Nuria loves living on the top of the mountain with her grandfather, even if it is slightly apart from the rest of the village. Her isolation would hardly be better even if she did live in town: all of the families with children left suddenly. Nuria suspects that it was the result of a wish gone bad. The wishing well in the village really does grant wishes, but there’s a catch: Not only can you only make one wish in your entire lifetime (with only one month in which to repent and take it back) the well will try as hard as it can to twist the words of the wish to create a tragic outcome entirely different from what had been intended. So although she wishes for a friend, Nuria has never gone to the well with her wish.
When Catty moves back into the village, Nuria is at first delighted at the prospect of someone to play with. Friendship with Catty – who is immensely spoiled, in part because a mysterious illness has left her without the use of her legs – is difficult, but rewarding. So when Catty begs Nuria to use the well to wish that Catty could walk again, Nuria reluctantly agrees. But when Nuria makes the wish, the result is far different from what she had intended, and Nuria is horrified at the results, and the personal toll it costs. Unfortunately to retract the wish both girls have to agree … and Catty doesn’t care about anything other than her own newfound ability to walk.
Fast-paced and filled with emotional drama, this book was hard to put down. Nuria’s personality comes through loud and clear, as does Catty’s. There’s no mistaking one girl for the other – which, since this is a key plot point, is handled very well. While the story is a fantasy, the actions and relationships between the characters are realistic. Although its sometimes hard to believe that Catty could be so cruel, her selfish behavior and Nuria’s desperate need to have a companion her own age, help the reader to understand and accept that Catty could easily be as callous to another’s needs, particularly when her own happiness and life are at stake.