Quintessence
Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she told her parents that they did. Every day she feels less and less like herself. Then Alma meets the ShopKeeper in the town's junk shop, The Fifth Point. The ShopKeeper gives her a telescope and this message:​Find the Elements.Grow the Light. Save the Starling.​That night, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a child—falls from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and with the help of some unlikely new friends from the Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of astronomy, a little bit of alchemy, and her whole self. QUINTESSENCE is a stunning story of friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.

Quintessence Details

TitleQuintessence
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 28th, 2020
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
ISBN-139780374309763
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Health, Mental Health

Quintessence Review

  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    QuintessenceBy Jess RedmanWow! I am not one to be without words but I couldn’t actually speak for a while after I finished this book. It could be because I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it but it is more because I was blown away by how wonderful this story was. I can’t help but think I am so very fortunate to be among the first to experience this delightful gift. Jess Redman has crafted a fantasy tale for the ages and I don’t think it’s too much to say that children will be read QuintessenceBy Jess RedmanWow! I am not one to be without words but I couldn’t actually speak for a while after I finished this book. It could be because I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it but it is more because I was blown away by how wonderful this story was. I can’t help but think I am so very fortunate to be among the first to experience this delightful gift. Jess Redman has crafted a fantasy tale for the ages and I don’t think it’s too much to say that children will be reading this for many years to come. Alma has moved from her beloved home, a place that was familiar and cozy to a new town, Four Points, which is hard and cold and NOT home. She begins experiencing panic attacks and anxiety related to the move and she retreats into herself and away from her family. The way she writes this element of Alma’s life is brilliant. As a parent of a child with anxiety and someone who deals with it to a certain extent I can say she TOTALLY nailed it…right down to the fumbling response of her worried parents. Anyone who has ever dealt with anxiety will see in Alma a kindred spirit.Through a series of mysterious encounters and coincendences, Alma finds herself in the school’s Astronomy club with Hugo the quiet gifted student, Shirin the popular girl, and Dustin the loudmouth bully. It soon becomes clear that the mission of this club is more than studying the stars…they have to save one, and fast.I think this book is right up there with The Wizard of Oz and The Chronicles Of Narnia for spinning a tale of another world beyond our own and showing readers that the true magic is within us all. This is a long book but readers will not be able to put it down. I highly (and I mean HIGHLY) recommend this book for readers from 4th grade on up, lovers of fantasy, readers with anxiety, and anyone who enjoys a fantastical tale of the quintessence in us all!
    more
  • Patrick
    January 1, 1970
    Loved, loved, loved. Must read!!! Wow! What a story!!!
  • Malayna Evans
    January 1, 1970
    Jess Redman has done it again. Quintessence is beautifully written, loaded with magic, and bursting with personality. I cheered Alma through every page. She deepened my understanding of anxiety while keeping me cheering her determination and kindness. Terrific read!
    more
  • Rebecca Balcárcel
    January 1, 1970
    Speculative fiction for middle-graders! Uprooted from her hometown and suffering from panic attacks, young Alma has lost her confidence, her sense of adventure, and her sense of self. Nothing her parents suggest is helping, and it's especially hard to adjust to a new school when a bully keeps shouting that you're a weirdo. Only a special quest and new friends can start Alma toward renewal. To shout down her inner critic and embrace her potential will take courage, collaboration, and a lot of bik Speculative fiction for middle-graders! Uprooted from her hometown and suffering from panic attacks, young Alma has lost her confidence, her sense of adventure, and her sense of self. Nothing her parents suggest is helping, and it's especially hard to adjust to a new school when a bully keeps shouting that you're a weirdo. Only a special quest and new friends can start Alma toward renewal. To shout down her inner critic and embrace her potential will take courage, collaboration, and a lot of biking around in the dark. A wise guide and an ancient book come in pretty handy, too!This book stirs supernatural and fantastical elements into the heretofore normal life of a sixth grader. The dash of magic helps Alma find her true self and boldly shine. Her inner and outer journeys parallel each other, and the mission to help someone that is at the heart of the quest kept me turning the pages. Readers will enjoy the theme of friendship and the distinctness of each character. They'll also relate to Alma, a girl who goes from self-doubt to self-assurance. It was a joy to see Alma come into her own!
    more
  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    As bright and magical as a falling star, Quintessence is a beautifully told story that collided with my heart and set it aglow.
  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Overall, I felt seen by the anxiety representation in this work.  Additionally, I need more elemental magic in my life with realistic story as the base.Spoiler-Free Review: amberinoface.wordpress.com/2020/07/14... I received an ecopy of this book through Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own. Overall, I felt seen by the anxiety representation in this work.  Additionally, I need more elemental magic in my life with realistic story as the base.Spoiler-Free Review: amberinoface.wordpress.com/2020/07/14... I received an ecopy of this book through Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.
    more
  • Naomi Milliner
    January 1, 1970
    Jessica Redman has done it again. Her follow-up to THE MIRACULOUS has the same lovely writing we've come to know, and features another tremendously sympathetic protagonist. Plus a completely original story that will keep you turning the pages.
  • Manon
    January 1, 1970
    This was amazing!
  • Jen (1/2 of Bookish Moms)
    January 1, 1970
    So awesome!! Review soon
  • Laila
    January 1, 1970
    Quintessence is a magical Middle Grade novel about a young girl named Alma. She and her family have recently moved to a new town, and the transition has given Alma feelings of anxiety and isolation. Until, that is, she receives a flyer for a new astronomy club in her school. While she and her new friends attempt to save a fallen star, they also make important discoveries about being true to yourself and finding your “quintessence”. This adventure story has inspirational themes about learning to Quintessence is a magical Middle Grade novel about a young girl named Alma. She and her family have recently moved to a new town, and the transition has given Alma feelings of anxiety and isolation. Until, that is, she receives a flyer for a new astronomy club in her school. While she and her new friends attempt to save a fallen star, they also make important discoveries about being true to yourself and finding your “quintessence”. This adventure story has inspirational themes about learning to love yourself and open up to new experiences. The depiction of Alma’s anxiety felt real and heartbreaking. It is important representation for younger readers who might have similar feelings and not know how to express them. I loved the diversity of the characters, and how they related to their elemental forms. The idea of “quintessence” inside each of us that makes us who we are is really heartwarming. I think we can all use the reminder to do things and surround ourselves with people who grow our inner light! The astronomy/magical realism aspect of the story was interesting, but I would have liked more information about fallen stars and the Shopkeeper character. I think this book will appeal to readers of all ages who are looking for a sweet adventure story with a beautiful message. Thank you to NetGalley for this free review copy in exchange for an honest review!
    more
  • Katie Reilley
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group. Twelve year old Alma has recently moved to the town of Four Points. Since then, she’s been having panic attacks, though she hides it well from her family. She’s homesick and friendless, and each passing day has her feeling less and less like her old self. One day she visits the town’s old junk shop and finds a special telescope, called a quintescope. Through its lens, she watches a star (that looks childlike Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group. Twelve year old Alma has recently moved to the town of Four Points. Since then, she’s been having panic attacks, though she hides it well from her family. She’s homesick and friendless, and each passing day has her feeling less and less like her old self. One day she visits the town’s old junk shop and finds a special telescope, called a quintescope. Through its lens, she watches a star (that looks childlike) fall from the sky and into her backyard. Alma wants to help the star, and with some kids from Astronomy club, she sets out on a quest to do so.With themes of friendship and self-confidence and topics like alchemy and astronomy, this middle grade novel will be a hit with readers when it publishes May 19, 2020.
    more
  • Jeanne Ferruolo
    January 1, 1970
    QUINTESSENCE is another gorgeous read by Jess Redman. I have to say, that I think what I love best about Redman's stories is how they make me FEEL. I immediately fell in love with the setting, the mystery and the main character Alma, who suffers from panic attacks. Redman depicts this spot-on. Descriptions like, her family's recent move left her feeling "dark and Alma-less inside" and how when Alma tries to force a smile, "It made her face feel strange, like she'd put on a very tight mask," brou QUINTESSENCE is another gorgeous read by Jess Redman. I have to say, that I think what I love best about Redman's stories is how they make me FEEL. I immediately fell in love with the setting, the mystery and the main character Alma, who suffers from panic attacks. Redman depicts this spot-on. Descriptions like, her family's recent move left her feeling "dark and Alma-less inside" and how when Alma tries to force a smile, "It made her face feel strange, like she'd put on a very tight mask," brought me right back to my own 12-year-old self and made me want to cheer on this brave but anxious girl. Soon she meets the ShopKeeper, finds a Quintescope, gathers an unlikely group of friends, and engages in a mission to find the elements and save the starling...and in the process finds her own light. I loved every bit of Alma's journey which reminds us how much real magic, and quintessence, there exists in the world--and in each one of us! This is a perfect story to be read aloud in a classroom...or (as I would have preferred when I was Alma's age) long after bedtime, with a flashlight under the covers.
    more
  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan for the opportunity to read and review Quintessence by Jess Redman.Quintessence is one of those books that looks good and you take it home set it in a pile to read later. You go back pick it up and next thing you know you've read the entire book in one sitting. It is a blend of friendship, finding your true self, and a little bit a magical essence tossed in. I cannot tell you in actual words how this book made me feel. I felt like a kids again reading it. The Thank you to NetGalley and MacMillan for the opportunity to read and review Quintessence by Jess Redman.Quintessence is one of those books that looks good and you take it home set it in a pile to read later. You go back pick it up and next thing you know you've read the entire book in one sitting. It is a blend of friendship, finding your true self, and a little bit a magical essence tossed in. I cannot tell you in actual words how this book made me feel. I felt like a kids again reading it. The emotion and understanding that you feel for Alma are real. The panic attacks and how the build up for her feels real. I am sharing this with my son who has them. It is a wonderful read for all ages.#MustRead2020#LiteraryDiamond#Quintessence
    more
  • Laurie Hnatiuk
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Jess Redman and publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read an ARC digital copy. Jess Redman has come into her own as an author with her second book Quintessence. This magical realism book has a perfect blend of science and magic sparkle that will enchant readers who love science and who are trying to figure out their own identity in the world. Alma recently moved to Four Points after her parents bought a law practice in the small town. Alma has Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Jess Redman and publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read an ARC digital copy. Jess Redman has come into her own as an author with her second book Quintessence. This magical realism book has a perfect blend of science and magic sparkle that will enchant readers who love science and who are trying to figure out their own identity in the world. Alma recently moved to Four Points after her parents bought a law practice in the small town. Alma has started her new school but her anxiety is in full gear and her parents although concerned are not helpful. Nightly discussions to plan out and suggest ideas for Alma to try are compounding the problem rather than alleviating them. This all changes when she meets the Shopkeeper and is gifted a telescope and told to Find the Elements, Grow the Light and Save the Starling. Confused Alma watches the sky using the telescope that evening and sees a star falling but within the star she is sure there is a figure and instantly knows it is the Starling the Shopkeeper spoke of and must save. Now determined, she is mysteriously grouped with three other students and together they embark on a quest to save the Starling. This story moved quickly for me and I was reminded of E.L. Konigsburg ’s The View from Saturday (which I love) and how four other students were oddly grouped together to become a formidable force. Thus is the case with Quintessence. Four completely different individuals all with different strengths, trying to figure out their place in their world come together to help a celestial being and in the process help one another. Avid readers will enjoy this story learning a little bit about astronomy, alchemy, what it means to be a family, how we are all unique and have a place in the world. A great addition for classrooms and libraries.
    more
  • Alicia Bayer
    January 1, 1970
    This is perhaps more proof that you can't judge a book by its cover, as I'm absolutely in love with this cover. My youngest daughter and I have been reading this as a bedtime book for what seems like forever but we've finally just put it aside and started another book. While the main character is likeable and the premise is exactly our sort of bedtime material (a sad, lonely girl sees a "star child" fall from the sky and must team up with some other misfit children to help the star child), it is This is perhaps more proof that you can't judge a book by its cover, as I'm absolutely in love with this cover. My youngest daughter and I have been reading this as a bedtime book for what seems like forever but we've finally just put it aside and started another book. While the main character is likeable and the premise is exactly our sort of bedtime material (a sad, lonely girl sees a "star child" fall from the sky and must team up with some other misfit children to help the star child), it is so slow moving. From the description, I now know that she suffers from panic attacks, but it's written so that we had no idea what her "episodes" were. It was so vague that I wondered if they were anything from seizures to dissociative episodes. They were always referred to in a secretive, vague sort of way as things that had happened that she was embarrassed about and hiding from her family.The book is just very long and very, very slow moving. We're at about 1/3 and very little has happened yet. This could be a great fit for a kids to read on their own, especially if they are fast readers. It's not working as a read-aloud though and we've shelved it, at least for now.Digital ARC provided by Net Galley.
    more
  • Mila
    January 1, 1970
    The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.3,75 starsI really enjoyed this novel, even though it wasn't what I expected it to be. I especially enjoyed the way the friendship was described and how it was the driving force of the plot. It was a bit too wordy in places and the pacing was off which messed with the flow a bit. But it was still a very heartwarming story that was definitely worth reading. Plus the cover is b The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.3,75 starsI really enjoyed this novel, even though it wasn't what I expected it to be. I especially enjoyed the way the friendship was described and how it was the driving force of the plot. It was a bit too wordy in places and the pacing was off which messed with the flow a bit. But it was still a very heartwarming story that was definitely worth reading. Plus the cover is beyond gorgeous.
    more
  • Gillian
    January 1, 1970
    Quintessence is a magical, wondrous book! I adored Alma, the main character, who has recently moved to a new town and is actively hiding her distress about it. The story is beautifully written and gave me chills almost constantly--with that magic-just-around-the-corner feeling. I don't want to give away too much, but know that the story had enough twists and turns that I could not put it down ... I read it in one sitting! Thrilled to have read another gem by Jess Redman!
    more
  • Miranda
    January 1, 1970
    Quintessence by Jess RedmanSummaryAlma Lucas has anxiety. She doesn’t talk to people about her troubles with anxiety; in fact she doesn’t really talk to people at all. Her parents often ask her to put herself out there and make friends so they are quite pleased when she finds a flyer for an astronomy club and decides to attend.Alma finds herself chasing after fallen stars, and learning about the world around her with her three new friends.ThoughtsThis was a very thoughtful novel that dealt with Quintessence by Jess RedmanSummaryAlma Lucas has anxiety. She doesn’t talk to people about her troubles with anxiety; in fact she doesn’t really talk to people at all. Her parents often ask her to put herself out there and make friends so they are quite pleased when she finds a flyer for an astronomy club and decides to attend.Alma finds herself chasing after fallen stars, and learning about the world around her with her three new friends.ThoughtsThis was a very thoughtful novel that dealt with anxiety in children. I think Redman created something beautiful for children and adults alike. She gives children the power to deal with their own anxiety, and provides adults with some clarity about anxiety in children. She did all of this while creating a beautiful fairy tale like story.
    more
  • Richard Propes
    January 1, 1970
    "Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling."With these words, middle-grade author Jess Redman begins to take us on our journey with 12-year-old Alma, who is more of a hero than she can possibly realize and who instantly becomes a young girl whom you want to follow for the rest of her life. When her parents bought a small law practice in the town of Four Points, Alma's stable and joy-filled life was upended and the instability she felt emotionally as she struggled to adapt physically a "Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling."With these words, middle-grade author Jess Redman begins to take us on our journey with 12-year-old Alma, who is more of a hero than she can possibly realize and who instantly becomes a young girl whom you want to follow for the rest of her life. When her parents bought a small law practice in the town of Four Points, Alma's stable and joy-filled life was upended and the instability she felt emotionally as she struggled to adapt physically and emotionally became expressed as "episodes" of panic, dread, negative self-talk, and increased isolation. After a few weeks, she convinces herself, and mostly her parents, that these episodes are gone.She knows the truth. Alma is losing her Alma-ness and doesn't know how to get it back. The fact that I sit here having written that last sentence with a tear in my eye likely gives you some indication of just how emotionally honest I found "Quintessence" to be, a sublimely written emotional and physical adventure that elicits laughter and tears, memories and reflection. One day, a still struggling Alma ventures into the mysterious shop at the end of Four Points called The Fifth Point, a rambly and shambly junk shop of sorts where the Shop Keeper loans her a kinda sorta telescope, okay it's a quintescope, and through that quintescope she spies late one night a falling star that, upon landing, presents itself as a rather magical looking child who appears lost and searching for home. Alma understands that feeling. Man, I'm crying again.Determined to somehow help this lost Starling, Alma fearfully steps into her school's Astronomy Club where she meets those who will become essential to her journey - a delightful and seemingly always happy Shirin and a smart and seemingly always smart Hugo. Originally scheduled for a May release, "Quintessence" has been pushed back to July 28, 2020 in a move that, at least hopefully, frees it from the the challenge of being released amidst the anxiety-inducing pandemic currently impacting daily life. It's a move that one hopes will bring the attention deserved to this delightful, intelligent, and incredibly entertaining novel from Jess Redman. A therapist who returned to her childhood love of writing with her first middle-grade novel "The Miraculous," Redman writes with a perfect weaving together of clinical insight and a child's eye view of the world that surrounds them. Redman doesn't show her cards early in "Quintessence," instead allowing us to experience the journey of a 12-year-old who has experiences for which she has no words. By not frivolously tossing in clinical language, Redman also allows us to experience the wonderfulness of Alma and the building of the adventure about to unfold. "Quintessence" may tackle a serious subject, but it does so in a way that is childlike and filled with a sense of wonder and awe at the humanity of all of us and the ways in which we are inherently and irrevocably connected. Alma is a joy, though for much of "Quintessence" she feels more like an "other." She doesn't feel like Alma and Redman wonderfully captures how that feels for a child. She also wonderfully captures Alma's parents, well-meaning but occasionally misguided in their parenting. With tremendous wisdom, Redman doesn't paint a story of a young child who suddenly becomes everything she needs but instead paints a story of a child who suddenly becomes aware that we all need each other. The same is true for Hugo and Shirin, delightful children with human foibles and little imperfections in their own lives. "Quintessence" captures the brilliance of their strengths and weaknesses and how they become healthier and happier human beings when they work together. Dustin, as well, is a bit of a mystery in the book. A bully of sorts with conflicted relationships with all three of our main characters, there's little doubt early on where his story arc will go but it's still a joy watching it unfold naturally and honestly. And so it is. "Quintessence" is a magical reading experience that possesses the vulnerable humanity of a child and the magic of the world in which these children live. It tackles serious subject matter, but it does so in a way that is developmentally appropriate, accessible, incredibly entertaining, and destined to create opportunities for conversation and reflection. Redman has constructed a world of creativity and vivid imagination, a celebration of humanity, friendship, the universe, and the myriad of ways in which our lives are better when we are together. Scheduled for a July 28th release, "Quintessence" will be a valuable read for every middle-grade reader and it would be beneficial for adults to read so that they can answer questions and initiate valuable opportunities for honest conversations. Beyond the obvious value of its subject matter, "Quintessence" is simply a truly enjoyable book with characters you will love and appreciate, a story with which it's easy to relate, and an adventure that will inspire.
    more
  • Kylie
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI thought this book was really fun and unique.Although it is a middle grade, it dealt with some heavy topics in a way younger readers can understand. The main character Alma has had panic attacks ever since her family moved to Four Points. As someone with a family member who has panic attacks, I personally really appreciated a book like this. I really appreciated how it started out with Alma too scared and ashamed to tell her parents that her panic attacks had not stopped, but grew into 4.5 starsI thought this book was really fun and unique.Although it is a middle grade, it dealt with some heavy topics in a way younger readers can understand. The main character Alma has had panic attacks ever since her family moved to Four Points. As someone with a family member who has panic attacks, I personally really appreciated a book like this. I really appreciated how it started out with Alma too scared and ashamed to tell her parents that her panic attacks had not stopped, but grew into something where telling the truth is better than any feeling of fear or shame. It pushes the point that when people are sick (either physically or mentally), people around them may not know how to help, try to do the best they can, and it doesn't in fact help. But telling the truth about what is happening and getting the right kind of help from the right people is the best thing to do. I think for the younger readers of this book, that is an extremely important lesson.Even though this book deals with such heavy things, it does so wrapped up in such a magical, imaginative and even educational way. Finding the Starling through gathering true elements and returning her to the sky was such an adventure. I was constantly wondering how they would find the next element and where the Starling was hiding. And it was so heartwarming that it forced Alma to put herself out there and make friends because (as an adult reading this book), I just wanted Alma to have friends. I loved all the adventures that Alma, Shirin and Hugo went on and I loved how the characters were kind of the stereotypical kids just trying to find who they were. Shirin was the "popular girl" who didn't feel like she fit in with that group, Alma was the quiet girl who had a mental illness but was afraid to let people know, Dustin was the "mean kid" who really just didn't know how to make friends (or mend old wounds). I also ended up learning quite a bit about astrology from this book. But it wasn't told in a boring way, even for the middle grade readers.I am so happy that a book with such a gorgeous cover had such a wonderful book inside. It's really important for kids (and adults) to understand that it's ok to ask for help dealing with mental illness, just like it's ok to ask for help dealing with physical illness. I'm really happy this book had such a strong, wonderful message as well as being a magical adventure.
    more
  • Hope Hunter
    January 1, 1970
    When Alma's parents purchase a law firm and moves her to the town of Four Points, she begins having severe panic attacks. Formerly a happy child who was active and energetic, she becomes quite reclusive, avoiding people and activities she formerly enjoyed. Alma's parents are worried and at a loss as to how to help her. One day, Alma braves the public and goes to the mysterious store in the center of the town. The Shopkeeper presents Alma with a quintescope, since he is convinced he has discovere When Alma's parents purchase a law firm and moves her to the town of Four Points, she begins having severe panic attacks. Formerly a happy child who was active and energetic, she becomes quite reclusive, avoiding people and activities she formerly enjoyed. Alma's parents are worried and at a loss as to how to help her. One day, Alma braves the public and goes to the mysterious store in the center of the town. The Shopkeeper presents Alma with a quintescope, since he is convinced he has discovered one of the elements that can help save a falling star. Soon, Alma is teamed up with up with the other Elements: Dustin, Shirin, and Hugo. Together the kids realize, despite their struggles and imperfections, the special something ("Quintessence") that is inside each of them is powerful, especially when put together. There was a lot to like about this book. First, the characters. There is Alma with her bouts of severe anxiety, Hugo, who is very smart, but struggles socially, Shirin, who is very popular, but hides her intelligence, and Dustin whose anger has led him to become a bully and, even though he realizes he is being mean, does not know how to stop it. I like how Alma feels the "sparks" of something inside her when positive things happen or she faces a struggle and succeed and the contrast of when she has a rough day or feels as though she fails, the spark diminishes. This was a relatable feeling of the feeling of success and positivity in one's life versus the feeling of failure and not being good enough. This story is a great blend of developing inner strength, overcoming self-imposed adversity, fantasy and science in the form of introducing students to space and the universe.
    more
  • Lizanne Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    This science fiction/fantasy has just enough reality and real world problems to make it relevant, entertaining, and hard to put down. Twelve year old Alma and her family have moved to Four Points form her beloved Old Haven. She is uncomfortable, anxious, and has panic attacks. She stays in her room, runs home form school, and avoids making friends. Alma feels like she's losing herself. When she finds a flyer for Astronomy Club, she decides to join. Her parents are thrilled as they have been enco This science fiction/fantasy has just enough reality and real world problems to make it relevant, entertaining, and hard to put down. Twelve year old Alma and her family have moved to Four Points form her beloved Old Haven. She is uncomfortable, anxious, and has panic attacks. She stays in her room, runs home form school, and avoids making friends. Alma feels like she's losing herself. When she finds a flyer for Astronomy Club, she decides to join. Her parents are thrilled as they have been encouraging her to do more. She hasn't told them they she is continuing to have panic attacks. The setting of Four Points is an important as the town is divided into four neighborhoods with a tower called Fifth Point located at the center. The four main characters each reside in each sector. Fifth Point has a mysterious shop at its base with four doors - one for each point. Alma discovers one of the doors is open and meets the shopkeeper who gives her a quintescope. That night when she looks through the quintescope through her bedroom window, she thinks she sees a star that looks at its center rather like a person falling from the sky into her backyard. Her quest to save the starling begins. As she makes friends with the others and they join the quest, each character is completely different. Learning to look beneath the surface of others and accepting each other's differences is an important lesson they all learn. In the process, Alma rediscovers herself and learns the importance of truth. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to purchasing this book for my middle school library and recommending it to the students.
    more
  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsThe beauty of Quintessence lies in its raw, unfiltered depiction of a young person suffering from anxiety. Author Jess Redman captures Alma’s struggles in a visceral way, leveling a stirring emotional punch. The story’s emotion propels the plot and will keep readers engaged with the fantastical tale. While Alma and her friends’ quest is fun and purposeful, it takes place in a semi-real, semi-magical place. This setting creates dissonance at times although Redman’s incorporation of the S 3.5 StarsThe beauty of Quintessence lies in its raw, unfiltered depiction of a young person suffering from anxiety. Author Jess Redman captures Alma’s struggles in a visceral way, leveling a stirring emotional punch. The story’s emotion propels the plot and will keep readers engaged with the fantastical tale. While Alma and her friends’ quest is fun and purposeful, it takes place in a semi-real, semi-magical place. This setting creates dissonance at times although Redman’s incorporation of the Shopkeeper added much needed explanation for the impetus of the quest. Readers would benefit from his perspective much earlier. The tale truly finds its footing and rhythm about halfway through its telling, a length of time that may lose some readers as they turn disinterested in Alma’s transformation. This would be a shame because by the end of the novel, the story Redman brings to life proves powerful and compelling - so much so, readers may hope the tale of the Elementals continues in subsequent novels.Quintessence imparts important messages to its readers: we are unique, we are interconnected, and we are resilient. These messages will resonate with middle grade readers and even bolster their own confidence to face the challenges in front of them. Its references to and emphasis on astronomy and science will surely attract the attention of STEM and STEAM-loving students. Most importantly, though, Quintessence provides young people a compassionate portrayal of Alma’s struggle with anxiety. With the need for social-emotional learning and mental health education rightly at the forefront of education, Redman’s novel can serve as a vehicle to open up conversations about these critical topics.
    more
  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my full review on my blog here: https://thereadingsofanenglishteacher...I think at one time or another, we all feel like we are missing part of ourselves...like something's wrong and we just can't put a finger on it. We feel unlike ourselves and don't know how to fix it.That's how Alma Lucas feels, in Quintessence by Jess Redman, once she has moved to a new town--Four Points. She had to leave behind all of her friends and the things she loved and now she doesn't feel quite like Alma. S Check out my full review on my blog here: https://thereadingsofanenglishteacher...I think at one time or another, we all feel like we are missing part of ourselves...like something's wrong and we just can't put a finger on it. We feel unlike ourselves and don't know how to fix it.That's how Alma Lucas feels, in Quintessence by Jess Redman, once she has moved to a new town--Four Points. She had to leave behind all of her friends and the things she loved and now she doesn't feel quite like Alma. She starts experiencing panic attacks, often, and she keeps it from her parents because she doesn't want them to worry. It keeps getting worse and worse.Until one day, she meets the shopkeeper in the mysterious Five Points store in the middle of town. He gifts her a telescope and charges her with a mission: Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling. And she has no idea what he is talking about until she is watching the night sky and sees a star falling from the sky. There's something unusual about this star--it looks like a small person. And crashes to the ground right near her house.Alma wants nothing more than to help the Starling--she knows just what it's like to be far from home and feel so lost. Circumstances continue to bring her to the people that will help her accomplish the mission and she connects with new friends in an Astronomy club. While they figure out how to find the elements and grow the light, Alma begins to feel more and more like herself and embrace her new home in Four Points. But will they be able to get everything they need to send the Starling home before it's too late?
    more
  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley.Charming story that combines feelings of loneliness with learning to use magical elements. Alma, the main character, suffers from panic attacks. She hides them and lies to her parents that she no longer has them so she doesn't disappoint them. They've recently moved to a new town and readers will identify with her grief at the move and the challenges of middle school. Interwoven with her effort to hide whol I received an electronic ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group through NetGalley.Charming story that combines feelings of loneliness with learning to use magical elements. Alma, the main character, suffers from panic attacks. She hides them and lies to her parents that she no longer has them so she doesn't disappoint them. They've recently moved to a new town and readers will identify with her grief at the move and the challenges of middle school. Interwoven with her effort to hide whole pieces of herself is an experience one night - a supernova that sends a Starling to earth behind her home. Readers also see meet the Shop Keeper - an older person who seems to be much older than humanly possible. Alma also reaches out and finds three new friends who all have their own struggles too. Together, Alma, Hugo, Shirin and Dustin, find ways to heal themselves and discover who they are meant to be. Plus they save the Starling and send the Shop Keeper home as well.Redman creates the entire environment spun around the tower in the center of the town. The symbolism of Four Points comes through as each of the elements lives in a different area of the town. The Fifth Point shop in the center of town plays a role as well. The story flows smoothly with shorter chapters to pull readers in and keep them focused on how the characters will develop and figure out themselves, how to work together, and how to rescue the Starling. Looking forward to dialogue with my older elementary readers as they process this book.
    more
  • Kathryn Fletcher
    January 1, 1970
    I have however read several amazing books lately! Quintessence is one of them! I gave it a 5-star review on Goodreads, which I rarely do.Quintessenceby Jess RedmanPublisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Release Date: July 28, 2020Alma moved 3 months ago and has had trouble adjusting. She’s been having anxiety attacks and doesn’t really feel like herself.She finds a telescope and through it sees a star fall. This is not a normal star though; it looks like a girl. Alma joins an astronomy club to lea I have however read several amazing books lately! Quintessence is one of them! I gave it a 5-star review on Goodreads, which I rarely do.Quintessenceby Jess RedmanPublisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Release Date: July 28, 2020Alma moved 3 months ago and has had trouble adjusting. She’s been having anxiety attacks and doesn’t really feel like herself.She finds a telescope and through it sees a star fall. This is not a normal star though; it looks like a girl. Alma joins an astronomy club to learn more about this. She and her new friends begin a journey of self-discovery and healing like none I’ve ever read.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Rating: 5 out of 5.The WritingThe story begins with a description of Four Points (Name of the City) and the shop at the center of town called the Fifth Point–a shop that never sold anything. So already we begin asking ourselves a million questions about the quirky little shop at the center of Four Points.Alma talks in the story about feeling like herself, what she calls her Alma-ness. It makes her sound young and small, which worked well for this book. Throughout the book, you can see her change bit by bit in a very realistic way.The other characters in the story are fun and interesting. Well crafted with their own backstories and unique motivations for being there.I am not going to spoil the ending, but it was very well done and included something that surprised me (which is uncommon).Who Will Like This Book?As a person with anxiety, I could really identify with Alma. This would be a good book for a child with anxiety, a child whose friend has anxiety, or anybody! Honestly, it is very like that we will all know somebody who struggles with anxiety, so it is a good book for everyone to gain empathy and understanding of this disorder.A child who likes astronomy would also like this, although obviously a star girl falling from the sky is not scientifically accurate. It is still fun and there are astronomy tidbits to glean in here.I highly recommend this story to everyone!
    more
  • Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
    January 1, 1970
    Quintessence by Jess Redman, 384 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), JULY 2020. $17Content: GBUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLEAUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGEAlma moved to the town of Four Points with her parents a few months ago, but she has yet to find a way to fit in. It feels like a piece of her is missing. One day she enters a strange store in the middle of town called The Fifth Point; there the strange old proprietor gives Alma what she thinks is a telescope, but he tells her it’s a “quintescop Quintessence by Jess Redman, 384 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), JULY 2020. $17Content: GBUYING ADVISORY: EL - ADVISABLEAUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGEAlma moved to the town of Four Points with her parents a few months ago, but she has yet to find a way to fit in. It feels like a piece of her is missing. One day she enters a strange store in the middle of town called The Fifth Point; there the strange old proprietor gives Alma what she thinks is a telescope, but he tells her it’s a “quintescope” for seeing something much more special. When Alma sees a falling star, she feels the need to find it. She realizes that the star is actually a being – something, a Starling, that needs rescuing. But in order to help, she will have to find allies – not a comfortable feeling for her.Redman’s writing is sweet, a nice read for a supplement. It is just missing that little flare that grabs your attention and makes you want to share it with everyone. Alma’s neurosis is a sticking point – its one thing to be unsure, another to be so out of touch that you are virtually paralyzed. This use of extreme personality flaws as a plot point is my absolute least favorite trend in middle grade lit.Cindy, Library Teacher, MLShttps://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...
    more
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I liked several aspects of Quintessence. The surprising friendships between Alma, Shirin, Hugh, and another character that we don't even see coming were very sweet. I also liked how Alma learned that appearances could be deceiving. Alma wrote Shirin off as one of the "popular" girls, but quickly realized that there was much more to Shirin than just sitting with the cool kids at lunch. And as Alma was learning this, the reader learns it too. The overall story was good, although there was a lot go I liked several aspects of Quintessence. The surprising friendships between Alma, Shirin, Hugh, and another character that we don't even see coming were very sweet. I also liked how Alma learned that appearances could be deceiving. Alma wrote Shirin off as one of the "popular" girls, but quickly realized that there was much more to Shirin than just sitting with the cool kids at lunch. And as Alma was learning this, the reader learns it too. The overall story was good, although there was a lot going on, and I didn't feel that the explanations and exposition were always sufficient to help the reader truly understand. I also liked that Alma was a main character with anxiety, but I felt that could have been done a little better. It bothered me that Alma's panic attacks were at first labeled as "episodes". I gathered that was what was happening, but I wish the actual term had been used sooner. I also did not like how much Alma was lying -- to her friends, her parents, her doctor. It was a little disturbing. Fortunately, Alma finally realizes that telling the truth is much better. I am glad it was made obvious that Alma learned that lesson. I look forward to adding this book to my library when it is published.
    more
  • Moonkiszt
    January 1, 1970
    Jess Redman has come up with an empowering book for middle grade readers! Alma, who leads the way in this tale, has issues. Some from within, and some have been foisted upon her by a move out of the home she loved and where she was comfortable. The new place is ok, but it's new, and that's not comfortable.This is a tale that describes other problems cropping up in Alma's world - panic attacks, for one. A difficult time making and keeping friends, for another. In the meantime she's made one of th Jess Redman has come up with an empowering book for middle grade readers! Alma, who leads the way in this tale, has issues. Some from within, and some have been foisted upon her by a move out of the home she loved and where she was comfortable. The new place is ok, but it's new, and that's not comfortable.This is a tale that describes other problems cropping up in Alma's world - panic attacks, for one. A difficult time making and keeping friends, for another. In the meantime she's made one of the biggest discoveries of her life and she needs to talk to someone. Like magic, someone pops up. . .and then there is the friend thing. . .Quintessence had me from the first page. Very enjoyable, and satisfying solutions all around without sacrificing family, friends or truth about irregularities in the human condition. Alma (and the reader) are assured those irregularities and Quintessences are not mutually exclusive. Everyone has something with which they must deal or manage or maneuver. And, BONUS!, everyone has their own version of Quintessence.4.5 stars, rounded up with hope for that which is being sought. . .A sincere thanks to Jess Redman, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.
    more
  • Bexa
    January 1, 1970
    This was a delightful story of a young girl discovering that becoming who you're meant to be isn't always easy, but it does end up being a wonderful experience.Alma suffers from "episodes", but they only started after her parents moved her to a new town, a new school, away from everything she enjoys. One day she sees a flyer for Astronomy Club, and for whatever reason, she feels compelled to go to the club. There she meets two other kids, Hugo and Shirin, who seem to be too smart and too cool to This was a delightful story of a young girl discovering that becoming who you're meant to be isn't always easy, but it does end up being a wonderful experience.Alma suffers from "episodes", but they only started after her parents moved her to a new town, a new school, away from everything she enjoys. One day she sees a flyer for Astronomy Club, and for whatever reason, she feels compelled to go to the club. There she meets two other kids, Hugo and Shirin, who seem to be too smart and too cool to be her friend, but are both willing to hang out with her in the club. They all saw an extraordinary site the night before, and Alma convinces them that there was a fallen star that needs their help. The three of them begin an adventure in order to find out what their quintessence is and to help each other realize that they don't need to be alone anymore.Wonderful book for middle-schoolers who are struggling with the change of becoming older and realizing that they each have something important about them that no one else has. Copy provided by NetGalley
    more
Write a review