Book Review: Root Magic by Eden Royce

Book: Root Magic by Eden Royce

Published January 2021 by Walden Pond Press|320 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

A historical ghost story set in South Carolina in the 1960s—a 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.

I really liked Root Magic!  I loved reading about Jez and Jay, and I really liked reading about Jez and her family.

Jez was a great character, and I really liked her.  Having a lot of new kids was pretty hard for her, but hopefully, some of them won’t be too bad.  Some of them aren’t the nicest, but I really hope she’s able to make a few friends.  Still, she has Jay, Doc and her mom, and she seems more okay with not having a huge group of friends at the end of the book.  There was Susie, though, and it was interesting to see how that changed and evolved.

I felt so sad for her.  It seemed like she was pretty close to her grandma, and had a hard time after her grandma passed away.  I have a soft spot for grandparent-grandchild relationships, which isn’t surprising because growing up, I was pretty close to my grandparents.  But root magic was something she could learn- and it connected her to both her grandma and all of the generations that came before.  I thought that legacy was amazing.

Root magic was something that people had mixed feelings about, it seemed like.  Publicly, people seemed to look down on it, or thought it was strange, when privately, they might stop by her family’s house for a potion or powder.  That contrast was interesting, but not surprising.  It just seems like people didn’t want to admit that it was something they used or needed.

Things weren’t easy for Jez or her family, but Jez has a really good heart, and wants to help.  She was able to help Susie, who helped her in return when Jez needed it.

The atmosphere was great!  I could feel it in my soul, and it was as much of a character as the people were.  I really felt it in every word, and one of the reason’s I liked this book so much!  Royce shows how people are treated during that time, but this is a book that is more about life, friends and family, and staying connected to the things that have been passed down from generation to generation.

4 stars.  This was a great book, and absolutely worth reading, no matter how old you are!

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