Middle Grade Review: Genie Wishes by Elisabeth Dahl


Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Amulet Books (April 2, 2013)

Language: English

Series: None

Genre: Contemporary

Source: NetGalley

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:

This sweet, funny novel follows fifth-grader Genie Kunkle through a
tumultuous year. From the first day of school, Genie knows there will be
good, bad, and in-between. The good? She’s in homeroom with her best
friend, Sarah. The bad? Sarah’s friend from camp, Blair, is a new
student at their school, and is itching to take Genie’s place as Sarah’s
BFF. The in-between? Genie is excited to be elected to write her
class’s blog, where she’s tasked with tracking the wishes and dreams of
her class. But expressing her opinion in public can be scary —especially
when her opinion might make the rest of her class upset.

Dahl authentically captures the ups and downs of a tween girl’s life,
and the dramas— both little and big —that fill the scary transition
between childhood and adolescence.

Amazon | Goodreads


“Girls should identify and mothers should approve of this gentle tale of growing up.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Upbeat slice-of-life novel.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Here’s to reading about Genie’s sixth-grade year soon.”

“The author has a keen eye for the tween girl experience: Genie’s
plans for the future involve living right by her best friend and working
together as dolphin trainers, while the highlight of her summer is the
fact that her other friend just joined the pool. This will no doubt
resonate with tween girls, and it has the charm and the discussion
fodder to make an excellent mother-daughter book club selection.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

About the Author:

a middle-grade novel with line drawings, is Elisabeth Dahl’s first book
(Amulet Books/ABRAMS, April 2013). Her writing for adults has appeared
at NPR.org, at TheRumpus.net, in the Little Patuxent Review, and in
other outlets. Elisabeth holds a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins
University and a master’s degree from Georgetown University, where she
was a Writing Center Associate Fellow. She now lives in Baltimore,
Maryland, where she works as a freelance writer and editor and teaches
for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth.

Website | Twitter 

My Thoughts:

This book is all about growing up and dealing with the changes that come
with tweenhood. Genie is a sweet girl that is just trying to figure
things out and remain true to herself in the process. She has to deal
with a lot of changes in her fifth grade year. Friend changes, body
changes, and interest changes. She has to start worrying about things
she’s never had to before.

This is a look at tween life and the challenges that are presented
during that wonderful and confusing time in a girl’s life. Genie
navigates through everything well and handles her problems in a very
grown up way.

As far as content goes, there is some dealings with the birds and the
bees in an age appropriate way (Genie gets a bra, a two-piece swim suit,
and has her first sex-ed class in school) and there is a lot of using
the Lord’s name in vain. If you are concerned about either of those
things, then make sure to read it yourself before giving it to your


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    December 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Fifth grade! Such an awkward grade and year for kids especially me at that time. This sounds like a great book for girls going through that faze of discovering things about themselves and their bodies changing. I like that there's a book out there that actually discusses the topics you mentioned. I had like not talk with my parents about anything really. It would have been nice to have some insight.

    • Reply
      December 20, 2013 at 2:34 am

      Super awkward time right? There was a book along these same lines that I read about a million times when I was that age. It was kind of a fluke that I even picked it up, but I'm glad I did.

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