Wilma Sturtz used to enjoy school. Then her two best friends moved away. Now she feels like she’s completely invisible to the entire eighth grade. So when she helps an old lady who offers to grant her a wish, Wilma sighs and, thinking it’s just a joke, says she wishes she was the most popular kid at the Claverford Middle School. Much to her great surprise, however, the old lady wasn’t kidding around. Suddenly everyone wants to be Wilma’s friend.
At first Wilma loves the attention. But then she starts to wonder: how much of her new friendships are because her classmates enjoy her company, and how much because they have to like her? Then, as graduation approaches, she realizes there’s a major loophole in her wish…and all of her popularity might begin to start crashing down around her ears.
While this is far from Gail Carson Levine’s strongest work, it’s still a fun book. Wilma is an appealing character, who wants badly to be liked but does not understand why no one is willing to give her a chance. I suspect that a lot of middle school students will be able to relate to that particular sentiment. The message of the book is less than subtle, but I’m pretty sure that most kids enjoying the story will just shrug that off. As far as quick and breezy beach reads go, this book should fit snugly into the genre.