The Rosemary Spell

272p. Clarion. Dec. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544445376.
Gr 4–8—Literary mystery and magic come together in a story for book lovers. Rosemary and her best friend, Adam, discover an old book in a locked bedroom cabinet, a book with writing that appears and disappears. When they read one of the poems to Adam's sister, Shelby, she vanishes, as do most of their memories of her existence. Using a quote from Hamlet written in the book to keep Shelby's existence alive in their minds, Rosie and Adam search for a way to bring her back. An elderly local poet whose brother vanished years ago may hold the key to reversing the spell, but her Alzheimer's makes her memory unreliable and their journey more difficult. The book is well written and full of rich language and detail. The incorporation of Shakespearean references and poetry gives the story a more mature feel and balances the youthful earnestness of Rosie and Adam. The mystery and magic are subtle, but the little clues that pop up keep the story tense. The many literary references, however, may be more appealing to librarians and teachers than to most middle school students, and there is limited action to grab young teens' attention.
VERDICT This is an enjoyable story that the right readers will appreciate but may not pick up on their own without a recommendation.

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