On The Edge Of Wishing
By Danette Key

Chapter 1

The characters are well developed and the themes
and tones of the story are appropriate for its young target audience.
 There is even a sweet romance thrown in.
 I think young girls will find they can relate to the feelings of isolation
 and frustration that Maddy is experiencing,
 and to the optimism that Mary Ellen brings for a brighter future.”
-Donna Nicely, M.A, Academic Counslor

Excellence does not come easy or quickly--
An excellent education does not, a successful mission does not, a strong,
 loving marriage does not, rewarding personal relationships do not. It is simply
 a truism that nothing very valuable can come without significant
 sacrifice, effort and patience on our part.”
-Jeffery R Holland, Created for Greater Things

Peter looked at the message his secretary sent him. He frowned. He couldn’t believe the school was calling him again!  Why don’t they contact my wife? She is so much better at these things than I. He really didn’t want to address the problem that he knew the school was calling about at this time. He was just too busy for this crap from his daughter!

His daughter, Maddy, was a pain in the butt! She was constantly getting into trouble at school. For being only 14, she could sure cause a lot of grief!  They tried counseling once, he mused. But no way was he going to take the blame for his child’s behavior just because he was the adult!  He still remembers the conversation with the counselor.

“Mr. Tenney, Children are at a level of maturity that is much less than an adult’s level. As adults we must control our emotions in order to help our children develop theirs.” 

So I’m immature is what she is saying. Peter looked around the office at the framed certificates and diplomas of the counselor. I wonder if she has children, Peter thought.

Peter pushed this thought out of his head, because he knew it didn’t really matter. What would make him listen to her was whether any of her children were BAD children. Then he could respect what she was saying.

“I’m not sure I can agree with that. Children must be responsible for what they do”.  Peter looked at her square in the face.

“Of course children must have consequences for their decisions.  I’m saying parents are there to make sure they make those decisions in a safe environment.”

Peter huffed. “I can’t keep her out of school so she can make better decisions! Believe me, I’d love to!”

“Not all children who attend school make poor decisions, Mr. Tenney, we just have to make sure we talk to our children about decisions they make…”

Peter cut her off, “But if she’s already made them what good is it to talk about them!”

Becca put her hand on Peter’s arm. She didn’t say anything, but he knew after 20 years of being married to this wonderful, patient woman, Becca was asking him to settle down. This time he ignored her loving touch taking a chance that his consequences may come later.

Peter stood and headed for the door. At the door he threw up his arms and yelled, “It’s too late, we can’t fix this!” 

Remembering now, he felt foolish. What a terrible parent he must look like, giving up on his own child.  But he felt he had already tried everything to get her to adhere to the rules of a normal childhood… teen-hood… he corrected himself.  He never went back, after that, to counseling. He was too embarrassed and it bothered his pride. It sounded like the counselor wanted him to do all the changing. That just wasn’t what he expected or was willing to sacrifice.

Teens! He remembered a friend saying that when a kid turns 13, their spirit leaves their body and doesn’t come back until they are at least 18!  He was beginning to understand that statement now.   Madeline has no spirit except a mean, disobedient one.

Peter set aside his thoughts and the plethora of paperwork, and dialed the school.

A warm-hearted story of a family dealing with the troubles of their constantly difficult teen. A terrible tragedy occurs with one of the children Peter coaches, and he finds himself wishing the unimaginable. When his daughter begins to show signs of incredible change, Peter hopes for the best but still can't help but wonder whats going on.

"We had the pleasure to review Danette Key's YA novel, On the Edge of Wishing. This story is about the challenges a family faces when dealing with a problematic child. Maddy is a 14 year old teenager who is very unappreciative of life. She is disobedient, disrespectful, and selfish. She gets in trouble at school on a regular basis and treats her siblings unkindly.

As a result of her bad behavior, her father, Peter--a soccer coach--can no longer stand being around her and wishes she was someone else. Her mother, Becca, is an overwhelmed mother of three who retreats to community service in order to escape the problems with her daughter. And Maddy's two younger siblings do not understand why she is so mean to them.

Unexpected help arrives from the other side to mend this broken family. Mary Ellen is a soul with an important task. She possesses Maddy's body and intervenes with this family's challenges. Soon, Maddy starts acting strange. She seems nicer and more loving. Peter takes notice of her weird behavior, but he is happy that she is becoming more of the ideal daughter he had wished for. There is only one problem: Mary Ellen wants to stay as Maddy, and she is willing to do what she can to make that happen.

This story is well-crafted from the beginning to the end. From excellent character development to the interesting plot points, On the Edge of Wishing has it all. This story's moderate pace is engaging and keeps the reader's interest throughout. In addition, it features several great messages for more than just the young adult readers this book is directed toward. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a story with a deeper meaning that not only entertains, but teaches kindness, patience, and appreciation."

Jaclyn M. Bartz,
Midwest Book Review