I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Root Magic by Eden Royce
Genres: Middle Grade, Historical, Supernatural
Published by Walden Pond Press on January 5, 2021
Buy on Amazon
From debut writer Eden Royce comes a wondrous historical ghost story set in South Carolina in the 1960s—an unforgettable tale of courage, friendship, and Black Girl Magic.
It’s 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won’t stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven—and their uncle, Doc, tells them he’s going train them in rootwork.
Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of her family for generations—especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family’s true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs...and not a moment too soon. Because when evil both natural and supernatural comes to show itself in town, it’s going to take every bit of the magic she has inside her to see her through.
Debut author Eden Royce arrives with a wondrous story of love, bravery, friendship, and family, filled to the brim with magic great and small.
*Read in December so doesn’t show my new rating system.
Here is what I thought
Root Magic is set in the 60’s in South Carolina and follows a couple black kids whose grandmother dies and she was one of the major root workers in her family alongside Doc, their uncle. Doc knows that their grandmother would have wanted them to learn root work and so he gets permission from their mother to teach them.
Jez and Jay soon find out that root work isn’t just all about potions and herbs. It can be hard work like painting their house haint blue for protection. Along with learning about their heritage it is the 60’s so they are having to deal with a nasty deputy who has it out for root workers and just loves to cause them trouble. Also schools are being integrated and there are new students at school.
Just like with about any situation it always seems like the boys have it easier than girls. Nobody makes fun of Jay for coming from of root workers but Jez is having a hard time. There is a new girl at school who makes her life miserable and Jez has no friends.
Jez soon learns that there is more to their magic and how much more complex it really is when something happens to her in the marsh. She learns that there are not just people who are nasty but there are some spirits out there who are around to give her trouble too. She quickly learns her magic which will come in handy later on when having to deal with a lot of things later in the book.
So I really enjoyed the characters. I liked Jez and Jay and felt bad for Jez and could understand her loneliness because she was different. She learns that it’s not just other colors that find her different that even some of those with her own skin color don’t like those who do root. She learns how important it is to embrace her heritage even if it means being made fun of and being alone.
I do have a few issues with it and that was that sometimes it was just a bit slow. I was interested in the beginning then it lagged and then the last part was pretty cool. I almost didn’t think it was going to wrap up and be a series but it had a decent though quick wrap up at the end. I wasn’t a huge fan of blood letting being in a kids book. Part of their root work is animal sacrifice though the author was good to have the uncle just take blood from the bat and not kill it, I still wasn’t a fan of it. There was another thing I wasn’t a huge fan of but I feel it would be a spoiler so can’t really mention it.
Overall, I think it was an interesting story and the author used her own ancestral history which is cool.