Saturday, April 3, 2021

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat - ADVISABLE

A Wish in the Dark
by Christina Soontornvat, 
375 pages. Candlewick Press, 2020. $18

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (peril) 



Pong was born in a prison while his mother was incarcerated. In Chattana, the children of the prisoners are prisoners themselves until they are 13, when they are released. Pong, not yet 13, seizes an opportunity and escapes. But the outside world isn't as welcoming or easy as he expected. Nok is the warden's daughter. Pong's escape brought shame on her family, and now she will stop at nothing to recapture him. 

 Magical realism sets "A Wish in the Dark" apart. Soontornvat slowly introduces the magical elements, building a world as bright as the light sources created by the Governor. Each child in the story has their own power - Nok is a skilled fighter, Pong has heightened sensitivity, and Somkit knows and builds machines. Not just an adventure story, Soontornvat also addresses social inequity, privilege, and what fair means. 

Lisa Librarian

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