The Wishing Game


Lucy is struggling. Her only wish is to foster and adopt one of her students, Christopher. But as a teacher’s aide, she’s barely making ends meet and with no permanent home she has to face giving up her dream of adopting him.  When award winning and Lucy’s favorite childhood author, Jack Masterson puts on a contest to win the only copy of his newest book in the famous Clock Island Series,  Lucy knows this is her one shot to change her life. Once on the island, Lucy will need to face her fears in order to win, especially since everyone wants to get their hands on Masterson’s newest book.

What an adorable story!

While written for adults, it has a whimsical feel to it which transported me back to my childhood stories. Some readers might find it’s written for a younger audience, but I thought the mix of whimsical and reality was well done and perfect for adult readers. Lucy struggles with abandonment issues, there is discussions around foster care/adoptions, and all our main characters bring plenty of baggage with them.  All of these topics make this book more of an adult read versus a young adult read in my opinion.

Primarily told through Lucy’s POV, we occasionally get Hugo’s (the illustrator of the Clock Island books) POV as well. The switch between the two was seamless and added a light romantic aspect to the story. I appreciated that the romance bit was more of a side plot and didn’t overshadow the rest of the story.

As someone who spent countless hours immersed in fictional worlds, I really enjoyed this story. It had a magical feel to it, even though it all takes place in the ‘real world’. Shaffer does a great job of highlighting the importance stories play in our lives and how influential magical worlds can be on a childhood. Highly recommend this lovely debut! 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.


The Wishing Game comes out May 30, 2023. Huge thank you to Ballantine Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.  If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.


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