The Wish House

The Wish House - Celia Rees "The Wish House" is one of those coming of age stories that will either be a hit or a miss with its readers. I usually love summer themed, coming of age stories where the character grows in some manner during his or her experiences in a place outside of their usual dwellings, but this one left me wanting more than what it provided. The story takes place in the 1970s. 15-year-old Richard spends the summer with his family in South Wales near an interesting dwelling called "The Wish House." What he doesn't expect is to meet quite the bunch of colorful, illustrious characters staying in that house. They're free-spirited - some of which freely take drugs, make out, living life as if each day is their last. Richard is quickly taken under the wing of one of the resident artists there, and used as a subject of quite a few portraits. But while Richard visits the house regularly, he's caught up in many of his "first times" while there: falling in and out of love, dealing with loss, and wrestling with long standing demons and fears that aren't so easy to get rid of. I definitely liked the set up of the storytelling, each chapter preceded by a description/depiction of an artwork as interpreted by critics in the famous artist's portfolio. But I found Richard's story to be largely underwhelming despite the themes provided in the novel, and this is coming from someone who loves slice-of-life, coming of age sories. There was something in the style of the story that left much to be desired. I don't know if it was the way it was written (third person limited), if the character's POV wasn't as intimate as it could've been, or if there were some other confounding factors in the story that were lacking. Given that this is my first read from Celia Rees, I don't really have anything to compare it to, but it left enough of an impression on me to say that I felt for Richard as his perspective grows from the experiences he has in that summer. It's a quick read, one I think older teens might appreciate more, and those who don't mind the YA coming of age genre in general. Is it the best story I've read in its particular setting? Not really, but it's worth checking into to see what it has to offer.Overall score: 2.5/5