To the casual passer-by, Madison, Nevada, is an ordinary, quiet town in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
But a closer look reveals that Madison is anything but ordinary. This dusty town on state Route 375 has a secret: every resident gets a wish on their 18th birthday—wishes that always come true. Many people wish for money, some wish for popularity, and others wish for good looks. However, most people, as 17-year-old Eldon Wilkes discovers, regret their wishes: it didn’t occur to his mother that she might one day fall out of love with Eldon’s father, who she wished would love her forever; there’s the man who wished away his desires for other men but didn’t realize wishing away the gay wouldn’t make him straight; and there’s the lonely man who accidentally wished for space and got exactly that. Eldon has less than a month to decide on his wish. Like everyone else, he gets one shot and will have to live with the rewards—or the consequences—for the rest of his life. Eldon’s first-person narration is interspersed with third-person accounts of various townspeople’s wishes, vignettes that offer poignant glimpses into the lives of those around Eldon and that shed light on Eldon’s own. Most of Madison’s residents are assumed white, but Eldon’s best friend has a Spanish surname.
Will inspire readers to explore the question: if you could have one wish, what would it be? (Fantasy. 14-18)