November 20, 2006

Not What He'd Wished For

This book is a 2006 Cybil Award Nominee for YA Fiction.

It's 1976, and fifteen-year-old Richard is on yet another scorching hot summer vacation in Wales, where his mother has her head in a novel, and his father spends his days fishing. Richard's best friend from the vacation village, Dylan, has dropped out of school, and Richard's at a loose end... he's still a boy in Dylan's eyes, and not yet man enough to do what he wants.

Richard goes back to what he and Dylan called The Wish House, the abandoned mansion where he and the two of them spent fun afternoons imagining themselves as pirates and buccaneers. To his surprise, he finds it refurbished, cleaned up, and occupied -- by a naked woman, lying in the front garden, sunning her voluptuous self. From upstairs, Richard sees a girl, dressed only in a saraong, who comes down and escorts him outside. He has now met the Daltons - Jethro Dalton, a world-famous painter, his wife, Lucia, who seems to have slept with the whole town, their amiable son, Joe, and their gorgeous daughter, Clio. The Daltons, who fascinate and shock Richard, casually smoke dope and strip naked on the beach. Their easy, bohemian ways intrigue and interest Richard, who, even as he is somewhat afraid of them, is fascinated. He wants nothing more to be a part of the crowd. It seems that fate hands him Clio Dalton, a girl who also loves to play in the woods, imagining scenes from long ago. Jethro and Lucia seem happy to have Richard around, and his and Clio's summer love is as idyllic as the sun-drenched days. When Richard is initiated into the family by becoming a model for Jethro, it seems he has all he could ever want. But when it all ends, Richard begins to understand that his time at the Wish House wasn't fate at all...

A dark, disturbing novel about joy and lust, obsession and betrayal.

No comments: