In the village of Bishop Mayne is a magical Wishing Well where a person may make one wish in a lifetime. But the Well can create problems for those who use its power, for wishes often go wrong. It was just such a wish that took all the children in the town away. Only eleven-year-old Nuria, who lives with her grandfather up on the mountain, remains.
Then one child returns—Catty Winter. Catty's legs are mysteriously crippled, and Catty desperately wants Nuria to make a wish so she can walk again. Nuria swears she will make the wish for her friend. But the Well has a mind of its own. What if Nuria's wish goes wrong?
“An unusual first novel with folkloric overtones, this fast-moving story of friendship sought and found, and wishes gone awry, captures readers’ interest while retaining a will-o’-the-wisp sense of mystery.” –School Library Journal
“The rich storytelling, vibrant and insightful characterization, and elegant writing style make Billingsley an author to watch.” –Booklist
Booklist Top Ten First Novels for Youth
Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize honor book (best fantasy written in the English Language, 1997-8)
School Library Journal “Sleeper”: 100 Books Too Good to Miss
Chicago Public Library, Best of the Best 1997, Stories for Older Readers
Utah Children’s Book Award, 2000-2001
The mass of smoke slipped into the loft just as the clocks announced midnight. It floated to its spot above Nuria's bed, already swimming into focus as Catty's face.
Nuria was suspended inside her own body, suspended as the smoke-face was suspended before her; and she and the smoke-face were two stillnesses inside a room of ticking clocks and passing time. It wasn't until the smoke-face grew fuzzy around the edges that Nuria's blood began to wheel once more through her body. It made a roaring in her ears and she struggled not to cry out for the Avy. He'd never let her play with Catty again, if he knew. But some inside part of her was screaming, and she pushed through a tangled web of dreams to find the Avy standing at her bedside.