Saturday, April 16, 2022

Wish Upon a Crawdad by Curtis W. Condon

Wish Upon a Crawdad takes place in rural America during the waning years of the Great Depression. Times are still lean, but there are glimmers of hope—especially for resourceful kids, like Ruby Mae Ryan.

Ruby isn't your typical, depression-era twelve-year-old. For one thing, she's got a jar full of coins, thanks to her crawdad business and other odd jobs. But she doesn't let the money go to her head. She's too busy trying to make more. That's because she's got something special in mind, and time is running out. So, Ruby calls on crawdads for help.

A lot of people wish on the first star at night. Ruby does that, too, but she also wishes on the first crawdad of the day. She figures the odds are better. "Not many folks wish upon a crawdad," Ruby says. To convince doubters of their magic, Ruby points to a wish coming true as the story unfolds. Electricity: she's never had it--no one in the valley has--until she wished upon a crawdad.

But now, Ruby has another wish. She wants something so badly she won't even say what it is out loud, afraid that might jinx the wish. Instead, Ruby calls it her "secret surprise." The only other people who know about it are Daddy and her best friend, Virginia. And they'll never tell. Or will they?

Wish Upon a Crawdad is all about friendship and adversity, courage and fear, heartbreak and triumph, and it has as many channels and curves as the creek running through it. Along the way, Ruby searches for a legendary place called Crawdad Haven, kisses a pig, "dances" with an angry dog, escapes death, and even has a chance encounter with a famous dignitary. Not bad for a twelve-year-old, crawdad-catching girl from farm country.

Historical note: The story unfolds during a pivotal time in America. The Great Depression is not yet a memory, and the country is only eighteen months from another world war. Ninety percent of villages and farms don’t have electricity. But that’s begun to change, thanks to rural residents banding together to form their own power companies called rural electric cooperatives. Such is the backdrop for the story, which takes place in 1940 in a valley near the fictional village of Crossroads, Oregon. It’s a fitting name, given rural America—and the entire country—are at the brink of a new age.

Kindle, 235 pages
Expected publication May 3, 2022 
by Heart of Oak Books
3.5/5 stars

The cover is what drew me to this book. The girl actually reminded me a little of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. My intuition was confirmed.

Wish Upon a Crawdad is about Rudy, a 12 year old and her adventures one summer. She is spunky, careful and has a secret - a goal to save her money to buy something special. We don’t know what that something is until the end…mysterious. So her summer is spend catching crawdads and doing other odd jobs - some not always successful. She is feisty, daring and has a short fuse.

This was a fun story, getting to know Rudy, her family and the way of life on a farm in the 1940's. I feel that the finished copy would be best to read, hopefully with some illustrations to showcase the story fully.

Wish upon a Crawdad releases May 3rd and available for preorder now.

My thanks to Heart of Oak Books (via Netgalley) for a digital arc in exchange for honest review.

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