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Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals, #1)
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Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  72 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
"A lighthearted, whimsical confection that will delight both kids and their parents’ inner child." -Kirkus Reviews

How far will you go to find your way home?

Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny r
Paperback, 251 pages
Published June 3rd 2012 by Baba Yaga Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Stella Bee
Aug 05, 2012 Stella Bee rated it it was amazing
A fantastic new work for tweens. Ms. Gough incorporates fantasy and mythology in a way that is fresh and engaging in a field that is crowded with tropes and predictability. Emma is a smart, complex yet sympathetic new heroine. Can't wait for the next installment!!
Sandra W.
Jul 11, 2012 Sandra W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls and Boys 10 and up and adults who like Harry Potter
Root Bound is a really great read. It's highly creative, with an exciting plot that keeps you wanting more. I don't normally read a lot of fantasy stories, but this one was really fun and entertaining. I shared it with my 12-year old grandson (he's a big fan of the Rick Riordan series), and he loved it too. We can't wait for the next installment!
Aug 11, 2012 Lauren rated it it was amazing
I won this in a book giveaway and got a lovely card from the author! I love young adult fiction and this was a fun book! I was not expecting to like it as much as it did as this type of fantasy fiction I do not usually gravitate too but this one is definitely worth the read!
Jan 11, 2013 Giselle marked it as to-read
Love fantasy? Sign up for this tour!!
Lance Schonberg
Nov 05, 2012 Lance Schonberg rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults, Teens, Tweens
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Poor Emma. Dragged from city to city, always hoping her father’s new job will turn out to be the one that gives them a permanent home. When they arrive in a new town, it’s the same old thing for Emma, but something is different this time. It might be the sad old apartment building. It might be the crazy woman down the hall. It might be the new school or the Gorgeous Gang of bully girls who think they run it.

Or maybe it’s the voices in the walls.

Well, not exactly in the walls, but it isn’t long b
Feb 22, 2013 Angela rated it really liked it
This review and more reviews can be found at:

Final rating: 3.5 stars

This is an adventurous and meaningful book written well for middle-graders mainly. I was quite excited to read this after reading the synopsis for the book. Adventure, magic and a coming-of-age book? What more can I ask for? This book certainly is a pleasant break from the YA books I have been reading and reviewing lately. The innocent tone of the book as well as the building friendships re
Dec 18, 2013 Becca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-review
This was such a fun book to read. The whole time I was reading it I was thinking how much my younger kids would like it. It is such a cute story.

Emma and her father move around a lot so being in a new place, a new school, new surroundings wasn't "new" to her. She had done it many times before. This time there is an old woman living in the same building who seems to not be the kindest person. Emma begins to see strange things, and hear strange things.

The house seems to be alive, but she knows th
Anna Everhart
Oct 02, 2012 Anna Everhart rated it really liked it
I didn't know what to expect with this YA Fantasy book, but I was pleasantly surprised with Ms. Gough's smart and well developed story! Her choice to combine classic children's literature and Greek and Roman mythology with new fantasy ideas was unique and likely to inspire youth to re-examine or experience the classic literature for the first time.

I appreciated the themes commonly found in YA books like popular vs. unpopular, the challenges of moving from place to place as a teen, and good vs.
Feb 12, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Emma and her father are constantly on the move. His job as a musician doesn't offer up much possibility to stay in the same place for very long. They just moved to a new town in an old apartment building and there are a lot of new things to get used to; a creepy old woman down the hall with a mysterious light coming from her place, The notorious mean girls at school, having weird dreams and visions of her mother, and to top it all off brownies are coming out of the vent and they need her help! W ...more
Yvonne Bruton
Jul 30, 2012 Yvonne Bruton rated it it was amazing
This book is well written and very entertaining. I lost myself in it because it has a very good plot and is full of interesting characters. I will be getting the next one and I'm looking forward to reading about more of Emma's adventures. Highly recommended :-)
Oct 21, 2012 Marianne rated it really liked it
In Root Bound, the author has created an intriguing and magical world that easily captured my imagination. I liked Emma right away and loved how she seems vulnerable and strong at the same time. Her adventures with the humourous Brownies had me turning pages and rooting for her (pardon the pun).
Tim Learn
Jun 05, 2016 Tim Learn rated it liked it
Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals #1)
(Middle Grade)


3 stars

Moving to yet another new house, Emma encounters many strange things beyond just the pretty girls at school. She eventually meets and accompanies the strange creatures called Brownies into the Under—a world that exist just below ours that ties everything together.

Here, like many independent books, the writer has a fairly decent skill with description. In parts, I saw the world quite vividly and with a creative flai
Annabelle Marie Veronica
****FINAL RATING: 3.65 STARS****

I was actually very pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this. I expect a lot out of my fantasies, but this one was tons of fun and a very quick and pleasant read. I had a awesome time reading this and swallowed it in three sittings. And the only reason I stopped at all is because i was in school. But if I could have, I would have read through this all at once. It captured my attention from the first pages and didn't let go.

Emma is o
Dec 08, 2012 Sabrina rated it really liked it
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Root Bound is the first of a planned quartet called Emma and the Elements. This middle grade fantasy series follows Emma as she comes of age and discovers how her unique magic can restore order to the mysterious land of Under.

When Root Bound opens, we learn that Emma Sheridan is always on the move. Along with her musician father, who wanders from town to town in search of work, Emma is a girl looking
Ashley Ehlers

Originally posted on Paranormal Sisters back in 2013:

*was given a copy from the author in exchange for my honest opinion*

I loved that this was about Brownies, basement Brownies, so I thought this would be fun and it was. In young adult we don’t usually get these kinds of creatures, it’s more known for children. Which is fine, I can read kid’s books if I want a little bit of their magic in my life and this book I believe is also great for all ages, but som
Mary Grace
Mar 03, 2013 Mary Grace rated it really liked it
Originally posted at The Solitary Bookworm

Brownies are living under Emma's apartment. Creatures she only thought were creatures created as myths. Apparently, they are real and a bit sarcastic and rude too!

Emma is used to moving from place to place. There's nothing she can do about it since she and her dad go to where work is available. From the numerous times they moved, Emma follows the motion. She understands. I enjoy reading about our young heroine. For such a young age, she seems mature and
Jan 15, 2013 Merin rated it liked it
I was drawn to Root Bound for two reasons. One, it's a MG fantasy title, and as a librarian working with elementary students, I'm always on the lookout for MG titles they might enjoy, and two, the summary mentions mythology, and as anyone who follows my reviews can probably tell you, I love mythology. So, as far as I was concerned, this book already had two marks in its favor.

For the most part, I did enjoy this book. I very much liked Emma. Her father has a very transient job (he's a musician),

For more of my reviews, check out my blog @ Moosubi Reviews!

Reading ROOT BOUND reminded me of when I read THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH back in fourth grade. Throughout the novel, I loved the details described in the world, the author’s language, and, of course, the different creatures that you get to meet!

Emma was a great main character! At the beginning of the book, she appears to be an ordinary little girl, who is bullied at school and lives with a loving parent. She’s also very curious and adv
Isabel (Sab The Book Eater)
Feb 13, 2013 Isabel (Sab The Book Eater) rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
This review and more at Sab The Book Eater

Root Bound is definitely a nice little break from all the Young Adult/New Adult titles I've been reading lately. It's a light Middle Grade read filled with magic, adventure and all kinds of cute!

Now what I really liked about this book was the author's attention to detail. Gough did an incredible job at describing everything and everyone. Sometimes I think the descriptions were a bit to long but that didn't really ruin the experience for me; it only made
Maja  (The Rambling Readerista)
Also on my blog, The Rambling Readerista

Have you ever enjoyed reading The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland, this is a book for you. I don’t really know what I expected from this story since I am not familiar with this author, but her writing had me surprised. I have really liked, I cannot say loved per se, this book but it is an interesting read, and if you like the world of fantasy and magic you should read this book. It is only the first in the Emma and Elementals seri
Jun 21, 2013 Majanka rated it really liked it
Book Review originally published here:

Root Bound is the first novel in the “Emma and The Elementals” series. Emma and her Dad are always moving from town to town, but this time around, something strange is going on in their new apartment. Emma goes out to investigate, and to her big surprise, finds out that there are Brownies living under her apartment. The Brownies are a hilarious lot, and this comes from someone who doesn’t generally burst out laughing
Feb 04, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
So there is a lot going on in this little novel. Emma is a very self sufficient little girl dealing with sneezing houses (brownies) and witchy neighbors all by herself. She doesn't see her father much because of his being a jazz musician and so I was never quite sure if all the things that happened were the fanciful imaginings of a bored little girl or a real magical story (relatively speaking.) It's magical either way. Emma has to fight with the brownies who first think she is a monster and the ...more
Michelle Willms
May 26, 2013 Michelle Willms rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, fiction
Root Bound by Tanya Karen Gough
Root Bound is a fantasy appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Emma and her father have been nomads for many years, moving from place to place, wherever Emma’s dad takes them. Many places were very small, requiring Emma to sleep on the couch and the two to share closets. Emma didn’t really expect any different from this new place. She’d grown accustomed to such accommodations over the years. When they arrived at the new place, though, there was something different about t
Apr 05, 2013 Gmr rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Middle Grade readers and beyond
Recommended to Gmr by: Tanya Karen Gough
Brownies and witches and family lost...oh my! It's a mixed bag on the character cast list for certain but all your favorites are there, ready and willing to guide you through this topsy turvy adventure. The story line bounces between reality and dreams, landing squarely on the shoulders of the "somewhere in between". Just when you think you know which way its going, POOF...something else changes to alter your path. It was really quite GOOD!

Emma is a sweetheart! So brave and strong despite her s
Laura Thomas
Nov 09, 2013 Laura Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Root Bound took me down the rabbit hole. Or rather down the brownies burrow.

Imagine discovering mythical, magical beings, all shapes and sizes, living under our houses, under our cities.

That’s what Emma discovers when her father’s job lands them in yet another city, in a beaten down old apartment building.

Emma hears strange noises in the walls, shifting shadows, and voices in the vents. It’s as if the building is alive.

Something is, as she discovers when a pile of tiny brownies tumble from the v
Dan Davis
Sep 23, 2015 Dan Davis rated it liked it
I should have read the description a little closer. From the cover and the mentions of a new house, a witch and things in the basement I assumed it was a middle grade "horror" novel so I was surprised when the brownies showed up and behaved like creatures from a Terry Pratchett story. That's not a bad thing, though and then I got stuck in to the book.

There is a lot to like about this story. Emma is likeable and the general tone is sweet and pretty enchanting. I found the mythology and magic / ar
Feb 26, 2013 Jessie rated it liked it
I have to admit I found Root Bound to be a little difficult to get into. I thought it was going to be a quick read however, I found that I kept wanting to put it down and go do something else. Had I not been a part of the tour I might have continued bothering with it at all. It wasn't until about halfway though chapter four that I thought okay, now it's getting good and I'm glad I stuck with it.

One of the things I did like early on in the book was Emma's introduction to the brownies. Actually I'
Apr 03, 2014 Indah rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
* I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads free reads giveaways*

Root Bound is a really adorable middle grade fantasy novel, that is just thoroughly enjoyable.
It follows Emma, a young girl who moves into a new town with her father. But immediately, she senses that something is off around the building, including the strange lady from down the hall; she looks like a witch! But Emma then meets the basement brownies, which is the start of an epic adventure through the Brownie Burrows.

Gayle Pace
Feb 10, 2014 Gayle Pace rated it really liked it

This was a fast paced read, which was like Emma's life. Her father and herself never stayed in one place long enough to really call home. Her father is a musician.

Emma's life is about to change into an adventurous, magical life. They finally moved into an old rundown apartment building. She noticed a weird little old lady living down the hall. The girls at school are known to be mean. She has strange dreams at night and sees her mother.
When she was in her room she could see brownies peakin
Joana Arteaga
Sep 14, 2003 Joana Arteaga rated it liked it
Emma moves around a lot because of her father's job who is a musician. They move into their new home and Emma is glad to get her own room. There is something strange about her new home though. Emma feels that the building is alive and there's a creepy old lady that lives down the hall with a strange light coming out of her apartment. Emma's new school didn't make her feel any better though because she had bullies bothering as soon as she got there. Poor Emma! The action really begins when she me ...more
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Tanya Karen Gough owned and published The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue from 1997-2007, earning a strong international customer base of world class academics and high school educators. She was also a contributing editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria (BC), audio advisor for the Sourcebooks Shakespeare textbook series, and theatre reviewer for Playshakespear ...more
More about Tanya Karen Gough...

Other Books in the Series

Emma and the Elementals (2 books)
  • Water Works (Emma & the Elementals #2)

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“Flesh does strange things to memory. Pain and joy both alter it. When you are happy, you remember things one way. When you are sad, you remember them another. And sometimes the flesh does not admit that memory is real at all or plucks false memories out of thin air.” 3 likes
“Change is sometimes good, sometimes bad. The wisdom to know the difference is a formidable power indeed.” 3 likes
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