cover image Katerina’s Wish

Katerina’s Wish

Jeannie Mobley. S&S/McElderry, $15.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4424-3343-4

Thirteen-year-old Katerina (“Trina” to her family) and her father are both dreamers, and it was her father’s dream of a better life that led their family from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) to southern Colorado in 1900. One year later, having settled in a coal mining camp, they are still buried in work and trapped by debt. Then Trina sees a fish that reminds her of a fairy tale about a magic carp; soon after, her two younger sisters’ frivolous wishes are granted. Initially skeptical, Trina eventually makes her wish: for a farm that will make her family happy. Several dichotomies define Mobley’s debut novel: optimism versus realism, magic versus hard work, and xenophobia versus a neighborly immigrant community. The importance of ingenuity, faith, confidence, and the willingness to dream shine through in a rich story threaded with traditional folk tales, which offers realistic dilemmas and a vibrant setting and cast. As Trina rises above the forces conspiring to quash her dream, readers will appreciate her success as she learns the rewards of persistence. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.)