By Elizabeth Foster
Genre: Middle-Grade/YA Fantasy
Publication Date: October 30th, 2017
Content Warnings: (Not so much a warning as a heads up, the book does feature gender-changing sirens)
Have you ever been drawn to the sea?
As an East Coast gal, I’ve grown up several miles away from the coastline and have had the opportunity to visit the vast ocean on occasion. And it always leaves me feeling a yearning to travel across the wide expanse to find other worlds. Reading Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster invoked those same feelings.
Esme’s Wish begins with a wedding where Esme stands up and objects to the marriage. For the wedding is between her father and a woman who will never replace Esme’s mother. She is convinced that her mother–who has been missing for seven years–is still alive. And she sets out to find her, stumbling across a fantastical world she never dreamed could even exist.
Many of the themes of Esme’s Wish revolve around water–from the island broken up by canals, to mysterious sirens, to a magic pearl that is all that remains of the magic water the created the world. Foster spins her story with echoes of folklore, all the while creating her own.
The plot is mostly mystery and adventure as Esme seeks for answers as to what may have become of her mother. And the book ends with a question that left me longing to know more.
I would have to say that Esme’s Wish is a cute, fantastical, and heartwarming story of familial love and friendship. Esme grows in a solid character arc that, thankfully, didn’t leave me frustrated over the lack of growth. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the ocean, family-oriented tales, and stories embroiled with mythology.
I Rate It: 4 stars
NOTE: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through BookSirens for review purposes only. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Book:
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
This fresh, inventive tale, the first in an MG-to-YA series, is an ideal read for 10-14 year olds.
Esme’s Wish recently won first place in the fantasy category of the 2018 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, which recognises excellence in children’s literature.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Foster lives in Sydney, where she loves swimming in the ocean, walking, and playing the piano (badly). As a child, she was called Dizzy Lizzy-which she regarded as an insult all her life, until she started writing. Now, daydreaming is a central part of what she does. Reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds, and once she started writing stories, she couldn’t stop. Esme’s Wish is her first novel.