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28 December 2023 WISHING SEASON by Anica Mrose Rissi, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, June 2023, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-06-325890-7


“I was born this very morning

And my brother he was also born,

In our first nine months we learned to speak

And we have been listening since early morn.

I love no one but my brother

Who spent those months with me

I hate no one and no other has so far hated me

But it isn't yet the afternoon,

And things are still to be,

And when evening comes we all will see.”

– Todd Rundgren, “Birthday Carol" (1970)


“When people looked at her, they saw his absence.

She felt it constantly too. It was a deep, horrible ache that wanted to rage to the surface.

Lily hated the weeping. What right did anyone else have to cry? Lily wasn’t crying, and she was the one who had lost her twin. She was the one who would miss him forever.

She missed him the way she would miss her own arm if it upped and disappeared. She kept reaching for things and remained empty-handed. She kept needing her brother and finding he wasn’t there.

If Anders didn’t exist, how could Lily? Why should Lily?

She couldn’t. She didn’t.

Yet somehow, there she was. A girl-shaped void. A sudden abyss. She folded herself into his absence until she took up negative space.”


As the grandfather of young twin grandchildren–a boy and a girl–WISHING SEASON hits close to home. Mine sure seem to prefer being within sight of one another, even when they are each doing their own thing. Plenty of us have sibs who remain close, lifelong friends and confidants. But there’s something truly unique about the relationship between twins…


In WISHING SEASON, Anders is already gone–a fifth-grade victim of cancer–before the story begins. But three days after his demise, Lily found him swinging on their tire swing, located in a secluded corner of their rural Maine property. It turns out that In the vicinity of that tire swing is the one place where the twins seem to “overlap,” the place where they can still see one another, communicate, play games, and be goofy with one another. 


But when they find that the overlap place is physically beginning to shrink, and that Anders is remembering less and less of the past, it’s also the place where Lily must brainstorm about what to do next. 


Is there some way to understand the overlap? Maybe reverse the shrinking? Or is Lily destined to lose touch forever with her other half?


WISHING SEASON is a moving, meaningful, and memorable tale for middle graders and tweens. Loss and remembrance, and moving forward, are parts of life for all of us, however much we dread or may seek to avoid the subject. Lily’s story will aid young readers in better preparing for living in the here-and-now and accepting the natural, inevitable losses of friends, relatives, pets, and others of significance in their lives. 


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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