Richard is a shy, lonely boy just looking for a friend to spend the long summer days with while his family camps in the hills of Wales. He finds that friend in Clio, a beautiful, precocious girl whose artistic family and bohemian ways are at odds with the conventional life Richard leads. Still, Richard is bewitched by Clio’s beauty and gets caught up in her elaborate game of make-believe, which starts out with them acting out ancient mythological stories, but always ends with them making love in some secluded area of the woods. Soon, Richard is completely smitten with Clio, visiting everyday at her family’s ramshackle summer cottage that Richard has dubbed The Wish House. But then he discovers a dark secret about her family that causes him to commit a terrible act of destruction. Will Clio ever forgive him? Can Richard forgive himself? This sensuous, psychological read manages to be seriously steamy without getting gratuitously graphic. While this ripping good romance doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, older teen readers will appreciate Rees’s unflinching portrayal of the perils of first love, and her thorough examination of betrayal, consequence and redemption through the lives of these two passionate and completely real characters.
The Wish House by Celia Rees