2016 Texas' "Great Read"

Wish Girl By Nikki Loftin



Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Texas State Library and Archives Commission and Texas Center for the Book chooses a work by a Texas Author to represent the rich cultural identity of the Lone Star State This year we have chosen "Wish Girl" by Nikki Loftin. Loftin's setting of the Texas Hill Country serves as the perfect backdrop to a story of finding friendship in the most unexpected places.


Thumbnail of Wish Girl Book CoverWish Girl by Nikki Loftin

Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name.

When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think. There, he meets a girl his age: Annie Blythe. Annie tells Peter she’s a “wish girl.” But Annie isn’t just any wish girl: she’s a “Make-A-Wish Girl.” And in two weeks she will begin a dangerous treatment to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Left alone, the disease will kill her. But the treatment may cause serious, lasting damage to her brain.

Annie and Peter hatch a plan to escape into the valley, which they begin to think is magical. But the pair soon discovers that the valley—and life—may have other plans for them. And sometimes wishes come true in ways they would never expect.



Nikki Loftin is the author of three novels for young readers: Wish Girl, which was selected as the “Great Read of Texas” for the National Book Festival by the Texas Center for the Book; Nightingale’s Nest, named as “the next great book” by the Children’s Literacy Foundation in 2014, and awarded the best children’s book of 2014 by the Texas Institute of Letters; and The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy, winner of the Writer’s League of Texas Book Award 2013. 

 Nikki has also written for the Guys Read: Terrifying Tales and Dear Teen Me anthologies, among others. Nikki holds an MA from UT Austin in English/Fiction Writing, and presents writing workshops and keynote speeches at schools and conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

Nikki lives and writes just outside Austin  surrounded by dogs, goats, chickens, and rambunctious boys. For inspiration, Nikki reads fairy tales, bakes obsessively, and when all else fails, puts on a unicorn head and runs around her office to draw the Muse's attention.


Reader/Teacher Resources

Icon of a figure pointing to a screen. Links to the TSLAC Training page.Discussion Guide Book Trailer  



Past Texas "Great Read" Titles

2015 2014 2013 2012  

Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia

 With His Pistol In His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero

The Time It Never Rained

Old Yeller


Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia,
Carmen Lomas Garza


With His Pistol In His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero,
Americo Paredes

The Time It Never Rained,
Elmer Kelton

Old Yeller,
Fred Gipson


Click below view suggested titles by states or download the complete lists.


Page last modified: July 11, 2017