Published on: May 23rd 2017
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
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(summary from Goodreads)
Feather Tucker has two wishes:
1)To get her mum healthy again
2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships
When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.
Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?
It’s nice to read a YA book that deals so well with so many relevant topics. Eating disorders, depression, sexuality and mental health it is filled with heavy topics but written in a lighter way that lets us follow this story without totally loosing hope for the characters.
Feather was a beautifully written YA character and her strength and determination to unravel the mystery of her mothers illness and how to help her made her a fascinating character to read. Some of the time she comes across as a lot older than her age due to the responsibility she believes she holds in helping her mother, but there are also moments in which her younger self appears in her nativity and her unwillingness to always follow advice given to her.
Eating disorders are the main topic of this book, and I really liked that the focus wasn’t just on the disorder but also the very realistic reactions to it, something which is hardly covered not just in YA but in fiction in general. In our world today obese people are made fun of and stereotyped as people who just can’t stop eating. They are dehumanised until they are nothing more than a clothing size.
MacGregor manages to bring attention to these very realistic reactions all whilst showing that eating disorders are about so much more than just food. There are some very powerful messages in this book and McGregor has to be commended for her skill and bravery in telling this story.
Massive thanks for HarperCollins for the ARC, this book was everything I had hoped it would be and I really hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
I would recommend this book to: YA contemporary, books which feature eating disorders, books with relevant topics, strong YA characters
I was lucky enought to get the chance to ask Virginia some questions about Wishbones, check them out below:
1) What made you chose the topic of eating disorders for this book?
Both in my adult and young adult fiction, I like to focus on strong contemporary issues that have a resonance in our lives. Obesity and eating disorders are increasingly common, especially in the Western world. My feeling is that both over and under-eating have a closer relationship that we often realise at that their root is psychological rather than physical: this is something I explore through Feather’s mother and Feather’s friend, Clay. I believe that fiction develops our understanding and empathy for those going through difficulties; fiction also makes helps us feel more understood when we are struggling. This is particularly important for young adults who often feel very alone and misunderstood.
2) How did you research for this book? Is any of it inspired by real stories or is it all imaginary?
My novels always draw on the three strands of imagination, experience and research. I struggled with an eating disorder when I was a teenager and I also had to look after my mother when I was very young, so these things draw on my own experience. I have also worked with many teenagers who struggle with eating disorders and, in my first teaching job, I came across a boy with anorexia and very much wanted to explore this as it’s something that no many people are aware of. At the same time, I did some research into various parts of the novel including obesity – and how to swim butterfly stroke! The fun bit, of course, was where I used my imagination to develop the characters and their relationships – and my imagination was responsible for Houdini the goat too!
3) What is your favourite quote from Wishbones?
Oh goodness, I’ve never been asked to choose a quotation from my own book before. I think this would be it:
“I close my eyes and my mind reels off a list of wishes. And then I think about how I don’t need to wish for any- thing right now, I just need to open my eyes wide and take everything in – that wishing will just make me focus on what’s not here yet, and I don’t want to do that any more. So I take a breath, fill my cheeks and blow as hard as I can, and I don’t make a single wish. Instead, I let myself feel the moment: the glow of candles against my face, the smoke, the smell of chocolate and banana, the sound of Mum and Dad breathing and then clapping when all the candles are out.”
4) What book, not written by yourself,do you wish you had written?
Room by Emma Donoghue