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A Path Begins

(The Thickety #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  4,815 ratings  ·  765 reviews
A dark, forbidden forest. Vicious beasts. Deadly plants. An evil spellbook. Secrets. Mysteries. Witches, both good and bad . . . Welcome to the world of the Thickety. Full of action, set in an intriguing and dangerous world, and illustrated with gorgeous and haunting line art, The Thickety: A Path Begins is a truly stunning book.

A Path Begins is the thrilling start of a ne
Hardcover, First Edition, 488 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Ethan In the first book, Grace is the villain, but as are all the other townspeople

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  4,815 ratings  ·  765 reviews

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A fantastically dark tale of witches and magic that might be a bit too disturbing for younger readers. On the other hand, if I was still 10 I'd devour this book much like the Jabenhook gobbles up Death.

After finishing this I was trying to figure out what I could compare this to and both Labyrinth and The Neverending Story came to mind. Not because the stories are similar, but because of the tone. Checking them out as an adult you might wonder why you weren't incredibly creeped out and scared wh
Faye, la Patata
You can also find this awesome review on my blog! POTATOES UNITE!

This book surprised me. A LOT.

You see, a few weeks ago, I thought to myself that perhaps I should give an equal focus to Middle Grade books coming out this year for a variety of reasons: one, they're usually shorter; two, the plot is more focused (therefore not all over the place), and; three, it's more light-hearted than many of the Young Adult ones that I'm surrounded with. So when I found myself staring at an ARC of The Thickety
Carina Olsen
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My fourth time reading this book. Gosh. I don't think I will ever not want to read this amazing middle grade book. Once the final book showed up on Edelweiss, I knew I had to re-read book one to three. But not because I cannot remember most of what happens, but because I love these books so much. And I'm so excited about reading them all once more. This story is simply amazing. And I love these characters so much. All the love. Also, those covers are beyond amazing. I love how they are matching. ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy, own
What . . . Whaaaaat . . . what did I just read? I mean . . . whaaaaat. A friend gave me this ARC last year (Thank you, Joella!) and said, "This was so different, I think you'll really like it!" So of course I put it aside for a year, because honestly, when people tell me I'll like something, whether out of stubbornness or because my tastes just are that weird, I usually don't! And I have a hard time with middle grade fantasy as well. I'm very, very picky.

But Joella was so right! Because this bo
BAM Endlessly Booked
Everyone just take a moment and pronounce "Thickety". Thickety I love saying that!
Seriously though, this is actually a fairly light, entertaining read. I will read anything witch-related, though. This witch happens to be twelve years old up against another young witch in the village. And of course there is a grimoire. Satisfying ending. I was pleasantly entertained a light read although the audio narrator's voice was a bit creepy at times
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books-read
This is a debut novel for this author, geared toward middle readers and tweens --- but I have to say that as an adult, I found this book to be very entertaining & engrossing. The story is primarily about Kara and her family after Kara's mother was killed for being a witch in a society that purports to tolerate no magic of any sort. Kara doesn't believe her mother was really a witch, but the rest of the village does, and treats Kara very poorly. Even so, Kara is determined to treat everyone with ...more
There are some kids books that retain their charm well into adulthood. For me, Bunnicula, as well as most books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume rank highly in that category. Then there are other books that were amazing when I was a kid but when I read them now, I wonder how I was so easily hornswaggled. Grandmother's Heart is a perfect example of such a tale. I was probably in fourth grade when I got that book and I fan fictioned the hell out of it. I still have some of my drawings of what I th ...more
Sonja P.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Heckenbach
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book opens with one of my pet peeves: the main character is in the middle of being kidnapped. I didn't know who she was, so didn't really care at first. Once things began getting explained, I could see why the author chose that opening, but it got things off on the wrong foot for me.

The first third of book did hold my interest, although the only characters I felt any connection to were Kara and Taff. Everyone in the town hates them--everyone. Even when Kara talks about this person or that be
Stephanie Swint
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it
A young girl loses her mother at the age of six. Her mother is accused of witchcraft and killed in front of her in the small colonial village of Denoran. The village is on an Island surrounded by dark forest known as the Thickety. It’s black life continues to encroach on the town despite clearers cutting it back every day. It reminded me of ‘The Heart of Darkness.’ No one can enter and not be changed if they survive at all.

This was another book I found in search of Halloween books, and is Hallow
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read in one evening. This is a clever book that brought me back to when I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond (multiple times) as a kid. There was also an echo of The Crucible and another famous short story I won't mention by name (it could create a spoiler). Nods to some of the great witch and small town literature were fun (intentional or not). Truly frightening at times: crowd hysteria and religious zealotry. There were a few times I thought the world could have been better explained - things th ...more
Happy endings, Kara often suspected, could only be earned through some sort of sacrifice.
-The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Kara Westfall lives on a peculiar island, isolated from the World. The strange villagers of this land follow the teachings of Timoth Clen, a man who, years ago, eradicated witches and their disastrous magic. Waiting for Clen's return, they follow very specific rules such as don't wish for anything and, most importantly, never practice magic. While the rest of the W

Do you like buried books of dangerous magic? Grimoires? Forbidden woods? Strange, hideous animals? Venoms? Potions and poisons? Classic dark fantasy? Villages in the woods? Cults? Vicious, vile neighbors? Sinister little antagonists pre-teens? Mystery? Witches? Good writing, plotting, characterizations? Steady, medium pacing? Good arcs for the Main Character? A truly, twisty, satisfying climax with loads of promise for a sequel?

Read this novel.


Put it on hold at your library.


Parts are
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookbusters-2017
This is a young adult story following the childhood years of Kara and her young brother Taff. When Kara is just five years old her mother is branded a witch and destroyed by the other members of the town where Kara lives. She's horrified and very nearly branded a witch too, but she survives scrutiny and ends up growing up in a very hostile town and taking care of her baby brother becuase her father has gone rather senile from the loss of his wife.

This story fell off of the page easily for me. It
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
On the same night Karas little brother was born her mother was executed for witchcraft. Now 8 years later the villagers scorns her and calls her "witch girl" and her father has become a wreck.

Kara tries to take care of her sickly brother Taff who she loves she also has a friend,Lucas who is a Cleaner. Cleaners are the lowest in the village and their job is to try and keep back The Thickety.A wood full of weird trees and deadly monsters and all of ruled over by the forest demon Sordyr.

The communi
Wow that was dark, but so well crafted. I was totally drawn in from the start and must see what happens next.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
When Kara Westfall was six, on the night of her brother Taff's premature birth, her mother is condemned as a witch for killing a couple and publicly executed in front of all the townspeople of De'Noran. Kara is acquitted as a witch, but the surviving Westfalls are pariahs. The town ruler’s pretty daughter, Grace, makes it her special mission to torment Kara while making it look like Kara is the one bullying her.

One day, when Kara is 12, a bird steals her mother's necklace, forcing Kara to follow
Grace W
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Proof that Young Reader books can be engaging, interesting and relevent for all readers. The Thickety is one of only a handful of Young Reader books that managed to terrify me. I thin it's probably most comparable to Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" in tone and style. It's great to read another story about a young, strong, positive female who is forced into making moral choices. This is the kind of story I will be recommending to everyone I know, possibly even forcing copies into the hands of my friends ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is too dark and too long for its target readers. Worse, the darkness of this book seems to be for its own sake rather than to serve any purpose. Its ending appears to be a teasing hook to draw the reader into a future book, but after all the misery of this one, why read another? Stop. Please, stop. Kara is a great protagonist, but I don't think I could stand to read another book in this author's world. ...more
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. Lots of the reviewers compare it to Neil Gaiman and I think that's pretty fitting.
Reminds me of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Not the as-adapted-by-Disney versions! The original ones: dark and sinister.
Plus the protagonist is female and is vastly superior to all the men around her! Also fitting.
I just wish she had red hair.
Jerby  Verderosa
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I always know that a children’s book is going to be good when I see reviews from angry parents, claiming it’s too scary for kids.

The Thickety is that good. Like, really, really good.

And it’s scary.

Not frightening in that it’s going to give you nightmares — (not for most adults, at least) — but it definitely creates a dark, brutal world that is not beyond making (very) bad things happen.

I do not want to give spoilers. I will simply say that I deeply enjoyed this book on the basis of character
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Thickety was an enthralling idea that was executed rather well. It had a fresh idea that I hadn't really seen before, something that's uncommon nowadays, and I will definitely be picking up the second book soon.

Kara's life was torn apart when her mother was accused of being a witch and killed in front of her and was tasked with taking care of her brother and father. Then Kara finds herself wandering into the Thickety, the strange woods surrounding her island, and inside she finds a book. A g
Aug 21, 2020 added it
Shelves: book-sort-2020
I READ THIS BOOK FOR THE FIRST TIME RIGHT AROUND THE TIME I GOT GOODREADS!!! i know this because, deep down in the notes app on my phone, there used to be a note titled "THE THICKETY REVIEW DRAFT" in all caps—i drafted and re-drafted it, trying to perfect it because i think i wanted to be goodreads review famous? then, i chickened out, and never even marked it as read. it was deleted when i cleaned up the notes on my phone. the one point i remember was that this book was a lot darker than i expe ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Thickety...A Path Begins
J.A. White


This is Kara's story. Her mother was a witch who was executed for being one. Kara is left with learning about her own destiny while living in a village where witches are despised.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Oh my...this book has all of the elements of fantasy that are so very addictive. There is the lovely mesmerizing writing. There is the opening...where Kara's mother is declared a witch. There is the aftermath...her father is out
Michelle Harrison
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed The Thickety which I listened to on BorrowBox. It’s about a girl called Kara, who is shunned by her village after her mother was found guilty of witchcraft and killed when Kara was only five years old. Now Kara is twelve, and after following a mysterious bird into the island’s dangerous and forbidden forest - the Thickety - she discovers her mother’s grimoire, and her own ability to cast spells. But will she be consumed by the same dark forces that claimed her mother, or can ...more
Brandy Painter
Jul 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
The Thickety is an interesting fantasy world with a fast-paced and engaging plot. Kara is a strong sympathetic main character and the life she lives is not easy. I can't really love this book for reasons that are such a personal bias that I don't even feel it is important to share them, but I can see how it would appeal to a lot of young readers.

*REVISED REVIEW: After a recent conversation with a friend, I have decided to drop this book's star rating. While there was much I found problematic wi
Ann Marie
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Thickety: A Path Begins
J A White

A cross between Harry Potter and Little House on the Prarie

I must admit I was not at all thrilled to pick this one up. I happened across it during my final week of 'Summer Reading List' reviews for 2014. It was way to thick in my 'first site' opinion. I did not want to be weighed down with something that would take more than an hour or so. My hand would not release it. So the book ended up on my desk, staring at me.

I took a peek inside - planning on simply rea
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
Well, this was amazing.

Firstly, Kara. She's a really likable person and I enjoyed her character a lot. Because I liked Kara so much, I hated that the townspeople were so mean to her and her family. Humans can be so cruel sometimes. I thought her relationship with her little brother Taff was super sweet and I liked her friendship with Lucas. I am so glad that there was no romance, because when Lucas was first introduced I thought he might be the love interest for Kara. But that was not the case,
Erin Bow
I've been on a middle-grade-scary-is-the-best-scary kick recently, and this one does not disappoint. My own middle-grade reader (who is ten, and very sensitive) I think would find this too scary, but I found it YUMMM. Virtues, let us count them:

-Young heroine to love. Kara actually reminds me a bit of my Plain Kate.
-Sharp prose.
-Well-constructed world about which I have questions in a GOOD way -- that is, I think the author knows what he is doing, and has laid enough clues that if I do read the
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J. A. White lives in New Jersey with his wife, three sons, and a hamster named Ophelia that doesn’t like him very much. When he’s not making up stories, he teaches a bunch of kids how to make up stories (along with math and science and other important stuff). He wishes dragons were real because it would be a much cooler way to get to work.

Other books in the series

The Thickety (4 books)
  • The Whispering Trees (The Thickety, #2)
  • Well of Witches (The Thickety, #3)
  • The Last Spell (The Thickety, #4)

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