Review: The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

April 26, 2015 4 stars, Book Review 8 ★★★★

Review: The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. WhiteThe Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White
Series: The Thickety #1
Published by HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books on May 6, 2014
Genres: Middle Grade & Childrens
Pages: 496
Length: 8 hours 48 minutes
Narrator: Susan Duerden
Source: Library or Borrowed
Buy on Amazon

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.


Do you know someone that everyone thinks is sugar and spice and everything nice but you know is really the wickedest person alive? The Thickety: A Path Begins has just such a beautiful nasty girl, Grace, pitted against the heroine Kara. This book was much more grim then I originally expected but that in no way took away from how enjoyable of a read it was. The setting was fabulous for this particular take with an isolated island village, an ominous dark magical wood and the Puritan like villagers who are always on their guard against witchcraft.

This is one of those dark children’s fairy tales reminiscent of the themes from the original Brothers Grimm. Where bad creepy things happen, and the ending is not happily ever after. While this is a middle grade book it is more likely suited to those kids that like the darker sort of stories. You know the kind, well I do because I was once one of then the kids that want a scary story at bedtime instead of something that farts rainbows. Be warned here you will see death, sadness, mean spirited bullying by adults as well as children and creepy monsters. Definitely not for the child that is feint of heart.

Prepare for some heartache

Of course being darker in nature the story is also heart wrenching. Kara lost her mother at a young age, all of the village people are cruel to her and her family. Her father is essentially useless, so she is the only one trying to support and take care of her younger brother Taff and put for in all of their bellies. It’s terrible to see how mistreated she is by everyone especially the adults that you’d hope would know better. It’s a reality that I’m sure readers will find very believable because people are capable of so much cruelty. I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book but I’ll have to read something light and fun before I step bath into the world of The Thickety.

Thoughts on the audio narration – 5 stars!

I have decided that audio is the best way to enjoy middle grade books. So far I have yet to be disappointed on any of the narrators I’ve come across and Susan Duerden was especially magnificent in her narrating skills. Her voice for Grace was so spot on that it gave me chills how sickeningly sweet and yet evil she sounded. You’d have to listen to know what I mean. Susan really made me feel the overall tone of menace that the book has to it. I hope she narrates the second book as well!

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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8 Responses to “Review: The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White”

  1. Nathan (@reviewbarn)

    I have learned that for audio books MG and YA books are usually best. Writing style is lost in audio no matter how good the narrator is but pacing and the overall story stands. So I will see if this one is at my library.
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    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      You think the writing style is lost when you listen versus reading. I haven’t noticed that. Maybe the different experience I get from it totally blinds me to that. Did you do The Forbidden Library? That is an excellent one for you and the little ones.

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I agree it is awesome when they are dark. But then I don’t know…wait the Valente books don’t fart rainbows but they aren’t dark..they are whimsical and sooo much fun. But yes dark for my seems to work well for me.