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The Wish House

by Celia Rees

ISBN 0330436430 / 9780330436434 / 0-330-43643-0
Publisher Young Picador
Language English
Edition Softcover
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Book summary

The last thing fifteen-year-old Richard expects when he goes exploring near his parents' annual vacation spot is to find his familiar summer haunt, the abandoned cottage he calls the Wish House, suddenly occupied. An eccentric painter named Jay Dalton and his family have bought the place and turned it into a magnet for artists and writers that conventional Richard at first finds loud and strange. But the more time he spends with Jay, his fortune-telling wife Lucia, and their bewitching daughter Clio, the more Richard finds himself relaxing into their insouciant lifestyle.

Jay insists on that Richard sit for him, Lucia confides in him like a peer, while Clio becomes his first lover. Then Richard stumbles onto a shocking family secret that indicates his trust in the free-spirited family has been misplaced. Hurt and betrayed, Richard commits an irrevocable act of destruction that abruptly ends the alluring spell of the Wish House. Not until he attends Clios first gallery opening years later is he able to achieve closure on the events of that memorable and painful fifteenth summer.

Celia Rees has written an age appropriate "seduction of the innocent" story, a Henry James novel for the YA set. This wonderfully sensual young adult novel is permeated with evocative images of nature and mythology, while remaining restrained in its descriptions of teen sex and implied incest. Older teen fans of Looking for Alaska and How I Live Now will appreciate Rees' dark view into the baffling world of adult motivations. Jennifer Hubert [via]