The 2005 reprint's cover illustration depicts Clarissa on a porch in the rain. The 2009 reprint's cover illustration depicts Clarissa's head in a crystal ball in a fortune teller's tent.
MAKE A WISH!
Samantha Byrd is a klutz. An accident waiting to happen. She's the laughingstock of the girls' basketball team. And that mean, rotten Judith Bellwood is making her life miserable on and off the court. But everything's about to change. Sam's met someone who can grant her three wishes. For real. Too bad Sam wasn't careful what she wished for. Because her wishes are coming true. And they're turning her life into a living nightmare!
Samantha "Sam" Byrd is both tall and clumsy. For these reasons, Sam is the subject of teasing from her peers, especially Judith Bellwood. During math class, Judith trips Samantha. During Home Ec class, Judith spills tapioca pudding onto Samantha's shoes, initiating a fight between the two girls. Since Sam is a part of the girls' basketball team, she takes part in a scrimmage later in the day, but she is kneed by Judith during the game.
As Samantha begins biking home, she is stopped by a mysterious woman. The woman says that she is lost. Samantha agrees to give the woman guidance to find her destination. The woman introduces herself as Clarissa, the Crystal Woman. When the two make it to their destination, the woman insists that Samantha deserves some repayment for her good deeds. The woman offers Samantha three wishes. Samantha is skeptical, but she feels that she needs to play along with the woman. Sam wishes to be the strongest player on her basketball team, and the strange woman leaves. Samantha goes home, and she plays basketball with her brother, Ron. Much to her disappointment, Sam finds that her basketball skills had not improved.
The next day, Samantha's middle school has a basketball match against another middle school. During the game, Sam finds that all of her teammates are playing horribly. Her wish had come true but not in the way she intended.
The following day, Judith and Anna are absent from school. Sam blames herself, worrying that she may be the one who caused the girls to become sickly. Later in the day, Sam decides to call Judith. Judith accuses Sam of casting a spell on the basketball team. Sam goes in search of Clarissa the next day. Since she can't find Clarissa, Sam visits Judith, and Judith accuses Sam of being a witch. Judith chants accusations at Sam, so Sam runs out of Judith's house. When she get's outside, she wishes Judith would disappear. Clarissa, who happens to be standing nearby, says that Samantha's first wish will be cancelled and her second wish granted. Before Sam can protest, Clarissa leaves.
When Sam wakes up the next day, she quickly realizes that she's late for school. Sam looks around her house, but all of her family members seem to have left. Sam goes to get her bike, and she sees that her father's car is still in the garage. She tries to call his workplace, but nobody answers. Sam bikes to school and runs to her class. However, the classroom is empty. As Sam learns, there is no one else in the entire school. Sam bikes into town and is unable to find anyone. Sam goes home. There, she is met by Clarissa. Clarissa tells Sam that she gets one more wish. Sam wishes that everything would go back to how it was before, but she wanted to Judith to think she was great.
Sam's mother wakes her up the next day. Sam happily goes to school. When she sees Judith, she's shocked to find that Judith has cut and dyed her hair to be more similar to hers. Judith follows Sam continuously throughout the day. Sam becomes annoyed with Judith's antics. When Sam goes home and tries to go to sleep, she finds that Judith has sneaked into her room. Sam forces Judith out of her house. The next morning, Sam goes outside, but she is chased by Judith. Sam runs into the woods, where she is met by Clarissa. Seeing that Sam is unhappy, Clarissa offers Sam an extra wish. Sam wishes that Judith had met Clarissa instead of her.
Suddenly, Sam finds herself stranding by the edge of the woods. She sees Judith talking to Clarissa. Sam suspects that Judith's wishes will probably go bad, which makes her chuckle. Judith shouts, "Byrd, why don’t you fly away!" Sam, feeling lighter than before, sees a worm. Sam eats the worm, flutters her wings, and gleefully flies away, unaware that there's anything wrong.
Reprints and rereleases
Be Careful What You Wish For... has received two standalone reprints.
- The Classic Goosebumps reprint was released as a tie-in to the seventh Goosebumps HorrorLand book, My Friends Call Me Monster.
- The 2005 reprint received new cover art from Tim Jacobus.
- The Classic Goosebumps reprint changes "There was no reason to expect the second wish to come true" to "There's no reason to expect the second wish would come true"
- In the UK, this is the thirteenth book in the original series.
- In Portugal, this is the eighteenth book in the original Goosebumps series.
The original printing of this book included a scar tattoo tear-out.
- Troy Steele rated this as the best Goosebumps book and praised it highly, which is something Troy rarely does with Goosebumps books.
- This book references People Magazine, the Orlando Magic, Reebok, Doc Martens, Troll dolls, Parcheesi, and Seventeen.
- This, along with Stay Out of the Basement, is one of two covers in the original series that Tim Jacobus did not do. The reason he did not do this cover is because he went on vacation around this time.
- In the introduction to the short story Make Me a Witch from Nightmare Hour, Stine claims to have known a woman named Judith who claimed to be a witch. When a co-worker got sick, she was blamed for it. This may have been the inspiration for the part where Judith accuses Sam of being a witch when she gets sick.
References in other Goosebumps media
- Clarissa appears in the Goosebumps film as a background monster.
- Be Careful What You Wish For... is referenced in "Goosebumps: The Game" as an achievement that can be earned by finding all possible items in the laundry chute.
- In Goosebumps HorrorTown, there is a quest based on this book, and Clarissa appears.