The Thickety: A Path Begins

( 4 )

Overview

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is ...

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The Thickety: A Path Begins

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Overview

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

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  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    The Thickety: A Path Begins  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/24/2014
The followers of the Path have left the sinful world behind to live in the isolated community of De’Noran, which is increasingly encroached upon by the Thickety, the domain of the forest demon Sordyr. Kara Westfall’s mother was executed for the crime of witchcraft, and now her family ekes out a living under the burden of the community’s suspicion. It falls to 12-year-old Kara to keep her sickly younger brother and dysfunctional father alive. She negotiates the treacherous road of a pariah, attempting to persuade a proto-Puritanical society that she is harmless, even while the dangerously addictive powers she has inherited from her mother well up within her. In this darkly imaginative debut, White creates a fantasy world with creatures that are anything but sweet—a cyclopean bird, a multi-mouthed horror—and, after a deceptively satisfying resolution, he unfurls a twist that will make readers want the next chapter of Kara’s story immediately. White’s prose is evocative without being dense, and Offermann’s sharp-edged silhouettes (not all seen by PW) add an ominous note. Absolutely thrilling. Ages 8–12. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit. (May)
Lisa McMann
The Thickety is a sinister, magical debut with a marvelous and shocking heroine. J.A. White’s elegant writing and masterful plot kept me turning pages late into the night.
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Jan Chapman
It is always delightful to find a new fantasy that does not mine the usual tropes, but presents readers with something fresh and original. In The Thickety, readers meet Kara who, when she was only six years old, watched her mother convicted of witchcraft and executed. Because of that, Kara and her family are shunned by the villagers who have been taught that witchcraft is an abomination. One day, Kara is lured by a strange bird into a forbidden forest called the Thickety. There she discovers a book that is a compendium of magic spells. Through the book, Kara begins to discover that she has an inherited ability to perform magic, but she must keep this secret from everyone or risk her mother’s fate. When another village girl steals the book and also begins practicing witchcraft, Kara has to find a way to stop her, as the book has given its new owner terrible powers that are being used for evil, not good. The author has created a world that is vivid and beautifully realized. Rather than subject readers to elaborate preliminary world building, readers enter this world and feel at home almost immediately. The characters are well drawn and fully developed, particularly Kara, whose struggle to understand her new powers and fear of being persecuted are poignant. The cleverly suspenseful plot moves along at a good pace. Fans of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Colors of Madeleine fantasy series or Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novels will eagerly snap this one up. Reviewer: Jan Chapman; Ages 11 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-02-19
Nail-biting suspense is the hallmark of this long fantasy novel, from the terrifying prologue to the shocking epilogue. This pleasantly accomplished debut presents readers with a dystopian, theocratic society that fears and executes witches and magic users. The community lives on the island of De'Noran, where the habitable land is being devoured by strange forest called the Thickety. In the prologue, readers meet little Kara Westall, who is roused from her bed and dragged to watch her mother's execution as a witch. Years later, Kara, now 12, is responsible for herself, her younger brother, Taff, and their father, crippled by depression. When Kara finds her mother's grimoire in the Thickety and uses it, the already suspenseful narrative becomes nerve-wracking. The author's storytelling chops show in how he ratchets up suspense, delivers believable characters (both good and evil), and reveals information slowly and only when absolutely necessary. There is a stunning climax and a seemingly perfect resolution. Readers will know, however, that nothing is perfect, and the epilogue confirms this fact while providing hope for a sequel. The spellbinding story, lashings of suspense and stalwart heroine will draw in fantasy fans and keep them reading until the bitter ending. (Fantasy. 11-14)
Lisa McMann
“The Thickety is a sinister, magical debut with a marvelous and shocking heroine. J.A. White’s elegant writing and masterful plot kept me turning pages late into the night.”
Angie Sage
“The Thickety may give you nightmares, but it is a gripping story with a great heroine.”
The Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books
“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.”
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 5–8—"There is no such thing as a good witch." These words, well known to all the villagers of De'Noran, haunt 12-year-old Kara Westfall. Ostracized and abused, she and her brother are the children of the last known witch, who was hanged on the edge of the Thickety when Kara was five. As the tangled branches of the dark, forbidden forest spread closer to the village, something strange and powerful awakens in Kara. Was her mother's magic truly evil? White's debut novel is darkly bewitching. The isolation of De'Noran and the fervor of its residents create a heady suspense, and White's well-crafted characters operate beautifully within the fantastical world he has created. Offerman's inky silhouettes perfectly complement the story. Readers will devour each twist and turn of the plot, right up to the startling conclusion.—Sara Saxton, Wasilla Public Library, Wasilla, AK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062257246
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Series: The Thickety , #1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 95,217
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

J. A. White lives in New Jersey with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn't like him very much. When he's not making up stories, he teaches a bunch of kids how to make up stories (along with math and science and other important stuff). He wishes dragons were real, because it would be a much cooler way to get to work.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2014

    LOVED IT

    This was an AMAZING book I loved it SO much! One thing I'm not sure about is if it has a sequel...
    Either way the character development was great, over all this book is unputdownable! 5 stars definently

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Excellent book!

    I really liked this book! The detailed descriptions allowed me to see what Kara was seeing, feel what she was feeling. Also, there wasn't a moment in this book when I truly got bored.

    The only reason I took a star off is because of the cliffhanger ending. It's a great ending, but there isn't yet a second book I can read! All in all, great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    GREAT book and very entertaining!! Wonderfully written and it w

    GREAT book and very entertaining!! Wonderfully written and it was great getting into the story and feeling like I was really there. Excellent book and can't wait for a sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Loved this magical and dark and twisty book. Can't wait for the

    Loved this magical and dark and twisty book. Can't wait for the next in the series!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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