The Wishing Game: A Novel (Hardcover)
Lucy Hart, a twenty-something broke teacher assistant in California, has only one wish: to adopt Christopher, the young orphan obsessed with sharks she tutors after school. Turns out you can't live with 3 roommates and also adopt a child, as Christopher's caseworker regretfully informs her. But Lucy and Christopher's fortunes might change when Lucy gets a mysterious invitation from her favorite author, the reclusive Jack Masterson, writer of the beloved Clock Island children's series. Famous for his riddles and puzzles, Jack is offering a life-changing prize to 4 contestants - but in order to win, they will have to be very clever and very brave.
The Wishing Game is proof that just because adult life is full of harsh realities, that doesn't mean you can't embrace the whimsy and bravery of the stories we all loved as children.
— From Juicy June Staff Picks
Years ago, a reclusive mega-bestselling children’s author quit writing under mysterious circumstances. Suddenly he resurfaces with a brand-new book and a one-of-a-kind competition, offering a prize that will change the winner’s life in this absorbing and whimsical novel.
“Clever and hopeful . . . a love letter to reading and the power that childhood stories have over us long after we've grown up.”—V. E. Schwab, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Make a wish. . . .
Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.
But be careful what you wish for. . . .
Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.
For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.
. . . You might just get it.
About the Author
Meg Shaffer is a part-time creative writing instructor and a full-time MFA candidate in TV and Screenwriting at Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri. Find her online or at home, watching Hitchcock films and/or writing Star Trek fan fiction when she should be doing her homework.
“Meg Shaffer’s beautiful novel is part Willy Wonka, part magical realism, and wholly moving. It broke my heart and patched it over and reminded me that even as an adult, if you look hard enough, you can find the child still inside you.”—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling co-author of Mad Honey
“Our list of must-read fiction books wouldn’t be complete without a novel that reminds readers of the power books hold between their pages. Meg Shaffer’s The Wishing Game may not contain any magic—this is a whimsical tale, but it’s grounded in reality—yet there’s something magical about the book.”—Reader’s Digest, in “Best Fiction Books of 2023”
“A heartwarming, page-turning story of found family, love triumphing over indifference, and the world-changing power of a good book.”—Melissa Albert, New York Times bestselling author of The Hazel Wood
“A dreamy, inventive novel about how books can not only change lives but save them too. Full of the power of imagination, it’s one of my favorite books of the year.”—Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Other Birds
“A magical ode to storytelling, imagination, and the mystery of the creative life . . . Wildly imaginative, clever, and inspiring, The Wishing Game is for anyone who has found light in a story just when they need it.”—Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Book of Flora Lea
“Meg Shaffer’s debut establishes her as one of the best. The Wishing Game sees the secret child hidden inside all of us, and it takes us on the thrilling, magical journey we all long for—where we might end up with everything we want but only if we risk it all.”—Gwenda Bond, New York Times bestselling author of Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
“A work by turns clever, dark, and hopeful, Shaffer’s debut is a love letter to reading and the power childhood stories have over us long after we’ve grown up.”—V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
“Shaffer blends tragedy and triumph in a whimsical and gratifying debut about what makes a family. This is wish fulfillment in the best way.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A meditation on the power of hope when all else seems lost.”—Kirkus Reviews