The Wish

The Wish

by Gail Carson Levine


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Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. So when an old lady on the subway offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity — in fact, she asks to be the most popular kid at school.

Suddenly, Wilma has more friends than she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything is great, until she realizes there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060759117
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/03/2005
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 772,151
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I once read that in some primitive tribe or other, they punished people by ignoring them. If you were being punished, nobody would talk to you. They'd look through you, they'd pretend you didn't exist. It wouldn't take long for this treatment to kill you. I mean, you'd actually die. Dead.

I didn't die, but for the first nine months of eighth grade I almost wished I had. Before then, I had not one but two best friends, Tracy and Freda. We'd been friends since kindergarten. But then Tracy moved to Connecticut, and Freda's parents got mad at Claverford. They said the teachers weren't developmentally aware enough. They sent Freda to a boarding school even though we had only one more year to go before high school.

At first I wasn't worried. I figured I'd make more friends at school. But it turned out making new friends wasn't easy–or even possible. Cliques had already been established, and I couldn't break in. Or maybe I didn't have the knack of showing people that I was okay. Fun. Nice, even.

At first, the other kids weren't out-and-out mean. They let me sit with them at lunch–but nobody talked to me. If I had to call somebody about homework, whoever it was would answer my questions–the same way you take messages for your parents–bored, but vaguely polite.

Then, in November, it got worse. Much worse. Ms. Hannah, my teacher for homeroom and language arts, told us to write two pages on our "secret lives."

"This is the creative in creative writing, children." Ms. Hannah was the only teacher who still called us"children." She also pronounced "blue" as b-l-y-e-w.

I wrote seven pages pretending to be my Airedale, Reggie. I could have written a hundred pages. I love animals, I love dogs, and I especially love Reggie.

I wrote about dog happiness, about what dog dreams were like, about how it felt to chase a squirrel, about my favorite flavor of dog biscuit, and about my feud with the German shepherd who lived across the hall. But that's not what got me in trouble when Ms. Hannah read my report out loud.

She started out by saying she wanted us to hear the best example of "point of view" she'd ever come across in a student's writing. I relaxed in my chair, waiting to hear yet another piece by Daphne, who was adored by Ms. Hannah and avoided by everyone on our side of the teacher's desk.

"Wilma is to be congratulated on her exemplary effort, which you shall now hear."

I wished I could vaporize and reassemble in a middle school in Moscow. If I had thought anyone else would hear my paper, I would have written the kind of thing everybody else wrote, like my secret life as a music video star, or my secret life as a pro basketball player.

The awful part began halfway down the first page, when Ms. Hannah read, "'I hear the elevator door open. It is my beloved Wilma coming home from school.'" And then–even worse–"'My beloved Wilma is asleep. From the foot of the bed, I watch her. She is so beautiful.'"

Everybody was laughing so hard that Ms. Hannah had to wait five minutes before she could continue. Was she going to read all seven pages? I could survive what she'd read so far, but not if she kept going.

She kept going. "'I see Celeste, the dalmatian who is my best friend after my beloved Wilma. She is peeing. I rush to smell her pee. Celeste had chicken for dinner. I lift my leg over her pee.'"

The class howled. Timothy stamped his feet. BeeBee moaned that she had to pee. They all looked at me and looked away again laughing harder than ever. It took Ms. Hannah five more minutes to get them to quiet down. I wished they never would. I knew what came next.

"'Then I sniff her anus. It smells rich and full of Celeste.'"

After that, Ms. Hannah lost control of the class.

From that day on nobody talked to me, except for the occasional woof or snuffling noise as I walked through the halls–and that wasn't conversation. I was left strictly alone, with only three exceptions.

The first exception was Jared, who sat next to me in language arts. He told me he liked my secret life. He said it made him understand dogs better than he had before. I was glad to hear it, but I wasn't interested in Jared Fein, whose eyebrows met over his nose, forming one long continuous eyebrow.

The second exception was Ardis Lundy, the most popular girl at Claverford. She had Ms. Hannah for sixth period, and Ms. Hannah had been kind enough to read my secret life there, too.

"I'm glad she didn't read mine," Ardis told me. "I pretended I was my grandmother, raising my mother. It was pretty personal." And she smiled at me.

After that, she'd smile and wave when she saw me, but then again, she smiled and waved to everybody.

The third exception was Suzanne Russo. Razor Mouth Suzanne Russo. From then on she'd call me "beloved Wilma," or ask me what I'd sniffed lately or if there were any good fire hydrants near school. And no matter what else she said, she'd always drag the word "anus" in somehow.

Then, two weeks after The Reading, I got a lucky break. Mr. Pashkin, our communications teacher, paired everyone off for debates, and he paired me with BeeBee Molzen, who was very popular. Our topic was human cloning, and we were supposed to work together on our arguments before we debated in front of everybody. I thought this could be my chance to make a new friend, and then to make even more friends if BeeBee brought me into her clique.

The Wish. Copyright © by Gail Levine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.


The old lady looked wobbly and feeble. The minute our subway train started, she was going to keel over. Then she’d be a sick passenger, and the train would stop while we waited for an ambulance, and I’d be late for school.

Plus she looked terrified. I gave her my seat. I helped her into it.

"Thank you, dear. You have done me a good turn." She didn’t have an old lady’s voice. Her tones were as round and juicy as an anchorwoman’s. "And you know what they say about good turns—"

"That’s okay." Was she going to tip me? "I don’t want anything."

"Yes, you do, Wilma. You want many things. I will give you one."

How did she know my name?

The train stopped at Twenty-eighth Street. I thought about going to another car, but I was getting off at the next stop.

"What is your wish?" she asked. The train started moving again. "I know whether you tell me or not. But you ought to put it positively."

The train stopped. We were between stations. In the silence, the old lady continued, "It should not be, ‘I wish I weren’t always left out or picked on.’"

She knew. And now so did everybody in our car. I looked around. Only adults, thank goodness. The train got going again.

"I can make your wish come true. You will be a sought-after member of the in crowd. You will be a cool cat."

The train screeched into the Twenty-third Street station. My stop.

The doors opened. I stood half in, half out, keeping them open. I didn’t want to be just a member of the in crowd. I wanted more. "I want to be the most popular kid at Claverford," I blurted out. I figured I might as well go all the way with a wish nobody could grant.

She frowned. "Is it wise . . . ? All right, dear. Granted."

Customer Reviews

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Wish 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book this past summer and it was great. I kept wanting to turn the page and I could hardly put it down. 'The Wish' is about a teenage girl who wishes that she was the most popular girl in school but eventually learns that the people who matter in her life will like her for who she is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book was cool and Funny. I couldn't put it down. Some parts of the book were sort of odd though. If you like teen fantasy and romance. Then this book is definetly yours.
pinkfairytale More than 1 year ago
This story was a huge letdown. I read Ella Enchanted first and loved it! I followed it up with Fairest and enjoyed it as well. But this book... I mean really what happened to the sweet fairytale? The girl this story is about is in 8th grade and of course wants to be popular! She is a relatable character but her whole story is so strange. It is set in our time- which makes it even more weird. While on a bus ride our main character gives her seat to an elderly lady and in thanks the ederly lady tells her that she will grant one wish. Willima (the main character) wishes to be popular...and here begins the story. This book was nothing like Ella Enchanted so if you are looking for a similar story look elsewhere. There were quite a few things to watch out for in this book - In 8th grade this girl had no problem agreeing to meet a guy she likes for a kissing sesion. Her friends were a bit boy obsessed and each had boyfriends. I did NOT think it sounded right at all. For one because of the setting -moderen- and the whole wish thing... it just didn't work out for me. I know that middle schools are very much like the one featured in this story but is was just so silly to think of 8th graders being in love, going to dances, partying, and just generally acting inmature by trying to act mature and fit in. I hope I don't scare anyone away from this story. I read a few reviews before hand and others seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe the reason I didn't like this book is because I loved Ella Enchanted's sweet story and I like old fairy-tale settings to go along with a... well, a fairy-tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a intresting book I liked it a lot! Wilma's persanality is so much like mine! I Recommend it,thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is so lifelike because so many people try to fit in but can't so..... you know but in the end she should be happy because she got to know her "friends" personally(fears, life before popularity and more) as a kid (now I'm thirteen) I didn't fit in and people always made fun of me, but when I got to seventh grade people would talk about me but not as much and now in the eight grade I got a whole lot of friends, so this book means so much to me because I see it from my own personal view.
Tanna_L More than 1 year ago
In the beginning a girl named Wilma was going to school and then she let and old lady have her seat and the old lady offered her a wish and then she asked to be the most popular person at her school. and when she was at school e bunch of people started throwing notes at her and she thought tnhat some of them were wierd. I really liked this book it was awesome I hope you like it!!!
Morenabustamante More than 1 year ago
Wilma Sturtz is invisible and miserable at school. One day she meets an old lady on the Subway in New York. The old lady offers her a wish, Wilma immediately asks for popularity, she asks to be the most popular kid at school. Wilma an eight grader forgets that she will graduate in three weeks and her popularity will vanish. When her wish came true she has more friends that she can keep track of, forty dates to the Grad Night Dance, and a secret admirer writing her love poems. Everything was great, until she realizes that there's a loophole in her wish, and her time in the spotlight has almost run out. Wilma's wish has ended after they graduated. I like this Book, The Wish because it was very good because it talks about popularity and romance. I think everybody has the wish to be popular specially when you go to a new school and you don't know anybody and nobody wants to talk to you. Be Careful what you wish for.
feilunhai183 More than 1 year ago
I find it very fun to read, from the beginning to the very end. Very page turning. Recommended
fantasygirl11 More than 1 year ago
I read this and I thought it was pretty good. But if you're truly a good reader than you should be able to comprehend what she was going through. She had no friends and no one wanted to be friends with her. The only reason she wished to be popular is because she thought the lady was joking. But anyway this is a truly a good book that teaches you being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was really weird. She had really mean friends, and it was kind of a cliffhanger, like will her friends like her anymore? I mean, I was kind of hoping for one of Gail Carson Levine's instant classics, like Ella Enchanted or her princess books, but this one was really disappointing. It had a good idea, but the story was not great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wish is an amazing book. I think anyone who likes funny and romantic book this is the one you want!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wish is an awesome book about wilma Sturtz and it relates to a kids everyday life! It is like a true book. (except for the witch) But i recomend this book to anyone who likes to read! Thanks ! ~!Books Rule!~
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Wish is a heartstopper. I wanted to keep reading every page. If you enjoy fantasies, a little love, and big decisons we all must make, then you'll love this book. It was everything I was looking for in a book. GREAT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think it was awesome this is one of those books that you can read over and over it makes me really really happy she is like my best friend i love this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book...Gail Carson Levine certainly has a gift for telling the truth and putting it beautifully...This particular book tells about friendships: discovering them, losing them, fighting for them. Again, this was a wonderful book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book to tell realistic feelings toward popular and ordinary people. This book has to be read by anyone who has experienced these kinds of thoughts, which is everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
jmorrison on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
very interesting, a good but very real. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
fantasy, what happens when you arent careful in what you ask for
KP593 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
its a very mysteries book you just have to read it to understand it and really good so if you like mysteries them i would suggest this book to you.
t1bclasslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wilma¿s friends have moved, and she can¿t seem to make any new ones, so when she gets a wish, she wishes to be the most popular girl in school. She befriends the most popular girls, but also befriends the other unpopular kids. She finds out that she can be popular and be a good person, so that when she stops being popular by default, people still like her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When most people think of when they think "popular" is the mean blonde jerk girl who has fifteen boyfriends. (No offense to people with blonde hair, because I've known plenty of sweet blonde girls, it's just that I've noticed that 90% of mean girls in my life are blonde.) But popular really means that you're nice so lots of people like you as friends, they can rely on you to be a good person. The best popular people are the ones who aren't afraid to lose their popularity as long as they stay true to themselves. Never read the book, but from what I hear it sounds too teen romancey. I hate teen romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What does hashtag mean and awesone book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved all her books