Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
Add to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

A Wish in the Dark

Best Seller
A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
Paperback $8.99
Sep 07, 2021 | ISBN 9781536222975

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (1) +
  • Sep 07, 2021 | ISBN 9781536222975 | Middle Grade (8-12)

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Mar 24, 2020 | ISBN 9781536204940 | Middle Grade (8-12)

    Buy from Other Retailers:

*This title is not eligible for purchase to earn points nor for redemption with your code in the Reader Rewards program

Product Details

Praise

It’s a novel—a stand- alone, no less—that seems to have it all: a sympathetic hero, a colorful setting, humor, heart, philosophy, and an epic conflict that relates the complexity and humanity of social justice without heavy-handed storytelling. Soontornvat deftly blends it all together, salting the tale with a dash of magic that enhances the underlying emotions in this masterfully paced adventure. An important book that not only shines a light but also shows young readers how to shine their own. Luminous.
—Booklist (starred review)

Set in a fantasy analogue of Thailand, all characters are presumed Thai, and Thai life and culture permeate the story in everything from the mangoes Pong eats in prison to the monks he meets beyond the prison’s walls. It’s also a retelling of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, and Soontornvat has maintained the themes of the original while making the plot and the characters utterly her own. Pong’s and Nok’s narratives are drawn together by common threads of family, loyalty, and a quest to define right and wrong, twining to create a single, satisfying tale. A complex, hopeful, fresh retelling.
—Kirkus Reviews

Soontornvat artfully builds up to a triumphant confrontation, weaving in important themes about oppression and civil disobedience along the way.
—Publishers Weekly

Nuanced questions of morality, oppression, and being defined by one’s circumstances are compounded with exciting action in this novel inspired by Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. The characters are resonant, and the action is enhanced by the fantastical Thailand-like setting. The original storyline and well-developed characters make this a standout novel. ­Highly recommended.
—School Library Journal

Combining themes of coming-of-age, protest, and the power of freedom, this book will inspire young readers to stand up for their own beliefs as well as those of all people. This is a thought-provoking adventure that will cause readers to ask themselves whether being safe or having freedom is the better option, and if that needs to be a choice at all.
—School Library Connection

The rich, atmospheric Thai-inspired settings ground Pong and Nok’s journeys toward self-understanding, from bleak Namwon to the peaceful temple Wat Singh to Chattana’s bustling, colorful Light Market…The novel offers satisfying meditations on moral choices as well as age-friendly openings into conversations about prison pipelines, autocracy, and socio-political action.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Alternating between Pong’s and Nok’s stories, Soontornvat tells a satisfyingly intricate tale of escape and chase while raising questions about institutionalized injustices of privilege and want. Her Thai-inspired world is fully engaging, but perhaps most winning is the innocence, hope, and humor she conveys in the context of the struggle for social justice and with respect to the children’s growth.
—The Horn Book

A thrilling fantasy, set in a fresh, original world, with a vital message at its heart. A Wish in the Dark is incandescent.
—Adam Gidwitz, Newbery Honor–winning author of The Inquisitor’s Tale

At once timeless and timely, Christina Soontornvat’s A Wish in the Dark is a richly imagined portrait of the power of hope, courage, and compassion to shine a light in dark times and the ability of small people to effect great change. Ingenious, captivating, and utterly gorgeous.
—Anne Ursu, National Book Award–nominated author of The Real Boy

Do you hear the people sing? Christina Soontornvat’s Les Misérables-inspired A Wish in the Dark will have readers cheering for Pong, the young boy who escapes a life of unfair imprisonment, discovers the powers of friendship and forgiveness, and raises his voice against oppression. I was swept away by the Thai setting, the Buddhist teachings of Father Cham, and the sheer grit and determination of these young characters. At the heart of this novel, like Victor Hugo’s, are the struggle for justice and the power of marginalized communities to change our world for the better. Young readers will be rooting for Pong and his band of revolutionary friends and inspired to spread more light in their own communities.
—Sayantani DasGupta, New York Times best-selling author of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books

Awards

Newbery Honor Book HONOR 2021

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Get the latest updates from Christina Soontornvat
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Dismiss
Thanks!
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top