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Book Review: Wishyouwas by Alexandra Page

My dear bookish friends!

With Christmas getting closer (so fast!!), I want to surround myself with all the festive, cosy, Christmassy, wintery books out there. When I saw the cover of Wishyouwas, I was immediately drawn to it. Doesn’t it look so wonderfully magical, so wintery and  pretty? With the red letter box and the gold writing it made me think of Christmas immediately, and I was sold. Even though it turned out way different from what I was expecting just by looking at the cover I can say that I still absolutely loved the story, the writing, the characters, and the overall vibe!

Please keep reading to find out more about the story, and for my detailed review!

The Blurb

Classic-feeling storytelling with bags of charm. Fans of thrilling animal adventure and enchanting underground worlds will fall in love with Wishyouwas.

It’s 1952 in smog-shrouded London. Christmas might be fast approaching, but with her mum away and Uncle Frank busy running the post office, Penny Black is lonelier than ever.

All that changes when Penny discovers a small, fluffy, funny, springy and – most importantly – talking creature in the post office one night, trying to make off with a letter.

But Wishyouwas is no thief. He’s a Sorter, and he soon introduces Penny to a fascinating secret world hidden in the tunnels underneath the city’s streets. Self-appointed guardians of lost mail, the Sorters have dedicated their lives to rescuing letters that have gone astray and making sure they get delivered to their rightful owners.

Penny is determined to protect the Sorters, but how long will she be able to keep them safe with Stanley Scrawl, the sinister Royal Mail Rat Catcher, on the prowl? Can Penny save the Sorters and deliver a joyful Christmas?

My Review

Penny is lonely. Her mum is away, and her Uncle Frank is busy running his post office. Outside, London is disappearing in the smog, so there is not much that Penny can spend her time with in the days leading up to Christmas. So she helps in the post office. One evening, she hears something shuffling and scratching and scurrying. What is it? A mouse? A rat? Something else?

When Penny finds a fluffy little creature which tries to steal a letter, she is more surprised than ever. Since when are rats interested in the mail? But then she discovers that the little intruder is, in fact, not a rat, or mouse, or squirrel. His name is Wishyouwas, and he is a Sorter. Sorters make sure that lost or undeliverable letters find their rightful owner. Soon, Wishyouwas shows Penny his world – a hidden realm right below the London Penny knows, and they find themselves on bigger adventures than Penny ever thought possible…

I absolutely loved this story! Wishyouwas is super cute, and I loved how he took his job so seriously. He sometimes has trouble pronouncing words or getting the grammar right which greatly adds to the cuteness factor! I loved the bond that formed between him and Penny, and how much they started to trust each other.

The other Sorters and guardians of the letters are such a lovely bunch too, and they are all unique and special in their own way. I especially loved what names the author came up with. They are all reminiscent of words connected to mail in one way or another, like Dearmadam or Dearsir, Withlove and so on. And Penny even got her own special name from them too – she gets called Dear Penny. Absolutely adorable!

But the book isn’t only cute – as Penny is pulled into the mail guardians’ world she has to stop a mean rat catcher whose dream it is to catch all of the Sorters, and he has come up with an extra vicious plan… Can Penny and Wishyouwas find a way to stop him?

I also loved the way that Penny’s relationship to her uncle changes in the course of the story. We learn together with Penny that adults are not always right, and I loved that her uncle was mature enough to admit that.

This book features interesting, funny and unique characters that made every page worthwhile to read. I wanted to find out if Penny would be able to stop the rat catcher, if her mother would be home by Christmas, and I wanted to learn more about Wishyouwas and his friends, and how they came to do what they have been doing for years and years. The story behind that was actually very plausible and fascinating, something I love in fantasy and middle grade stories especially!

It’s not really a big downside to the story overall, but together with the foggy, smoggy setting in London, the rat catcher and the resulting commotion underground, I was sometimes wishing for a bit more … light, I guess? A bit more lightheartedness, more Christmas magic, I think. Wishyouwas and his friends are making up for this big time, but sometimes I was still wishing a bit more for what I was expecting just from looking at the cover.

Overall though this book did not disappoint at all. It’s not really a Christmas story per se, so you can definitely read it all through winter! I highly recommend it to lovers of unique middle grade stories with a twist – you will love this one!

4.5 stars from me, and I cannot wait for the sequel!

Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you have read this or are planning to!

xoxo

Noly

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