Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Ann M. Martin
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Abby Nichols is a kind, strong-willed girl living in the 1930s. Starting out poor, Abby is content living by the sea in their small cottage, surrounded by good friends. However, as her father’s business booms, she soon becomes the daughter of the second richest family in their town. After suffering the deaths of some of her close friends and family members and unsuccessfully trying to live under the tight rule of her poor-tempered father, Abby takes off for New York to start a life of her own.
Better to Wish is the first book in a four-part series spanning four generations, a quartet which promises to be as delightful as its opening story. Abby is a character that readers will come to love and sympathize with. The setting proves to be crucially important, as many of the customs and mindsets depicted in the book are typical of that era. The story is written in the form of memories from different days and years, which could be confusing; however, Martin gives the reader identifying information about the characters ages or grades to let the reader know how much time has passed. This format allows readers to grow up with Abby and follow her life throughout the years, which is the perfect setup for telling a story about four generations throughout four books.