Exactly what is going on in the small town known as Kismet, Maine? Willow, her mom, and little brother, Wisp, find themselves stuck there during a bad snowstorm. The townspeople—at least the ones 13 and older—seem to already know what is going to happen next during the day. ROOT OF MAGIC_hi res

Willow is suspicious of the events and even more so when she meets a boy her age, Topher, who will soon turn 13. She tries to avoid him at first but realizes he might be the only person who could tell her the reasons behind this strange town. Willow is also worried about Wisp (Loved those names and the reason behind them). Wisp has an illness doctors can’t figure out. Equally worrisome is her mother who acts like she might want to stay in the town for good. The magic would make life so much easier.

Told in third person present, it’s a touching story of family, and the hurt it brings to all when the focus is on a sick family member. There are unspoken rules to follow around Wisp leaving Willow with a felling of being left out. The town’s magic is hidden away but leave it to a strong-willed girl like Willow to find the source. An impossible choice has to be made: Stay and follow the magical rules of the  town or leave and divide their family forever. It’s a moral dilemma that will have you on one side or the other. A richly rewarding read.



THE ROOT OF MAGIC by Kathleen Benner Duble

  1. The setting is magical without the magic. Maine is a great place to visit either in person or through a book.
  2. Topher and Willow have a wide range of emotions that bring them closer together. It’s a relationship young people will understand and you’ll smile at the results.
  3. I had to giggle at Wisp. He gets away with some little boy misdeeds and everyone looks the other way because of his illness.
  4. The town wants to save this family but at what costs? An enticing dilemma and one where the pages go by in a flash.
  5. Willow is the heart of the story. Her rebellious attitude, along with the love for her brother and parents brought this character to new heights.



Willow knows the unknown is scary. Her little brother has been sick for a long time and nobody has been able to figure out why. All she wants is for her brother to get better and for her her life to go back to normal.
But on the way home after a hockey tournament, Willow and her family find themselves stranded in an unusual town in the middle of nowhere, and their life begins to change in the most unexpected way. Willow soon discovers that the town isn’t just unusual—it’s magical—and the truth is more exciting that she ever imagined.
Will Willow find that this could be the secret to saving her family—or discover that the root of magic could lead them to something greater?


Kathleen Benner Duble’s ADVICE ON WRITING

Don’t ever give up if this is what you want more than anything else in the world! If you are truly a writer, you will be unable not to write.

For more visit Kathleen’s web site. You’ll find information about her family life and books, informative pieces like Twenty Writing Tips for Aspiring Writers, and background on THE ROOT OF MAGIC, including this short video:

Also available is a discussion guide great for the classroom or for those home schoolers!


I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

If you have time, please comment below.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, New Release and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to THE ROOT OF MAGIC

  1. schmelzb says:

    Want a great baseball book for MG? I recommend Joan Bauer’s SOAR published in 2016. Jeremiah loves baseball, but he cannot play due to his heart condition. He plans to be a coach with humorous consequences and interesting obstacles.

  2. This one had me interested from the title. Both Wisp and Willow sound like great characters. And I loved the advice on writing from the author.

  3. This sounds like a great story – i like the idea of magical without the magic. I also like the names and now I’m curious about them. One to add to my list of books I want to read.

  4. Wow! Your review and book spotlight really caught my attention. Thanks for sharing this gem for MMGM, Greg.

  5. That gorgeous cover would draw me to the book. But, I really could escape into this story. Willow has so many decisions to contemplate. It feels like magical realism. Great choice and summer read.

  6. Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages is a unique baseball book if you are looking for one. Thanks for the review on this book. The characters sound perfectly enchanting and the story sounds great. I’ll look for it.

  7. Thanks for the nice review! As an author I am always so grateful when readers take the time to comment on my work!

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