Death, the afterlife, and Just One Wish

Over the years since I wrote Just One Wish, I’ve received many emails about the ending. Some of them ask me what happens to Jeremy, Annika, and Steve. While I was answering this question in an email, I thought I’d put the answer out here on the blogosphere for anyone else who wonders  why I wrote a less than happy ending. (Actually, when you think about it–at least when you think about it like I do– it’s a very happy ending.)

Here’s the thing about Just One Wish. I wrote the book because I was tired of all the books where a character dies (there are soo many) and no one in the book ever talks or thinks about God or the afterlife. It seems to me that anyone who is faced with death thinks about God and the afterlife. Instead, the character usually says something along the lines of, “S/he lives on inside of us.”

That philosophy has never been comforting to me because my mother died when I was six years old. I only have memories of her being sick from cancer. I don’t want to believe that she lives on inside of me, I believe that when I die I’ll see her again, along with my grandparents. And it will be a happy reunion.

You asked if Jeremy survived.The reason I probably will not write a sequel is that there is no way I could kill him off in a book. (I modeled him physically on one of my sons so I would be sure to write about him with emotion.) If I wrote a sequel, he would be miraculously cured.

However, when I wrote the book and considered curing him, I thought: Yeah, but even if he does live now, he’s going to die one day. The problem of death is still there. I would just put it off for a few decades. We all have to face death one way or another. So the only truly happy ending is one where a character has faith that there is a God and an afterlife where we can be together with our friends and family.

So does Jeremy survive? Let’s say yes–he’ll live for awhile. For how long, I’m not sure. Days or decades. But his death, and mine, and yours will be okay if we’ve lived lives we can be proud of.

Do Annika and Steve stay together? Of course! In my mind all of my characters (even though most of them are in high school) live happily ever after with their guy. (Hey, it happens. I know people who married their high school sweetheart and are still together.) I’m a romantic like that.


  1. Tiana Smith
    March 20, 2015 at 7:11 am

    This is kind of how I viewed it “ending” also. Although, in my mind, Jeremy doesn’t make it too much longer and Annika learns that children go to a better place. Still, this kind of thing is super hard, especially when you make your characters so gosh darn relatable and likeable. *shakes fist at author*

  2. Beedubbs
    March 21, 2015 at 2:20 am

    And THAT is why I love your books.

    Just One Wish was the first book I ever read by you, and I am ever so glad I randomly picked it off the library shelf one day. You’re the only author I’ve ever followed religiously.

    Thank you for writing!

  3. Erica Eliza
    March 23, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I love how you’re not afraid to include religious themes in your books. Especially Echo in Time! I always roll my eyes a little when dystopian worlds have completely erased religion in just a century or so when it has survived so much more.

  4. Amelie
    April 4, 2015 at 9:30 am

    LOVE the way you see this, because that’s exactly how I would’ve imagined it =) And that Jeremy didn’t die is one of the things I loved most about Just one Wish… God, it’s time to reread that one, since I’ve already reread the Godmother novels twice xD

    Speaking of… May I ask about the third Godmother novel? I know patience is a value that everyone should develop over time, but there are just some things in life, that I simply do not want to wait for xD I just wanna know, if it’s gonna take more than a month or two, so I can get used to the idea of having to wait a while longer 😛

    • Janette Rallison
      April 4, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      It’s being formatted right now and should be up in the next day or two.So we’re sooo close!

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