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  • The Thickety: A Path Begins by J. A. White
  • April Spisak
White, J. A. The Thickety: A Path Begins. Tegen/HarperCollins, 2014. 352p. Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-225724-6 $16.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-225727-7 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 4-6

Only six when her mother was killed for being a witch, Kara knows that when she shows signs of having powers as well that she should keep them hidden. Now twelve, Kara tries to keep her sick brother and distracted, grief-stricken father fed, clothed, and cared for, but that’s a lot for one person to manage, especially when the townsfolk around them range from indifferent to hostile. Nevertheless, Kara is tough, and she has one good friend, so she is managing fairly well until she stumbles on a magical book that carries hidden dangers. When the grimoire falls into the wrong hands, the whole town is at risk as spiteful young Grace wreaks havoc with the book. The town itself is a haunting, creepy presence in the novel, built around the superstitions of a man who teaches that the outside world is evil, violent, and full of magic that must be destroyed; poor Kara is clearly doomed in multiple ways in this place long before she can even make her own choices. Black and white line drawings, mostly eerie hints of what is to come next, accent the text. A startling plot twist at the end will have readers urgently waiting for a sequel, and it may even lead them right back into the book to see if they missed earlier clues.