Book Review by Dennis M. on Amazon, June 25, 2017:
A true page-turner and a well-researched novel:
The story is about a young woman named Maria Elena who lives in a violent city in South America. All she ever wanted was to graduate from school and go to college, but they seem to be an impossible task.
She plans on moving to Los Angeles, but to do that, she must bite the bullet and seek the help of a few undesirables. The author introduces each character with detailed backgrounds, and it is effortless for the readers to know them.
Years later, she finally earns money to pay her smugglers, and she is finally taken to the land she had been dreaming. But she ended up in Santa Ana.She escapes from the men who hold her as a captive, lands a job that pays a meager salary and meets a boy who loves her. You would think that things are rosy from this point, but her situation takes another turn for the worse. In a true fashion of an adventure, which this novel is, she is forced to run away again because the ‘bad guys’ are after her—she must test her luck in the cruel streets of Southern California.
As the story progresses, the readers are absorbed with the action and the anticipation that something could go wrong. Maria Elena must think of what she has to do to survive her day. Nothing goes right. She has to think on her feet and must adapt to the ever-changing situation.
There is a bit of Maria Elena in all of us because, on this novel, each scene captures the very essence that we all fear the most—being alone in this world with no one to love us and no place to call home.
I am not giving away the ending; all I can say is that it left me wondering what’s going to happen to her. There is a sequel coming, and I hope that the hundreds of questions floating in my mind would be answered.
I am already looking forward to reading what is going to happen to Maria Elena.
Book Review by J. Murphy on Amazon, June 3, 2017:
A Must read - you won't want to put it down
This is a must read. I liked the way the author developed the plot and the characters. Mollie Moon knows exactly how to keep you hooked and not wanting to put the book down. I can't wait for the sequel - hope she is doing one!
Book Review by Riri on GoodReads, May 14, 2017:
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK! BOOK TWO PLEASE. I NEED BOOK TWO
It's crazy how I was able to finish this book... I've been doing overtime at work everyday and still finished this in a few days! I'm actually having a hard time if I should give this a one star or a five star. One star because this book broke my heart and there's no book two! Huhu ( Like seriously though it really did broke my heart and OMG Maria Elena why don't you just listen to Don Francisco? You're supposed to be smart 🙁 but seriously though I don't think I can even live with my conscience with giving this one star.
T.T I badly need to know what happens to Maria Elena. And I absolutely love Don Francisco. Please don't let him die... And there's more people I love.... And also hate 😛
This book gave me a rollercoaster ride but I absolutely love it 🙂 This are my kind of books.
Book Review by Stephanie Colton on Amazon, May 10, 2017:
A good story, appealing main character, approaches tough topics in relatable way
This is a very good story that approaches tough topics of poverty and human trafficking in a way that anyone can relate to. The main character is trying her hardest, persevering, succeeding academically, using good judgment, and yet she still faces constant setbacks and struggles. In other words, poverty and violence aren't restricted to "bad" people who don't try hard enough.
I liked that Five Wishes tackled hard subjects without getting too graphic or resorting to gratuitous sex or violence - you know those things are there, but they aren't in your face. In my opinion the book would be most enjoyed by older teenagers to adults.
This well-researched book made me care about Maria Elena, root for her, and ponder what I would do in similar circumstances. I cannot wait to read the next Mollie Moon book to find out the rest of Maria Elena's life story!
Book Review by Zaiette on Amazon, May 8, 2017:
This is a great story with a few unexpected turns that leave you intrigued and sucked into the book. It’s an easy read about a hard life… Despite personal sufferings and struggles of the main character (try living in the streets of Honduras being a teenage girl for starters), there is a positive feel to the book. You can’t help but thinking there is hope even if you are at the bottom. There are people who will support you and fight for you even in the darkest moments of your life.
I sincerely hope that a sequel to this book is in the works. The ending truly leaves you wondering – what’s next?
Book Review by Joleene Naylor on Amazon, May 1, 2017:
An inspiring book with a relevant topic
Mollie Moon's book is inspiring to all who want a better life for themselves, their children and grandchildren, especially poignant in our current times when immigration is a hot topic. Five Wishes tells the story of Maria Elena, a teenage girl who does everything in her power to build a better future. Growing up in poverty in Honduras, she studies hard, takes odd jobs, lives on the streets, and saves every penny to pay her way to the US in hope of a happier life. But, when she arrives, her fears, struggles, and obstacles are far from over. If she can just hang on, the promise of something good is hanging just over the horizon. Mollie’s style is visual, tactile, real. A fantastic read that pulls on your heartstrings and makes you live and feel with the protagonist.
Book Review by Jacqueline Carr, March 25, 2017 on Bookshelf at EastCountyMagazine.org: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/features/best-east-county/san-diego-bookshelf
"Five Wishes" is such an informative read about aspiration and desperation. At the tender age of 15 these two girls wanted to escape the poverty of Honduras to the bright lights and supposedly better life in Los Angeles, but their naivete, and gullibility steered them in the wrong direction. Though fictional, this well reviewed book "Five Wishes" sheds a bright light on human trafficking, and to a lesser degree on parenting, and the psychology of early childhood behavior. This book's could have also been entitled "The Escape" because that was the ultimate goal of the main characters. Like, Mr. Moore, I felt empathy and to a certain degree some sort of sympathy for both girls. This book will be a difficult read for me, however I commend Ms. Moon for writing it and bringing to light the various issues raised in her book. Jacqueline Carr - Author of Quiet Thoughts and A Selected Few Just For You.
Book Review by Carole McKee, March 21, 2017 on Bookshelf at EastCountyMagazine.org: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/features/best-east-county/san-diego-bookshelf
Immigration seems to be on everyone's mind lately. Personally, I feel bad that our country is becoming so divided and that hate is so prevalent these days. Mollie Moon's book comes at just the right time. From the review, it sounds wonderful, and I fully intend to purchase it. Good find, Dennis Moore.
Book Review by MJ Payne, March 21, 2017 on Bookshelf at EastCountyMagazine.org: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/features/best-east-county/san-diego-bookshelf
Mollie Moon's book deals with the subject of human sexual trafficking, a timely and dramatically important subject. The trafficking of desperate persons, many of them children or young teens is a huge source of revenue for persons with no conscience who are after money. A human can be sold many times over a period of years, while a drug is sold once and another dose must be produced to keep the addicted in that condition. Human victims of the sex trade are controlled in numerous ways and have few if any resources to free themselves of their tormentors. This is a rampant and worldwide problem where many people go missing unexpectedly and are never heard from again. Because of the huge amount of money that can be made from this activity in some areas it dwarfs drug sales in revenue. It is hard to get convictions and stop this insidious practice because there are so many vulnerable ones, like in Mollie Moon's book. In Rotherham, England sex trafficking that exploited white, working class girls flourished for many years and the police were involved so it has been difficult to say the least to get any convictions. These girls suffered horribly, were gang raped, and groomed by potential traffickers who give gifts and sweet talk gullible girls until they are part of the network of the exploited and marginalized community of the victims of the sex trade. It is a grave problem for women and children and needs to be addressed whenever possible. MJ Payne, Author of "The Remembered Self: A Journey into the Heart of the Beast".
Book Review by Stephen D. Merrick, March 20, 2017 on Amazon
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Amazing Book by an Amazing Author!!
The author is brilliant and it is an amazing story. I don't want to be a spoil alert so my advice is get it and enjoy!!! I have recommended it to all my friends.
Book Review by Dennis Moore, March 20, 2017, on Bookshelf at EastCountyMagazine.org: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/features/best-east-county/san-diego-bookshelf
Five Wishes is the author’s second novel, following upon her novel; Branded by Fate.It is clear to me by reading this second and well-written novel by Moon, that she has a vivid and expressive imagination which bodes well for her future endeavors.
This book by Moon is timely, as it touches on a subject that seems to be in the headlines almost daily, immigration and border crossing. Whatever opinions one might have on other cultures and immigration reform, Moon’s book is bound to strike a nerve and give food for thought.
Five Wishes resonates with me for a variety of reasons. Most notably, due to my once living in Tijuana, Mexico for five years, and making the comparison of Tijuana with that of Comayagüela, Honduras described by Moon in this fascinating and insightful book. I embraced the culture of Tijuana, just as the author has indicated that it was actually her embrace and fascination with different cultures that motivated her in writing this book.
The shantytowns and card board box homes depicted on the cover of this book, is also something that I marveled at while in Tijuana, and became quite familiar with. The humble lifestyles of the Mexican community there is something that I will always remember. For that reason alone, I can fully understand and appreciate Maria Elena and what she and her family had to endure.
Maria Elena grows up in a violent, poverty-stricken barrio in Honduras. Her dream of a better life becomes more realistic when she makes friends with Lolita, who seems to have the right connections. Together, they plan an escape to Los Angeles, but Lolita’s connection is Tio, a drug lord and human trafficker. In spite of her misgivings about Tio, Maria Elena joins Lolita and escapes her futureless life, only to end up in a foreign country – alone, hungry, and scared.
Although Maria Elena and Lolita were from different sides of the track, as different from night and day, they would forge a bond out of necessity and mutual admiration. This is truly a friendship to be envied and cherished. Having met and come together at the tender age of 15, Maria Elena and Lolita would become the sisters that neither one of them had previously, sharing their innermost secrets and aspirations in life. But this sisterhood would ultimately come apart, as a shady and promiscuous side of Lolita would compromise Maria Elena’s principles, and expose them both to the human trafficking aspect of this book.
It is ironic that Moon would pick a “Tio” as a drug lord and human trafficker in her book, for as I discussed with her in our phone interview last night, I was aware of a “Tio” in Tijuana, Mexico that was actually a drug lord – and was known to have kidnapped and killed his victims in a vat of acid. Moon gasped in surprise when I shared this with her, as she stated to me that she picked and named “Tio” off the top of her head. This particular “Tio” in Tijuana has since been captured and serving a lifetime in federal prison. The photo and actual capture of Teodoro Garcia Simental (‘El Teo’) in 2010 is pictured here.
The author unwittingly opened up a brutal chapter in Tijuana crime and drug lore by using “Tio” as the fictional drug lord and human trafficker in her book. It certainly adds to the allure of the book and story. Almost everyone in Southern California and Baja has heard of ‘El Teo’ and are aware of his sordid history.
It is important to note the “Tio” described by Moon in this riveting book, and the one that 15-year-old Maria Elena would unwittingly find herself ensnared with, as the author states: “Tio loved to plot. He was good at it. He plotted the next exodus, as he called it, taking about thirty-five desperate souls by boat to a new life. Most of them wanted to go to Miami or Los Angeles, others to Amsterdam, Hamburg, or London. Tio had connections to cruise ships docking on the US West Coast as well as in Rotterdam, the largest harbor in the Netherlands; Hamburg, Germany; and of course London, England. He was planning four new loads for the remainder of the year, one to each destination, which meant he had to line up a total of 130 people, get them new passports, new identities, have a meeting with each group to prepare them for the new culture, and make promises about lucrative jobs and better lives.” Mind you, two naïve 15-year-old girls, Maria Elena and Lolita, find themselves involved with an unscrupulous character like this!
Five Wishes is full of intrigue, with many twists and turns, worthy of a Hollywood movie. I can actually see noted actor Benicio Del Toro in a starring role in the movie, with Selma Hayak as Maria Elena. Watch out for the movie!
Moon really has a way with words and expressing herself, making the reader feel as if they are actually there in the room or outside in an area being described. That is a technique that bodes well for the author in her future literary pursuits. Some of what she says, and how she says it, seems poetic. She is a master storyteller.
The danger and riskiness, along with the sordid nature of what is described in this story is exemplified in a particular passage, which states: “Angel, these kinds of people are dangerous. That’s human trafficking. These are criminals. They have no respect for human life. You should not get involved with them. You cannot trust them.” Maria Elena’s early desires and aspirations from a little girl, to make something worthwhile of her life, would lead her in this direction. Desperate lives sometimes requires desperate measures!
Maria Elena’s childhood experiences and relationship with her father goes a long way into explaining the desperation in her motives and desires for her life. Moon conveys a deep psychological message in her story – that the reader has to read closely and between the lines. A case in point, is when Elena tells her mother early on that; “Sometimes Pa scares me.” There is something Freudian about that, especially in the context that the author describes it.
Maria Elena’s youthful exuberance and her defiance of her mother’s expectations, would result in her being thrown out in the street with no place to stay, ultimately leading to a pivotal night in her life. That pivotal night coming all at once, would occur when she would be sleeping out on the street and discover the murder of her childhood friend Josefina, and later that same night she would be forcibly tied up and raped.
This is a heartrending story in so many ways, that I found myself feeling such profound sympathy and empathy for Maria Elena, and all because she wanted something better for herself in life.
There is a surprising and poignant ending to this insightful and well-written story that puts the focus on human trafficking in such a way for readers to take the issue more seriously – a book that I highly recommend.
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor for the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine, as well as a freelance contributor to EURweb based out of Los Angeles. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.
Book Review by Diane, March 6, 2017 on Amazon
I loved reading this book. I couldn't put it down and OMG what and ending!! I'm DYING for the sequel. I'm not ready for it to be over. I loved reading about Lolita and her antics and Don Francisco - what a character he is. And then there is Tito who is soooo evil! I didn't mind him at first, bit then he turned and I started to hate him. The plot zigzagged and I want more! The ending is fantastic, I never saw it coming. What a great adventure. Mollie, please write the sequel or I will go bonkers!