When an eighth grader's wish that his little brother had never been born actually comes true, he's dismayed by the implications. Alec's father expects him to excel at sports; his older sister excels at everything; and little brother Stevie gets the unquestioning affection that Alec himself feels he has lost. One afternoon while he's minding Stevie (under protest) at the mall, Alec has an encounter with a bag lady who gives him a talisman that grants him just the one wish that he imagines will solve his problems. Instead, he discovers that the rest of the family is radically changed without Stevie: they may be richer in possessions, but they're poorer in mutual regard and interaction. Fortunately, he's able to reverse his wish and live more contentedly ever after. It's a promising premise, and the depiction of a boy who is chronically exasperated with his little brother and insensitive to almost everyone else's feelings, yet touchingly considerate of a bag lady, rings painfully true. Koller takes on too many issues without dealing with them in any depth (e.g., overbusy, affluent parents; the homeless); still, amusing, though lightweight.