9780547763484At Winter Institute, I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Urban, author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect. She is currently promoting her latest book, The Center of Everything (HMH, $15.99). I had sent a copy of A Crooked Kind of Perfect to my godbaby for her 9th birthday and she love it, so I asked Linda to sign a copy for her. That was weeks ago and I just got around to mailing it off today, because of course I wanted to read it first. Ruby, age 12, is also the Essay Girl for her town’s local parade, which celebrates Captain Bunning, the town founder and inventor of the donut hole (not really). Thanks to a rather complicated local tradition (successfully toss a quarter dated with the year of your birth through the outstretched hands of the founder’s statue on your birthday after repeating your wish 90 times), Ruby has earned herself a Bunning Day wish. Ruby’s grandmother, Gigi, has recently passed away, and Ruby wants something that can only come from a wish. But wishes are funny things and often have rules and guidelines just tricky enough to allude even the most accomplished wisher. Ruby’s wish — the one she wished on her birthday, and all the wishes she hasn’t dared to wish in case she jeopardizes her hard-won birthday wish — flits through the narrative. Her wish dances around her, carefully nudging her along, so that by the time she realizes her wish isn’t going to be granted, she’s found everything that she didn’t know to wish for.