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The Healing Spell

The Healing Spell

4.4 28
by Kimberley Griffiths Little

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Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little brings to life a sweeping and heartfelt story set against the lush backdrop of the bayou.

Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the


Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little brings to life a sweeping and heartfelt story set against the lush backdrop of the bayou.

Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sisters, hiding a forbidden pet alligator, and afraid to disappoint her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else, Livie struggles to find her place within her own family as she learns about the powers of faith and redemption. Livie's powerful, emotional, and sometimes humorous story will stay with readers long after the last line is read.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Eleven-year-old Livie is terrified when her father insists that they bring her comatose mother home from the hospital. How can she look at, much less touch and care for, Mamma when she alone knows that she caused her illness? As Mamma continues to languish in bed, Livie grows more and more estranged from her family, a chasm that begins to close only after she gathers her courage to visit the local traiteur, who gives her the formula for a healing spell. As Livie collects the spell's necessary ingredients, she begins to open up to the knowledge that she is loved and cherished by her family. Little explores the extremes of childhood guilt and its consequences in this harsh yet well-crafted story about fully drawn people. The bayou, with its rich culture, is an atmospheric character that overlays the story with mystery and dread. A special offering for readers seeking a challenge of the heart as well as the mind. Grades 5-8. --Frances Bradburn
Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
The setting of this novel is a character unto itself. Readers are drawn into the bayou backwoods, where inhabitants rely on boats to travel even to the neighbor's house and where wild pets include alligators. Livie Mouton has always been her daddy's girl. She goes frog hunting with him in the early mornings and joins him on his fishing trips. But a horrible accident in her boat has left her mother comatose and Livie is sure that it is her fault. Her father brings her mother home to be cared for. Livie cannot help and she cannot explain why. She is uncomfortable around the silent figure of her mother and feels guilty for not loving her more. Her Aunt Colleen joins the family to help with the nursing duties, especially with older sister Faye's upcoming wedding. Now the house is really crowded, and Livie's secret weighs heavier, even affecting her relationship with her beloved father. In a moment of determination, Livie and her best friend Jeannie take a boat to the home of Miz Allemond, the traiteur, who is said to have healing powers. The spell she shares with Livie is one that helps her reassess her relationship with her mother, focusing on the love the two shared despite their differences. Middle school readers will find a realistic yet haunting quality to Livie's life in the bayou. While there is an exotic feel to the description of the lush green and the cool swirling water, Livie's experiences are the universal experiences of growing up to face who you are and where you fit in. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Guilt-ridden because she believes she caused the accident that resulted in her mother being in a coma, 11-year-old Livie is terrified to tell anyone for fear they will hate her. She and her mother have never been close, but she adores her father and spends a lot of time with him in the Louisiana swamps where they live. Daddy chooses to care for Mamma at home, believing it will hasten her recovery, and Livie can't bear to touch her, which causes friction with her older sister and the aunt who's come to help out. Because she desperately wants her mother to be well, the girl visits a traiteur who lives deep in the bayou to obtain a healing spell guaranteed to work if Livie has faith. The setting is beautifully described and the protagonist is well-defined. However, the book is too long for the plot. Readers will figure out how the accident happened long before the characters do. The ending, with the mother waking from her weeks-long coma one night, talking to her drowsing husband, going to her art studio and finishing a painting, then returning to bed and to unconsciousness, is rather far-fetched. It isn't clear whether the author wanted the event to be mystical or miraculous, but it definitely isn't realistic.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 5.82(h) x 1.22(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Kimberley Griffiths Little is the author of THE HEALING SPELL and CIRCLE OF SECRETS, as well as dozens of short stories that have appeared in numerous publications, and the novels BREAKAWAY, ENCHANTED RUNNER, and THE LAST SNAKE RUNNER. She is the winner of the Southwest Book Award. Kimberley lives near the banks of the Rio Grande in New Mexico in a solar adobe house with her husband and their three sons.

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The Healing Spell 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Certified_Bookworm More than 1 year ago
Livie has a frightening secret; her mother is in a coma and she's responsible for it. She's terrified her mother might die, and even more terrified her family will hate her if they find out her secret. She already feels so alone that losing their love would be unbearable. Burdened with the truth, Livie tries to come to terms with her guilt, but guilt isn't the only weight on her eleven-year-old shoulders. She's trying to find her own place in the world. Unfortunately, her world is changing and she's not sure which way to turn. Her older sister is supposed to be getting married and leaving, her little sister cries at everything, and her father quit his job to care for his wife. Circumstances are forcing Livie to adapt, and she isn't very good at it. After deciding her best hope at redemption is to heal her mother, Livie visits Miz Allemond, a traiteur, and gets a healing spell. The spell isn't full of magic words and instant results. Instead, it forces Livie to take a closer look at the world and people around her, including herself. I loved THE HEALING SPELL! Though not my usual fare of fantasy or paranormal, this book captured me from the start. It was easy for me to feel connected with Livie as she struggled to find her place in her family and the world around her. Livie reminded me what it was like to be eleven; that in-between age where you're no longer a child, but not a teen either. Her loneliness and longing reached through the pages of the book and grabbed the lonely, longing child within me. With a firm hold on my inner child, Livie took me on an adventure of self-discovery. I shed more tears while reading this book than I have in a long time and felt better for the catharsis. Through Livie, I rediscovered my eleven-year-old self and gained a stronger understanding of the woman I am today. THE HEALING SPELL is more than a book; it's a salve for the soul, a balm for the burdened, and an enjoyable read for everyone. THE HEALING SPELL does more than heal the characters, it heals the reader!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was jst full of meaning and i loved it. But there was as flaw in it and i felt like she rushed over in the part of livies confrssion . But it was a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I happened to read this book after The Circle of Secrets. Thankfully it didn't spoil anything reading them out of order! Livie is harboring some awful guilt, guilt that binds her up inside like a giant, no-good knot. Typical of children in this age group, she thinks that the accident which caused her mama's sleeping sickness (coma) was her fault. After traveling the bayou to find the local traiteur (who might be the only one to save her mama with a healing spell) Livie has specific tasks to perform. But Livie learns that she might be the one who needs healing more than anyone. Filled with family dynamics, southern soul food that will leave you drooling, plenty of emotion and mystery, The Healing Spell will remind readers to look for the good in every situation. I highly recommend this book to middle-grade kids and readers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Introduction The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little is a surprisingly wonderful. I started it on one day and couldn't put it down until I finished it late into the night. The story grabs you and pulls you along. Description and summary of main points Livie lives in the bayous of Louisiana with her family. Her mother has been injured and is in a coma. Her father brings her home to hopefully recover, although the hospital doesn't give her much chance. Eleven year old Livie is a middle child who doesn't feel like she fits in her family and is carrying a terrible secret about her mother's injury and feels she must do something to help her recover from her "sleeping sickness." Evaluation It is a story told through Livie's eyes and mind. It is about a family's healing, loving and reaching out to each other. The characters are fully drawn and realistic. Every character is one you can understand and sympathize with. The book deals with universal truths and feelings and draws you in beautifully. Conclusion The author shows great skill in the storytelling, revealing the plot in natural and intriguing ways. Brief descriptions are woven naturally into the story vividly enough you can visualize everything and the narrative never lags. Your final review It is a book about family, faith, healing, and reconciliation. There is a healing spell in it, but it is really about the magic in love and faith and commitment.
monkey13 More than 1 year ago
your love this book its heart warming and sad:)!!!
agapegrace More than 1 year ago
This book stands out to me as a piece of realistic and poignant fiction. It's full of a sense of depth about the hidden feelings and secrets in a young girl's heart as she seeks to make sense of the tragedy that caused her mother to become comatose. Livie seeks healing for her mother and answers for herself when she visits a mysterious woman known as a traiteur. The complex healing spell that she is given works in a way different from what she expects. Mostly, it brings about a change in her thinking. What I loved most about this book is the way it delves deep into the relationships within Livie's family. Even before their mother's accident, there were problems amongst the family members, and her perpetual state of coma invites an exploration of just what the family is made of. Will they be able to help each other, though they handle their grief in different ways? Throughout it all, Livie's father stands as a rock for them in his own compassionate way. The various symbols throughout the book also served to drive the meaning of the story deeper into my heart as I read. The healing spell itself represents various aspects of Livie and her relationship with her mother that have to heal so that she can accept what has happened and to gain peace. A baby alligator named T-Baby (who I loved to the very core of my being) seems to symbolize the way Livie wishes she could hold onto a sense of uncomplicated innocence. Geared toward the middle grades, this book is really is a treat for any age, especially anyone who likes to think about relationships and what makes them important.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Filled with mystery and old Southern charm, this book has serious heart. In THE HEALING SPELL, Livie is trying to cope with her mother's current state. She is in a coma. Also, she has a secret so big it threatens to consume her if anyone were to find out. Livie would do anything to get her mother back, which leads her to seek the help of a voodoo healer. And it is this healer who sends her on a journey she will never forget. As mystical and breathtaking as the bayou itself, Kimberley Griffiths Little's story about the unspoken love between a mother and her daughter is sure to move you. With characters full of personality and life, you will easily find yourself falling in love with this struggling family. This really is a perfect read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it the emotions the reality of it was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have not yet read this book for i am only 11 my wpm (words per minuite) is 228 is this to hard fome or to easy please tell me i need HELP.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Absolutly Love This Bookk . One Of My Favorites Of All Tiimme (: You Have To Read It . It Really Touchee My Heart As A Child Of My Age .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cant wait to read gonna be an awesome book! Sounds peerfect!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book a little, forgot about it but eventially i made room for it. Im so uappy the anklet worked! I got teary eyed when livie found her mamas painting of the Tbaby added in it. I was tear eyed the whole book! Yet quite happy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book for teens and up. Kind of slow in a couple of spots but was still worth reading. Very sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It it touching and enjoying. BUY THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never read this book but my sister has and she said it was good so ever since she has been pushing me to read it so by her actions i would rate it theree or four stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. HEART <3 warming and saddening. Great book. ;D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it half way through its so sad and heart warming youll love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read i cant wait to read circle of serects it sounds so good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just live this book so much. If you like this you will also like Circle of Secrets
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does her mother die and why is she responsible
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it 5 times and i still love it