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Meg Shaffer

Author of The Wishing Game

2 Works 1,122 Members 47 Reviews

Works by Meg Shaffer

The Wishing Game (2023) 1,007 copies, 42 reviews
The Lost Story (2024) 115 copies, 5 reviews

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Reviews

3 1/2 stars: Good

From the back cover:

Make a wish. . . .

Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, who was left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.

But be careful what you wish for. . . .

Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest at his home on the real Clock Island, and Lucy is one of the four lucky contestants chosen to compete to win the one and only copy.

For Lucy, the chance of winning the most sought-after book in the world means everything to her and Christopher. But first she must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, the illustrator of the Clock Island books. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.

. . . You might just get it.

-------------------

I read this via Book of the Month club. Its a familiar tale, of the Ready Player One variety, only this time with books, an author, a young woman and a good looking man. I enjoyed it quite well, it was fun and no "horror" aspect to it at all. It was very predictable and nothing bad happens to anyone, even the "losers" in the game who are all just fine and nice. It was very sweet, perfect for grade school kids. Plus its all about a love of books!

I'm going to give this away to a librarian (NG) for her school library.

A few quotes I liked:

"Hugo, always be quiet when a heart is breaking."

"Four kids came here because they read a book that inspired them to be brave enough to ask for help. There is nothing braver tha a child asking for help. And bravery like that deserves rewarding."

"Another thing I learned in therapy. The kids in dysfunctional families who act out and rebel are the ones who are healthiest mentally. They're the ones who see something wrong. That's why they act out. Because they see the house is burning down and they're screaming for help. "

Hate is a knife without a handle. You can't cut something with it without cutting yourself.
… (more)
½
 
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PokPok | 41 other reviews | Jul 15, 2024 |
A commercial fiction story with fantastical elements and a cozy vibe, though there are some tough topics within, this was a perfect gentle read for me, hitting so many of the things I love in a book: bookishness/allusions to well-known tales, fantasy, a queer love story, redemption, tenderness, fealty, sibling bonds, parent/adult child reckonings, and a happy/hopeful ending. Recommended if you like that stuff, though do note that this feels like commercial fiction, not like fantasy or romance, as genres. Just go in knowing what you're getting. Maybe think Stephen King's [Fairy Tale], but nicer, shorter, and without any horror/gore.… (more)
½
 
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lycomayflower | 4 other reviews | Jul 15, 2024 |
The Lost Story by Meg Shaffer is a recommended fairy tale for grown-ups.

As fourteen-year-old friends Jeremy Cox and Rafe Howell went missing in the Red Crow State Forest in West Virginia. The two returned six months later with no explanation of where they were or how they survived. Now, fifteen years later, Rafe is a reclusive artist who still bears scars from that time but has no memory of what happened during those months. Jeremy is an investigator who specializes in finding missing girls. Emilie Wendell approaches Jeremy to find her older sister, Shannon, who went missing in the Red Crow Forest five years before he and Rafe. Jeremy remembers what happened when they were gone, but knows he must talk Rafe into joining them in entering the forest and the secret portal again.

The Lost Story is really a love story between Rafe and Jeremy set in an imaginary fairy tale world. The description saying C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia inspired The Lost Story threw me for a loop on this one. Yes, it applies as far as people enter a portal into an imaginary land, but the allegorical aspects are absent as are the charming details which make the series a classic. The setting is a fairy tale but none of the animals talk and are developed as characters. Sure, there are herds of unicorns but characters are simply seeing mythical creatures not talking to them.

While I loved Shaffer's The Wishing Game, her current novel, The Lost Story, is entertaining but I'll admit to some disappointment as the plot progressed. I didn't want a love story, I wanted the promised magical adventure. (Or at least Fritz talking.) The narrative also has a Storyteller who jumps in and inserts comments as the plot unfolds. I'm not a fan of this choice. It is explained in the end, but still I was not a fan of it while reading the novel.

Jeremy and Rafe are fully realized characters but Emilie never reaches the same level of development. Her character was a favorite of mine and I would have appreciated a deeper dive into her development. Admittedly, I was also totally expecting Emilie's Fritz the rat to transform into a magical talking animal or at least a talking rat. Thanks to Ballantine Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2024/07/the-lost-story.html
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SheTreadsSoftly | 4 other reviews | Jul 8, 2024 |
This book reminds of TJ Klune with the whimsical tone of it. The main location of this book is Clock Island where Lucy, as a child, ran away to meet the author of her favorite books to get away from her family life. Years later, she was not the only child who did that and the author invited all the people back to the island for a contest. And the winner would get the solo copy of the last book in the series. It just had such a fun nature to this. Lucy was also low on cash and she wanted to adopt a little boy. I don't remember now if she got the book, but I do know she ended up with the author's assistant and was able to adopt the little boy and they lived on Clock Island. I read this a few months ago, so the whole story isn't as fresh. But I just remember loving the whimsical feel of this book. The author has a new book coming out this month that I'm excited to read! I would definitely own this if I came across this at a book sale!… (more)
½
 
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Mav-n-Libby | 41 other reviews | Jul 3, 2024 |

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