I arrived in Baton Rouge, LA about three weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast…it was a turbulent, traumatic time for many of my students at LSU–especially those who had to leave their colleges in New Orleans and start over in a new city with next to nothing. I had been warned by another faculty member that Louisiana was a whole other world, and it didn’t take long to realize he was right! But one of the things I love about travel is the opportunity to meet new people with different perspectives. I think my first interview with a journalist was conducted in Baton Rouge; Greg Langley writes for The Advocate and we met shortly after I’d won Lee & Low’s New Voices Honor Award. I was frustrated with publishing then, and I’m still frustrated with publishing now! But Greg just reviewed Wish and proved he really “got” the story:
This is a young adult novel that targets readers 13-18, but it’s a book with a really strong main character and an intriguing plot that will interest adult readers too.
While Wish is an initiation story where Genna learns some hard lessons, it’s more than that and the time travel angle is more than just a twist. By contrasting the racial attitudes and conditions in the same location but separated by more than 100 years, Elliott asks readers, black and white, to assess how much real progress has been achieved in race relations. Like Genna, they may come up with a mixed conclusion.