Award-winning author Fiona Wood delivers a thought-provoking story of self-discovery and first love-one that will resonate with anyone who has ever realized that the things that make you different are the things that make you...you.
For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn't even know she's alive? Pointless.
So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother's PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can't help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cloudwish stands apart from other stories about young love thanks in large part to author Fiona Wood's choice of heroine: Van Uoc, the timid, uncool daughter of Vietnamese refugees, works hard to maintain her scholarship at a prestigious high school. So when Van Uoc’s crush takes an interest in her, she’s understandably skeptical. Cloudwish is a heartwarming tale of what happens when dreams actually come true. At the same time, the story touches on important themes of race and class divides and immigrants’ struggles with mental health and identity.
Van Uoc Phan's hardworking parents, refugees from Vietnam, have a dream for her in Australia: they want her to become a doctor and expect her to focus on her studies at her prestigious Melbourne school. She wants to be an artist, however, and spends a great deal of time fantasizing about her crush, athletic ladies' man Billy Gardiner. When her wish to be noticed by him mysteriously comes true, she suspects that magic is afoot, especially after Billy seems to want more than friendship. The question of whether Billy is actually spellbound or truly falling in love creates suspense throughout the novel, as Van Uoc begins to enjoy being swept off her feet. Besides tracing the excitement and anxiety associated with first love (real or imagined), Wood (Six Impossible Things) offers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It's an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don't want to travel. Ages 12 up.