Skip to main content

The Healing Spell

The Healing Spell is a middlegrade contemporary novel by Kimberley Griffiths Little.

Eleven-year-old Livie and her mother have never gotten along well. She's not girly like her sisters and would rather go frogging out in the bayou with her daddy than shopping with her Mamma. They've had many an argument and seem to never see eye-to-eye. But then her Mamma is in a coma, unable to wake up - and maybe she never will. And suddenly Livie is keeping a very big secret about what happened. She knows she is responsible for it, but she can't tell anyone - she can't see her daddy's eyes hate her.

But everybody wants her to help out with Mamma, and Livie can't even bring herself to touch her. What if she hurts her again? So she's branded selfish and uncaring by her older sister, and seems to keep hurting her sensitive little sister. The only friend she seems to have, besides her BFF whom she still can't bring herself to tell the truth to, is a baby alligator she found in the bayou. But despite its current harmlessness, its still forbidden to make an alligator a pet, making it just another secret Livie has to keep.

Feeling like an outsider and full of guilt, Livie tries to stay in the background. But she wants her Mamma to wake up, and she knows that running away isn't going to fix anything. So she decides she has to at least try. But can she, an eleven-year-old tomboy, fix anything when she was the one that broke it in the first place?

Our main character's sad, worried voice is believable right away. You really do feel like you are listening to a heartbroken, scared little girl's thoughts. The town curiosity and her own guarded secrets haunt her, bringing about a quiet despair and tender presentation by the author. There such a feeling of false hope and inevitability of death for Livie's mother that you can sense the denial, while you're doing it yourself.

Little allows Livie's strong guilt to damage her already unsteady relationship with her sister's even further - until finally a healing begins, slowly. It is meaningful and gentle, but the hope does return as our brave and ultimately goodhearted protagonist begins to recognize her responsibilities and flaws.

The Healing Spell is a heartbreaking, yet uplifting, bittersweet story. The character is young, but the premise is most definitely appreciated by an older reader. Kimberley Griffiths Little allows the novel to go to some horrible coming-of-age moments that are extremely sad, present family dynamics that are compelling, honest, and raw, and gives an almost unfinished ending that is both satisfying and tear-jerking, as well as a bit frustrating in its lack of a true conclusion.

But what I can say for sure was that The Healing Spell was worth the read. It is a poignant, sometimes painful, contemporary book that intertwines a little Cajun magic with a terrible family tragedy. Lovely.

***BIBLIOPHILE ALERT! I have been reading like an even crazier book addict than usual this year, and apparently three reviews a week can't keep up pace with me! Because of this, for the entire month of July I will be having FIVE reviews a week! That's right! Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday! So, please remember to check back here more often during July - and come August I'm planning on returning to three reviews a week. Keep the schedule change in mind, and don't miss any reviews! :)


Len Lambert said…
I can't wait to read this book! I'm waiting for my copy! Thanks for this beautiful review! :)

Popular posts from this blog

Real Live Boyfriends

Real Live Boyfriends is a YA contemporary novel by E. Lockhart, and the fourth novel in the Ruby Oliver quartet.

Here we are on the last day of “Ruby Oliver Week” and if you aren’t already reading these books – well, why not?

But I’m more than sure most of you are – and hopefully you’re all caught up, and therefore not at risk of being spoiled by my review of Real Live Boyfriends. You’ve been warned!

Ruby Oliver is beginning her senior year of high school with a real live boyfriend: Noel.

At least she thought she was.

After having spent the rest of junior year and the beginning of summer being fully in love (okay, they never actually said the word, but the vibes were strongly in that direction), Ruby is now confused.


When Noel went to visit his brother in New York for a while, almost every day they talked on the phone and exchanged funny emails. She never once felt insecure.

Until all of a sudden – communication stopped. Ruby would call and he wouldn’t answer. She’d leave a voice mai…

Titanic: S.O.S.

S.O.S. is the third and final book in Gordon Korman's middle-grade Titanic trilogy.

This is the third book in a trilogy, book addicts! You must, I repeat, must read the first two books (Unsinkable and Collision Course) before you read this review. Otherwise you are just going to ruin all the twists! Sure, we know the Titanic sinks - but the surprises that are revealed about our characters, among other things, should not be spoiled!

But all of you that have read the first two books (which I hope are many of you, because this a great series), can rest assured that I won't spoil anything from S.O.S. itself - just a basic recap and my opinion.

Here goes:

The Titanic is sinking. No one wants to believe it, but the bow is almost imperceptibly starting to dip into the freezing Atlantic Ocean - and our four main characters are thrown into a race for survival.

Paddy is locked up below deck, having finally been caught as a stowaway. In one cell over are the very criminals that wish him dead…


Why hello there, loyal readers!

It's been a long, long time since I last wrote about a new novel - or wrote much of anything original. Life has definitely changed for me in many ways, changing how and where I devote my time.

But... whaddya know? I managed to finally finish a book!

Gardenia is a YA genre mash of murder mystery with a dash of sci-fi/fantasy, written by author Kelsey Sutton.

When Ivy's best friend died, it wasn't a surprise to her.

Because, ever since she was little, Ivy has seen the numbers over everyone's heads. Their countdown, if you will.

But she didn't know the cause of her best friend's death would be... murder.

Labled as a bit of an outcast, due to her odd behavior and reaction to Vanessa's death, Ivy finds herself more alone than ever as she is determined to find her friend's killer.

And she doesn't have much time, herself... as she's known her whole life.

Now, she realizes, it may be that she may give up her life to catch…