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The Thickety: A Path Begins (Thickety Series #1)

The Thickety: A Path Begins (Thickety Series #1)

3.9 29
by J. A. White, Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)

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The Thickety: A Path Begins is a spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic. Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this thrilling new world.

When Kara Westfall was five 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


The Thickety: A Path Begins is a spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic. Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this thrilling new world.

When Kara Westfall was five 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 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.

Supports the Common Core State Standards
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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)
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.”
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.
Children's Literature - Joella Peterson
Kara was six years old when her mother was killed for practicing witchcraft. Now, years later, the people of her village still won’t forget what her mother was. They treat Kara and her father and little brother like they are worthless, while preaching how amazing they are since they are kind to everyone. When a bird leads Kara to a magical book, life begins to change. Suddenly Kara has power, but she is not quite sure what is the right way to use the power and what isn’t. When her secret starts to escape and others are after the magic and the power, life is not so safe around the Thickety. This is a great fantasy. Kara is a strong character who not only has gumption, but also is willing to fight for her family and friends (and perhaps those that are not her friends). The magic and the thicket are powerful and mysterious. Just when the plot turns in one direction, it twists around itself so the reader is never quite sure what will happen next. The story is not dark, but it has just enough bite that those who want something more than an elementary school fantasy book will be pleased. Reviewer: Joella Peterson; Ages 10 to 14.
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)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Thickety Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.70(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years


Meet the Author

J. A. White is the author of The Thickety: A Path Begins. He 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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The Thickety: A Path Begins 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot believe how much I loved this book! I was looking for books my 13-year-old would enjoy. The cover art sucked me in. After reading the prologue, I was certainly glad my son was 13. This is listed in the kid section, but I would say at least 4th grade and only if they laugh at Goosebumps stories. This author has a way with words I haven't experienced in a while.This is a darkly wonderful tale of magic. I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes this genre, adults included! As to the younger readers, I would suggest reading a sampling to see if you like it. You should get a feel for the book within the first few pages. This book is one you won't want to put down once you start. It was a fast-paced quick read, and I cannot wait to get started on the next one! To Mr. White - Thank you for putting this story to paper! What a great read! Can't wait to see where you take us next on this ride! -- SPeeD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is defenenetly for more mature readers. This was a summer reading book for seventh grade and found it very creepy. Im twelve. Big reader. This book was the worst book ive read. Maybe because im not a horror story person. But i did cry. I was truly scared. Well written tho. Would recomend to a person who likes horror stories. If you dont i would not reccomend this book. I think tho this is positivly not a childfens book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG, so awesome. I :3 it! If you laugh yourself silly at goosebumps but still love a good scare, here's your book!!!
CarinaOlsen More than 1 year ago
This is my third time reading this precious book. I read it twice last year. And I can honestly say that I will never tire of reading this book. It will never not be exciting and heartbreaking and oh so fun to read. I will always be curious about what happens next when reading it, hih. It is such a fantastic book. And I feel like not enough people are reading this amazing middle grade series. Which breaks my heart. Because this book is one of the best. The writing is seriously gorgeous. The story is beyond amazing. I have already shared my thoughts about this book twice. But I'm doing it again. Because oh, how I loved this book. Yes, I might repeat myself, but I don't mind. Not reading my previous reviews before starting, though. Reading this book was very easy. The writing is so beautiful and easy to read and I never had a single issue with it. Which makes me so happy. Also want to say that the author is amazing. Adore him :) He is so kind and just such an amazing writer too. I simply cannot wait to read more books by Jerry. I love how A Path Begins is told from the point of view of twelve year old Kara. She's amazing. Young, yet still so old. She's the bravest little girl. And I adored reading about her again. She's the best. My heart is aching for her so much. Her mom was murdered as a witch, when Kara was five. Just after giving birth to her brother, Taff, whom is now seven. He is so sick all the time. And Kara takes care of him. Sniffs. As their dad is there, but he's sort of not fully there. Hmph. But he isn't that bad, not really. I liked him. What broke my heart the most about this book is how people treat Kara. They hurt her. They don't talk nice to her. She has only one friend, Lucas. But I adored Lucas. He was such an awesome boy and a fantastic friend. But anyway. The other people in their small village was so mean to her. Because her mom was a witch. And this village.. wow. It is a bit screwed up, hah. So weird. Yet so amazing and interesting to read about. I did not like the people. Yet I loved reading about them at the same time. It hurt my heart that Kara was treated so badly. Yet she's such a kind person. She still tries to help them all. And she isn't a mean person. And just. I adored her oh so much. Her little brother was awesome too. So cute and kind and happy and understanding. It broke my heart that he was so sick. Sniffs. Yet such an amazing storyline, sigh. I can't get over how good this book is. Having read it three times, I can say for sure that there isn't anything I would have wanted differently about this book. It was simply perfect. There are creatures in this book. Scary ones. And they were so fun to read about. So much love. We also learn about the forest, The Thickety. Though much more about that in book two. Shudders. This book is all kinds of creepy and a bit scary and oh so heartbreaking. Such mean people. A lot of people get hurt. Many get killed. It was a bit dark for middle grade, and I loved it oh so much. This book is special to my heart. And I'm so thrilled to have read and loved it a third time. I just love and adore this book so much. -- There is a bit more at my blog, Carina's Books. B&N has word issues :p
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book like this ever. You need to read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
scoey1 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book very much.   I would recommend this to older teenagers and adults.  When reading this you picture Kara older than she is.  The story really grabs you and holds your interest all the way to the end.  Was very disappointed when I finished that the next one won't be published for awhile. Will definitely read on!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pageturner but not a literary masterpiece. There must be a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very dark but a good book also a amazing storyline a good read for halloween time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not Harry Potter. There is nothing cute, warm, or fuzzy in this story of a young girl who learns she's a witch. The consequences of magic use are catastrophic for her and everyone around her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be both interesting and entertaining. But this book contains content that may be inapropriate for younger readers, some parts of this book happen to be creepy. But overall it is a good book. This is the kind of book that you would want to spoil for other people ( I think it has a good ending.) This book is definetly worth using your time on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put it down! Really good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, but my word, why does it say it's for kids? It reminds me of the 2nd book in The Looking Glass Wars trilogy. Grace is very much like Red. It's just creepiness and darkness and i wouldn't want a child reading this. Maybe teenagers i suppose, but i find it quite adult enough, thank you very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this magical and dark and twisty book. Can't wait for the next in the series!