you, my best friend. Instead the kitchen filled up with the awful quiet of Gem not being there.

Even though Mrs. Cash probably didn’t expect Birdie to stay and help clean up, Birdie still felt bad when she went running after Gem. She had to. That’s what best friends did.

But as she jogged out into the humid Texas afternoon, Birdie had a funny feeling that something wasn’t right. Something bigger than Gem’s mood. Something bigger even than Gem and Birdie’s friendship. Something in the air.

Something she’d forgotten she’d been waiting for.

About The Author

Photograph by Christina Hultquist

Lauren Kate is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of over ten novels, including the young adult paranormal romance series Fallen, which was made into a major motion picture. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and their Carolina dog. Visit her at LaurenKateBooks.net.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (April 23, 2024)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665910576
  • Grades: 5 and up
  • Ages: 10 - 99
  • Lexile ® 690L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
  • Fountas & Pinnell™ X These books have been officially leveled by using the F&P Text Level Gradient™ Leveling System

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Raves and Reviews

"Four tweens navigating personal troubles must help a disgraced fairy return to her realm in this lightly fantastical novel . . . Kate fittingly centers the four kids, thoughtfully developing each of their personalities and conflicts, and providing grounding realism to the fanciful, wish-granting premise."

Publishers Weekly

"In this heartwarming tale about friendship, fairies, and family, the story of Van, Birdie, and Gem is lyrically told. . . the characters are rich and carefully crafted . . . Recommended."

School Library Connection

"Told through alternating points of view and swiftly paced, the book homes in on understanding and acknowledging the real reasons why we want things. . . It steers clear of becoming a tired allegory about adolescence, instead thoughtfully focusing on navigating the challenges of changing bodies and relationships. . . A charming and engaging story in which friendship prevails."

Kirkus Reviews

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Junior Title

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