The Wish List

by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer's The Wish List

Book review by Natasha Withers

Young Adult

Young Meg Finn is given a chance to turn her fate around when she backs out of a robbery attempt after her partner injures their victim, the elderly Lowrie McCall…unfortunately, she’s dead.

Meg Finn is not what anyone would call a good kid.

Shoplifting. Vandalism. She is obviously a troublemaker and her terrible record is bested only by the lowlife, Belch Brennan. Indeed, Meg’s life has hit rock bottom since her mother died—leaving her to the abusive whims of her lazy stepfather, Franco. In a desperate move to escape, she becomes Belch’s accomplice in an attempted robbery. Now, things don’t really get off to a good start for the duo, especially when Meg begins to feel guilt over her actions; but their whole operation gets out of hand when stubborn old Lowrie confronts them and ends up bitten by Belch’s vicious pit bull, Raptor.

With Lowrie out of the way, Meg and Belch are free to simply take what they want and leave the injured old man, but Meg does something that neither Heaven or Hell saw coming—she attempts to help the old man.

Belch can’t let that happen because if Lowrie is helped, he could get caught. Chasing Meg out of the house and cornering her in an alley, he tries to scare her into submission by firing a gun over her head. Unfortunately for Belch, Meg and even Raptor, the bullet flies straight into a gas tank behind our unlikely heroine, killing all three instantly in the explosion.

Now The Wish List could have ended when Belch and Raptor are sent spiraling straight into Hell. It could also have ended when Meg’s soul is sent just out of reach from the fiery prison. But if it had, it wouldn’t have been much of a story now would it? Though Meg is spared an eternity in the underworld, she does not quite end up at the Pearly Gates either.

YA book review: The Wish List by Eoin Colfer

Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series, tells the tale of a young girl thrown into a battle of wits and underhanded schemes between Heaven and Hell with her own soul as the victor’s prize. Meg’s soul, an unusually perfect balance between good and evil, has given her one chance to control her fate: she must assist her last victim, Lowrie, in completing his wish list, a list of things that could rectify the mistakes he’s made over his lifetime. Colfer doesn’t make this an easy task for Meg. His array of antagonists include a wise-cracking programmer of Hell, Satan’s personal assistant, a grotesquely-mutated Belch and of course the lord of the underworld himself, who desperately wants Meg on his side.

The Wish List may be entertaining and inventive, but it is also very thought-provoking. The reader watches Meg undergo a transformation that could save her soul from the clutches of darkness; from her reluctant bonding with the gruff Lowrie to her final heroic and selfless act. From Meg’s first act of kindness in the book, the reader will see that even at our lowest moments, one strong and good action can become our moment of redemption.

Read more of Natasha's reviews.

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