by Fiona Wood

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Award-winning author Fiona Wood delivers a thought-provoking story of self-discovery and first love-one that will resonate with anyone who has ever realized that the things that make you different are the things that make

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn't even know she's alive? Pointless.

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother's PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can't help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Van Uoc Phan’s hardworking parents, refugees from Vietnam, have a dream for her in Australia: they want her to become a doctor and expect her to focus on her studies at her prestigious Melbourne school. She wants to be an artist, however, and spends a great deal of time fantasizing about her crush, athletic ladies’ man Billy Gardiner. When her wish to be noticed by him mysteriously comes true, she suspects that magic is afoot, especially after Billy seems to want more than friendship. The question of whether Billy is actually spellbound or truly falling in love creates suspense throughout the novel, as Van Uoc begins to enjoy being swept off her feet. Besides tracing the excitement and anxiety associated with first love (real or imagined), Wood (Six Impossible Things) offers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It’s an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don’t want to travel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Cheryl Pientka, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Oct.)

From the Publisher

Praise for Cloudwish:
"A strong choice for YA collections."—School Library Jounral

"Besides tracing the excitement and anxiety associated with first love (real or imagined), Woodoffers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It's an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don't want to travel."—PW

Praise for Six Impossible Things:* "Told in Dan's voice, the narrative reveals a young man whose sardonic view of himself and those around him provides an amused but angst-filled tone. There is situational humor, as well, in cinematic-like scenes, particularly in the classroom... Imagery is another of this novel's strengths. Dan expresses his outsider status as being like a lemon rolling down an apple chute... The story's charming and unique characters really carry the day. Readers will care about the teens who struggle to come of age."—VOYA (starred review)

"School dances, first dates, and sneaking out are just some of the high school hijinks that are humorously depicted with a fresh perspective...Snappy dialogue, charming characters, even pacing, and poignant sentence-level writing make this offering a must-have."—SLJ

"With sensitivity and humor, Wood (Wildlife) traces the roller-coaster life of a boy in the midst of significant upheaval. Dan's honesty, smarts, and earnest efforts to do good may not earn him any popularity points at school, but they will win readers' affection and admiration."—PW

"Australian author Wood (Wildlife, 2014) has created a pitch-perfect teen voice in Dan's first-person narrative. He's by turns sorrowful, impulsive, caring, and funny, with occasionally brilliant turns of phrase: "I feel like a lemon rolling down the apple chute." It's refreshing to see a romance from a teen boy's perspective, and Dan is a Romeo to root for."—Booklist

"This romance is effervescent and sweet, but it offers welcome substance along with the sparkle."—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Wildlife:
A YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection
A Booklist Magazine's 2014 Editors' Choice
A VOYA Perfect Tens 2014 Selection

"Enchanting...[Wood's] unsentimental rendering of the glorious, messy rush of first love elevate Wildlife far beyond standard kids-at-camp fare. The wilderness is exquisitely described, and when it comes to what's on everyone's mind, Wood is frank but never crude, and often hilarious...Wood tackles big themes head-on: identity, friendship, justice, love, death. Her characters are all compelling and believable."—New York Times Book Review

* "In alternating points of view-Lou's lyrical journal entries and Sib's first-person narrative-Wood builds a believable story of misguided friendship, betrayal, and empowering growth...With exceptional candor, honesty, and nuance, Wood tells a heartening and compelling story of the importance of agency, self-confidence, and true friendship."—Booklist (starred review)

* "Wood eloquently traces the emotional growth of two girls during their high school's required nine-week term of outdoor education...[Sib and Lou's] voices reverberate with honesty, vulnerability, and deep emotions and will leave a lasting impress on readers."—PW (starred review)

"The mounting interpersonal tension will keep readers deeply engrossed, as will the narrators' honesty and humor...This exceptional novel is Australian author Wood's American debut, but readers will want to get their hands on her first book, Six Impossible Things."The Horn Book

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Vân Uóc Phan is a student at Crowthorne Grammar. She's a "scholarship kid" from Vietnam whose parents came to Melbourne, Australia, by boat after the fall of Saigon. Her observations about being privileged are sharp but not critical. She's also more concerned with her mother's chronic depression than she is with her own assimilation, and together mother and daughter offer a more complete picture of what it's like to live—and succeed—in an unfamiliar culture. Vân Uóc works hard and earns excellent grades, but socially she's supposed to disappear, a message she gets from both ends: her peers feel their turf is crowded enough, and her parents dictate a strict schedule that leaves her no time off. They pin their hopes on Vân Uóc's future. She's a good girl who nonetheless sees through her parents. Enter Billy Gardiner, who is Vân Uóc's secret crush. When he notices her, she thinks she's been found out, and, even more confusing, he seems so nice. It turns out they share a rebellious streak; she wants to be an art major but has so far kept this from her parents, who expect her to go to med school. And the Gardiner men have rowed crew for three generations, but Billy's pranks may cost him his position as team coach. He's also entitled and a bit mischievous: Will Vân Uóc lose her head? If they suspend disbelief that two teens from very different worlds can fall in love, readers will enjoy this culminating book in Wood's trilogy. VERDICT A strong choice for YA collections, especially where the author's previous novels are popular.—Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY

Kirkus Review

Aug. 30, 2016
A Vietnamese-Australian teen grapples with her family expectations.Sixteen-year-old Vân Uoc, a child of Vietnamese refugees, is the perfect daughter and student. As a scholarship student in private school, she is under immense pressure to earn straight A’s, play the oboe, and participate in her school’s community life. During a creative-writing master class, she makes an offhanded wish that Billy, a popular white boy, would like her. Her wish becomes a reality when he suddenly pays attention to her. Although Vân Uoc is initially suspicious of Billy’s wish-fueled intentions, she allows herself to date him—but she’ll never know for sure. Wood’s attempt to walk in a Vietnamese-Aussie teen’s shoes feels removed, as if she’s translating. Vân Uoc’s character comes across as simultaneously self-loathing and indifferent even when she is supposed to be angry or sad. While Vân Uoc respectfully uses "Bác" to address her father's boss, her failure to extend the use of honorifics to other adults in her neighborhood may stand out for Asian-American readers. Some characters, such as privileged Billy and “lesbian-in-waiting” best friend Jess, seem to exist merely as elements on a hidden diversity checklist. Vân Uoc’s struggle to reconcile her parents’ wishes and her passion for art is a tired conflict, especially for Asian characters. [Note: this review has been revised from the one originally published to reflect changes made to the book since the printing of the advance review copy.] Misguided. (Fiction. 13-17)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316242110
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 10/18/2016
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews