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The Wish House
Cover of The Wish House
The Wish House
Borrow Borrow
Richard has hung out at the abandoned house in the woods during his summer vacation for as long as he can remember. But this year, he discovers that a family has moved in. The father, J. A. Dalton, is an internationally renowned artist who insists on painting Richard's portrait, while Dalton's wife draws the boy into her circle as though he were one of the family's bohemian adult friends.
But it is their beautiful daughter, Clio, with whom Richard becomes obsessed. Soon he finds ways to spend days–and nights–with Clio, all the while struggling to understand and fit in with her eccentric clan. How can he know that some mysteries are best left unsolved–and that the passions of a single summer will change his life forever?
Richard has hung out at the abandoned house in the woods during his summer vacation for as long as he can remember. But this year, he discovers that a family has moved in. The father, J. A. Dalton, is an internationally renowned artist who insists on painting Richard's portrait, while Dalton's wife draws the boy into her circle as though he were one of the family's bohemian adult friends.
But it is their beautiful daughter, Clio, with whom Richard becomes obsessed. Soon he finds ways to spend days–and nights–with Clio, all the while struggling to understand and fit in with her eccentric clan. How can he know that some mysteries are best left unsolved–and that the passions of a single summer will change his life forever?
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Listen
  • OverDrive MP3 Audiobook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.7
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    MG+
  • Text Difficulty:
    7 - 12

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Celia Rees is one of Britain's foremost writers for teenagers, and her titles have enjoyed huge success; her novel Witch Child has been translated into 25 languages. Celia has a degree in History, a strong interest in which is evident in her brilliantly researched books and skillfully plotted adventures. Celia lives in Leamington Spa, England, with her husband. Visit her online at celiarees.com
    Christopher Cazenove was a British cinema, television, and stage actor whose career spanned over three decades. In America, he was a regular in the television series Dynasty. His television credits include appearances on Charmed, Nash Bridges, and Tales from the Crypt.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine For mature teens, the story of Richard and Clio and their summer together draws on the theme of first love. Christopher Cazenove's narration engages as the account of Richard and Clio's time together moves between the past and the present. The story features descriptions of paintings from that summer by Clio's famous father. One storytelling device juxtaposes the captions on the paintings with startling scenes from Clio's unconventional family life, which Richard finds captivating. Casenove's nuanced performance illuminates the deception that Richard experiences and its effect on him. The secret of what happened that summer is finally revealed at the end of the story. L.D.H. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 14, 2006
    Although Rees's (Witch Child
    ) story of the life-changing summer when Richard was 15 begins with an air of mystery ("first real kiss, first true love, first sex. First death"), the true thrust of the novel is an exploration of the nature of creativity and life on the fringes of society. The author begins in 1982, as Richard, now 21, enters a gallery where his image plays a starring role in the erotic exhibition on display. The paintings touch off flashbacks to the summer of 1976 in Wales, six years earlier, when he first meets the artist, Jethro Arnold ("Jay") Dalton, and his family. Rees fluidly incorporates the image of each painting and the events surrounding it; the Daltons' home, the Wish House of the title, is simultaneously grand and decaying, seductive and forbidding. The backdrop, too, evokes an era when joints, open marriages, and running naked on the beach were common. Clio, the artist's teenage daughter, fascinates and enthralls Richard, and the two soon begin spending days exploring the woods and meadows, and the nights exploring each other. Eventually, Richard realizes there has been a terrible betrayal that changes his view of everything. Rees is at the top of her form. The "gallery notes" describing the works by Clio and her father anchor the story, told in third-person from Richard's point of view, while the solid characterizations carry along the flashback scenes. A top-notch look at first love, heartbreak, and the driving force of passion. Ages 14-up.

  • School Library Journal

    August 1, 2007
    Gr 9 Up-Richard's 15th summer, vacationing in the Welsh countryside with his family, is filled with pleasurable and painful epiphanies when he meets the bohemian Dalton family who live in The Wish House. Celia Rees's coming-of-age novel (Candlewick, 2006) revolves around the complex relationships of the family and friends of J. A Dalton, a demanding, often quixotic, artist. It's a time of many firsts for the vacationing Richard whose sexual encounters with the artist's daughter Cleo draw the teen into a freewheeling life, very different from his own buttoned-down family. Despite his sudden inclusion in the daily life of the Daltons, Richard is often unsure about why he's there. Not only is he sleeping with Cleo, but Dalton is also painting his portrait. When Richard misunderstands what's going on behind closed doors, he sets an inevitable tragedy in motion. The story's setting is reinforced by British narrator Christopher Cazenove. Smoothly sophisticated, he creates identifiable characters with vocal personas that reflect their unique, sometimes quirky, personalities. Each section of the novel begins with catalogue-style descriptions of Dalton artwork that frame the action in the story. Though set in 1976, Richard experiences the classic internal conflicts that concern teens today. An author's note at the end reminds listeners about the importance of responsible sexual behavior."Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT"

    Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    Public performance: 
    Not permitted
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    Not permitted
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    Not permitted
    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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