Wish-fulfillment can be hard work.
On her first assignment as a Granter, a cobalt-blue–haired fairy finds the human world far more complicated than she expected. Granting a wish requires determination and a little help from friends. Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets is compulsively well-prepared, but book-learning in the Haven is not the same as action in the real, human world. There are unexpected dangers: airplanes, territorial geese, a broom, a hawk, a truck. And then there’s the difficult choice. With the dwindling amount of magic available to them, generations of fairies have decreed that an impartial lottery is the fairest way to distribute the number of fulfilled wishes, but is it? Is a boy’s longing for his father’s return more important than a girl’s wish for a purple bike to replace her stolen one? Anderson provides wonderfully convincing details about his imagined “world of waning wonder,” where fairies struggle to keep magic alive. He creates appealing characters, especially careful Ophelia, her scruffy, pink-haired fairy friend, an abandoned but loving dog she names Sam, and the boy, Gabe Morales, sadly longing for his father, serving in Iraq. (Only his name suggests Latinx heritage.) The skillful tale-telling includes satisfying alliteration. “Honor no wish that would lead to misery, misfortune, or malefaction” is the fairies’ first rule of wish-granting.
A faithful dog, a good friend, and pinch of magic work wonders in this modern fairy tale. (Fantasy. 9-12)