Twenty-eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

Rose Gardner has been under her mother’s thumb for all of her twenty-four years, and it’s really unfortunate that she picks the day her mother is murdered to finally stand up to her. But I get ahead of myself. Let me back up a bit.

The young Miss Gardner lives in a small town in Arkansas and everyone there knows she’s a bit odd. You see, she has these…visions. They’re usually benign, like someone’s dog gets out of the yard or their freezer has been accidentally unplugged. But the very worse one Rose has is about herself. And not just any vision, she imagines herself dead—bashed in the head and left to bleed all over her mother’s sofa. And the worst part of it all—she knows who’s going to kill her.

Faced with her own morality, Rose makes a list of 28 things to do before she dies. Well, 28 and a half—number 29 she leaves blank, waiting on inspiration to strike as to what the last wish should be. But then she finds her mother dead, and Rose, now free from her down-trodden existence, starts to explore her life. With the help of her neighbor, Rose starts living out her 28 wishes including, “do more with a boy.”But as she grows as a person and comes into herself, she slowly uncovers why her mother was murdered and much more about her family. And the man who’s out to kill her…well, you’ll just have to read it to find out why.

Swanks unorthodox sense of humor had me snickering page after page and out right laughing on many others. The book is clever, funny, and bright. A great read that despite an occasional serious note (oh, like murder) will leave you smiling in the end.

I have to share my favorite line from the book. Rose and her dog have gone after the bad guy (that’s all you’ll get out of me plot-wise), they get to their destination and the narrative reads, I told her (the dog) she could come but, she had to be quiet. It seemed like a stupid thing to say, but I felt the need to tell her something. We couldn’t very well synchronize watches. I stopped wearing mine when I got a cell phone.

Take this charming sense of humor and likeable characters and mix them with a plot shot with just enough adventure for our small town virgin and you have Twenty-eight and a Half Wishes, a book that should definitely be at the top of your “to be read” pile of books.

And even better (you guessed it) I got Denise to come onto my blog today! (You’re welcome.). Here’s what Denise has to say about Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes.

I’ve had several people read Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes and tell me “This would make a great movie! I can see it in my head!” And of course, it’s every author’s dream to have a movie made from their book and pictures of your character’s plastered on the side of Burger King cups. Oh, wait. That’s Stephenie Myer and her Twilight characters. But an author can dream anyway, regardless of what fast food chain sponsors the film. But to have a movie, or cups for that matter, you have to have a cast.

I had already come up with a cast of sorts when I made the book trailer for Twenty-Eight. But it’s difficult. You’re limited to royalty photos and the perfect picture might actually be an actor you can’t use.

One morning, I texted my friend Trisha and said: I’m going to create my dream cast for Twenty-Eight.

Trisha: Good idea. Who do you have in mind for Rose?

Me: (five minutes later) Got any ideas?

Then Trisha proceeded to make suggestions for the rest of the morning while I said yay or nay. Lucky for me, Trisha is excellent at this game.

Rose: Ginnifer Goodwin 

I expected Rose to take hours. Days. As I wrote Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes I saw the world through Rose’s eyes and she didn’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. I knew she looked sweet and pretty but not exotically beautiful. Ginnifer captures her perfectly.

Joe: Scott Foley

Joe was harder than I expected but then again, I saw him through Rose’s eyes. He had to be handsome but not overly so, a nice body but not overly muscular. It’s hard to match that perfectly, but Scott Foley comes close. Plus, I wouldn’t mind seeing some sweat dripping down the side of his Burger King cup.

Violet: Piper Perabo

Violet was the older, cuter, savvier sister. Violet cares how she looks and cares what the town thinks about her. But Violet lives in little Henryetta, Arkansas, not a big city. So she had to have a sophisticated look but not look out of place in a small town. Piper works perfectly.

Daniel Crocker: James Frain

When Trisha suggested James Frain, I wasn’t so sure. Then I looked him up on and realized he was a played a crazy, evil vampire on True Blood. While Daniel Crocker isn’t a vampire, he’s not a very nice man. I have no doubt James Frain could pull it off.

Mildred: Randee Heller

Mildred is Rose’s eighty-two-year-old neighbor who is not only president of Henryetta’s Garden Club but also in charge of the Neighborhood Watch, otherwise known as the Busybody Club. Nothing gets by Mildred and she lets everybody know it.


Muffy is the dog Rose adopts. What Muffy doesn’t have going for her on the outside, she makes up for with personality. It will take a special dog to fill Muffy’s shoes.

Well, there you have it! My dream cast for Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes!

Gee, now all you have to find is a producer, and a director, and a…sigh. If only it were as easy as it is in our dreams! Good luck, Denise. I read the book (duh), and I think it would make a great movie too! :)

But since I don’t have a movie trailer to share, I have the next best thing, a book trailer. Click below and go check it out.



4 thoughts on “Twenty-eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

  1. Im reading this book and it is straight up amazing I love it! They need to make it into a movie!

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