Can you trust God once more after your life has been broken? It doesn't happen overnight, as 17-year-old Maranatha Winningham learns in this well-crafted story. WISHING ON DANDELIONS is a follow-up to WATCHING THE TREE LIMBS, in which Maranatha is abused by a young neighbor. In the opening pages of Mary DeMuth's latest novel, the reader learns that Natha's best friend Camille has left the small town of Burl, Texas, for college. Natha, meanwhile, plunges into her senior year of high school.
Because both her parents are dead, Natha lives with her father's brother. Since his stroke, Uncle Zane moves much slower and, while never much of a conversationalist, talks even less. Natha's home life is in turmoil when Uncle Zane marries Georgeanne, who has her own ideas about how the household should be run and in what part of town to live. Throughout the story, Georgeanne tries to build some sort of a relationship with Natha but often ends up crossing some imaginary barrier and offending the teen.
Then Violin Charlie, the son of a judge who lives in a better area in Burl, invites Natha to the Homecoming Dance. Georgeanne pitches in and takes Natha to purchase a new pink dress, building a bit of good will. Ultimately, Georgeanne has plans to move the entire family to this better part of town, which throws Natha into a panic as she wonders if she will be able to leave the protection of the house she has always known.
The abuse from the past comes roaring back into Natha's life. One day she rides her bicycle to a property where she likes to think. A man named Jake Gully confronts her about trespassing and then offers her a ride into town. When she gets into his truck, he takes off away from town and acts suggestively toward her. Natha manages to escape and reports the incident to the police. Miss Nichols, the assistant district attorney, pressures Natha to testify against Gully. After being convinced that he will be freed without her testimony, a reluctant Natha finally agrees to take that big step, as friends and family gather to support her throughout the trial.
WISHING ON DANDELIONS will keep the reader turning pages to see how Natha deals with the various obstacles that life throws in her direction. DeMuth has written an emotionally-charged novel that will help others grow in their own faith relationship.
Reviewed by W. Terry Whalin on September 15, 2006