Meg Finn is in trouble. She's dead, but not at peace--she's in limbo, her good deeds perfectly balanced against her bad deeds; Heaven or Hell wait, a tip of the scale away. So she's back on Earth trying to tip the scale to the good by helping her last victim, and her former "partner" is also back, trying to force her to tip the scale to the bad.
Original publication date
Meg is killed by her partner in crime during a home invasion; this should send her right to hell along with Belch and his dog (now one being) but just before her death she tried to stop the crime and put her life at risk to save the life of an old man. One in several million, Meg has a life exactly balanced between good and evil deeds. Meg is given a chance to redeem herself by returning to earth and fulfilling the Wish List but Satan has decided that she must not succeed and he is sending someone to stop her. Humanity ensues.
On the face of it it's obvious that Meg Finn should go to hell. She was involved in a breakin on Lowrie McCall with Belch Brennan and his nasty pit bull Raptor, the outcome of which was Lowrie injured by the dog and Meg, Belch and Raptor dead, because Belch needed to prove his superiority and threaten Meg and accidentally blow them all to bits. When Meg arrives in the afterlife she's balanced between good and evil and gets a chance to go back and earn her way into heaven. She has to help Lowrie. Lowrie decides to make a wish list of things he wishes he had done, and the two of them go to it. Meanwhile Hell send Belch after her.
It's light, predictable, fun and I enjoyed it as a fun diversion.
While fantasy and supernatural type books are usually not what I typically read and it took me awhile to get into Wish List, I could soon see why this book is popular for teens. Colfer’s writing style is hysterically funny in some scenes and it helps that the book never takes itself too seriously. I think that this title would also be a good recommendation for reluctant readers if they have no issues with the afterlife topic.
Review: Eoin Colfer's books are a reliable mix of zany, snarky, and sweet, and The Wish List is no exception. It's not often that a kids' book starts with its protagonist dying in a gas explosion, but Colfer somehow makes it work, and what could be a very serious story about sin and souls and second chances is lightened up by the constant stream of Colfer's humor. Even though a lot of the action involves following an old man around Ireland as he (with Meg's help) rights 50-year-old wrongs, there's still a madcap feeling to a lot of it that reminded me of the Artemis Fowl books. It's not the most morally complex book, and there are a few plot elements and running gags that didn't always work for me. But even though it didn't knock my socks off, it definitely had some nice moments, Meg & Lowrie's bickering made me laugh, and it was short and sweet and kept me entertained. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Recommended for those who are looking for books that take a slightly skewed perspective on the afterlife, or for a fun mid-grade/YA adventure featuring ghosts.
I really enjoyed this book. I Iiked how the author portrayed the concept of Heaven and Hell. Eoin described how she saw Heaven and Hell so well, that it felt like I was a spirit drifting along "The Tunnel". Eoin also did an excellent job of describing the devil. She gave him such a specific personality, and distinctive charectoristics. I loved how well I was able to picture the story, due to the wording and the descriptions. But I also like how creative Eoin Collifer got when it came down to Lowrie's wishes and Meg's powers. They were just so unexpected but i can't be specific because I don't want to give it away. The Wish List is so different than any other book that I have ever read. I would reccomend it to anyone who appreciates reading really good books, and who takes the time to really imagine everything that the author has written down.
Belch turned away from the window. Piggy eyes glared out from under gelled spikes of hair. 'Listen, Finn,' he whispered. 'Raptor is no mutt. He is a pure breed, from a long line.' Meg rolled her eyes. Belch returned to window-jimmying, worming the blade of the screwdriver between the frame and the sill.
For the thousandth time, Meg Finn wondered what she was doing here. How had she sunk this far – skulking around the granny flats with a lowlife like Belch Brennan? Her reflection glared accusingly from the window pane. For a second she saw the ghost of her mother in that face. The same wide blue eyes, the same braided blonde hair, even the same frown wrinkles between her eyebrows. What would Mam think of this latest escapade? Meg's involuntary blush answered the question for her.
Something slit in the window frame. 'We're in,' grunted Belch. 'Let's go.' Raptor scrabbled up the wall into the dark interior. He was the point-dog, sent in to check for hostiles. His orders were simple. Bite everything. If it screamed, it was hostile. The pit bull was not what you'd call a stealth canine and managed to barge into every stick of furniture on the ground floor.
'Why don't we just ring the bell?' groaned Meg. 'Oh stop your whining, Finn,' snorted Belch. 'Old Lowrie is deaf as a post anyway. You could set off fireworks in there and he wouldn't stop snoring.' Belch hoisted his considerable bulk over the sill, exposing a drooping belly in the process. Meg shuddered. Disgusting.
Her partner's face appeared from the darkness. 'Are you coming, Finn?' Meg paused. This was it. The line between bold and bad. The decision was hers....