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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 is ideal for readers fifteen and under, including pre-teens keen to step up to YA. A wholly unique take on the genre, perfect for fans of Cornelia Funke or Ric…

Esme’s Wish

by Elizabeth Foster

Overall Book Review:

This is a sweet story about the love of a daughter for her missing mother.  Being a strong female lead, Esme is fifteen and narrates the story.  The affection she has for her mother has pushed her to think “outside the box.”  If you have a heart for mythology and folk lore, you might just love this one too.  The story is a gentle cross between Madeleine L’Engle and Rick Riordan’s style of writing.  A triangle of friendship is formed where Lillian and Daniel are just the friends Esme needs.  Lillian is the friend we all wish for, and Daniel’s love of adventure is inspiring.  The main characters are well-developed, likeable, and quite relatable.

The author paints a real world.  In the theater of my mind, I could see the wonder of this land, feel the cool touch of the water on my toes, and hear the sweet song of the Sirens.  Although a little sad at first, it was easy to become submerged in this story.  The author, Elizabeth Foster, hales from Australia and obviously has a passion for words.  Her creative word building has produced a story that’s a wonderful dash of dread and mystery all blended together to tell Esme’s story.  Rather than racing forward, the pacing of the story rolls along steadily and keeps the reader looking forward to the next piece of the puzzle that Esme finds.  

Magic is used throughout the book but not in an overwhelming way.  Born with their “gifts,” the characters are expected to use them responsibly and for the good of others.  This is Elizabeth Foster’s first book and as good as this one is, I’m looking forward to future books.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Odyssey Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Mother lost at sea; teen girl pictures her mother on the bottom of the ocean floor being nibbled by fish, not gory; teen girl remembers when she was little and a boy accidentally set her hair on fire, some wounds, not gory; big beast try\ies to attack 3 teens; mention of during a time of occupation, the bad guys used to drop people off a tower for sport, some blood, a little gory; creepy sea creatures; teen girl attacked by creepy sea creatures, wounds, blood, gory wound; a teen boys face was previously burned and scarred; man attacks teen girl; ghost people defend teen girl and her mom, weapons.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Magic, scientific experimentation (both with permission and without), death of mother, earthquakes. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)