Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Book Review - Quintessence by Jess Redman



 Quintessence by Jess Redman is about a young girl who tries to find herself in a new town.  Three months ago, twelve year old Alma moved to Four Points with her family. A week after the move, she had her first panic attack and they continued to happen. She told her parents that they’d stopped just to avoid them being worried. However, she knows the panic attacks won’t stop because she feels homesick and has no friends at her new school. With every passing day, she feels less and less like herself.

While visiting her parents at work, she decides to visit the town’s junk shop. The shop always looks empty and abandoned. While exploring the store’s contents, she comes across a telescope. She was so excited by her discovery and took home the telescope.

Later that night, Alma uses the telescope to view the stars. She notices a star that looks like a child falling from the sky and into a crater in her backyard. Alma knows what it feels like to be lost, afraid, and missing her home. She is determined to help find and save the star. However, Alma is at a loss on how to help the star. She decides that she would need to open up to her classmates in the Astronomy Club for help. Will Alma and her friends be able to help the star?

I was on the fence for this children’s book. I normally like reading children’s books as the majority of them are well written and very entertaining. I found this book to be a bit boring and predictable, and at times, long winded. I would have liked a bit more humor and character development. I felt like other than Alma, most of the other characters fell flat.

While I did like reading about Alma blossoming out of her shell and finding herself, I did worry for her and her friends. A lot of the tasks they were assigned to do took place at night and involved dangerous situations, i.e. like climbing a mountain in the dark or descending deep into a cave in the dark or accepting a ride from a stranger. I felt like while I understood it was a part of the story, the characters had to lie to their parents to go out at night and partake in these situations. I was a bit torn on this portion of the book because I wouldn’t want a book to encourage a child to put themselves in a dangerous situation and then lie about it. I  did like the bits about the science and magical adventures but I could have done without all the danger these kids were putting themselves into.


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