Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Spirit's Key” as Want to Read:
Spirit's Key
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Spirit's Key

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  392 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Spirit's Key is a mystery with a bit of magic for fans of Savvy and Because of Winn Dixie.

By now, twelve-year-old Spirit Holden should have inherited the family gift: the ability to see the future. But when she holds a house key in her hand like her dad does to read its owner's destiny, she can’t see anything. Maybe it’s because she can't get over the loss of her beloved d
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  392 ratings  ·  100 reviews

Sort order
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really enjoy reading children's books as an adult. Sadly I felt that whilst I would have really enjoyed this as an child it didn't work for me as an adult reader. It was much too simplistic for me.
Benji Martin
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
All righty then. I've been looking for THAT book this year, the book I was going to obsess over, recommend to every student that asked for a suggestion, and cheer my heart out for come Newbery season, and this might be it. If Revolution, Fourteenth Goldfish or some random dark horse doesn't blow me away, then I'm on Team Spirit.

I laughed when I read that it was for fans of Because of Winn-Dixie and Savvy, because really? Those two don't go together, but I knew that any decent publisher wouldn't
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful! This is a beautifully written debut novel from Edith Cohn. Readers will instantly fall in love with the main character Spirit Holden and be rooting for her every step of the way as she uncovers the mysteries of her strange hometown. With her beloved dog sidekick, Sky, who is loyal even from beyond the grave, Spirit discovers that Bald Island has more secrets than she'd ever dare to imagine. The setting and magical elements are intriguing and the friendship of a girl and her dog are tr ...more
Livia Blackburne
What a delightful book! Spirit is a plucky heroine, and an easy one to get behind. Also, I loved the baldies and wanted to take them home with me.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’ve found a book for those of you who were traumatized in youth by Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, and other hopeless dog tales. As a lifetime dog owner and lover, dog books have become my personal cancer books. I just can’t read them without having the heart ripped out of my chest.

When in graduate school my Resources in Children’s Literature prof assigned us Because of Winn-Dixie, we took it with a measure of trepidation and asked her tremulously before we’d begin, “Does anything bad hap
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2-star
Sometimes when I read middle grade books I can completely forget that it was intended for a younger audience and fall in love with the stories. Other times, like with this book, all I can think about is how young the story feels and I usually don’t end up enjoying those.

The premise with this one was pretty girl; a young girl who comes from a family who of psychics is grieving the loss of her dog. She lives on an island where dogs aren’t viewed well, so when dogs start dropping and dead and peopl
Courtney Leigh
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous, heartfelt story. What I love most is that it not only deals with loss and grief, but also friendship, prejudice, and the power of kindness. There were so many perfect moments of truth sprinkled throughout that I couldn't help but to fall in love with this little island and all its inhabitants! Spirit, especially, is a fantastic protagonist, fighting for what she believes in and trusting her empathetic instincts to guide her actions.

Also, THAT COVER. It matches the artistry a
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE! In her debut middle grade novel, Spirit’s Sky, Edith Cohn masterfully balances thrilling adventures with a tenderness that pulls the reader into this story from the very first page. The main character Spirit, a seer like her father, searches for answers to the mystery behind the deaths of several local wild dogs. The ghost of her own cherished wild dog, Sky, helps Spirit uncover dangerous secrets on the island. Their unwavering loyalty to each other and the magical world where Spirit lives ...more
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book and set it on my night stand excited to read it that night. A bit later I noticed it was missing. And I heard my daughter talking in her room. I snuck down the hall and found her reading Spirit's Key to herself. I cried. She was a reluctant reader and here she was reading to herself all on her own. "Sky is Spirit's dog, mom!" Sometimes kids need that key to get then into reading. That was that for my girl. I will be eternally grateful

This book was wonderful, whimsical and hea
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
So this book absolutely won me over the second I saw it. The story is so beautiful and I am proud to say I truly immersed myself in the world with Spirit and Sky. The description of the island was beautifully done and the story captured my heart. I was so impressed!
Frances Sackett
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot of friends who are writers, and I've read many books prior to their publication. But this is one of those novels that I just can't wait to see published so that everybody else can read it too. Edith Cohn is such a gifted writer, and in this book, she creates a magical, wonderful world that I would have given anything to visit as a child. Bald Island a lot like our world -- except better. On Bald Island, house keys hold the secrets to the future; ghost dogs help solve mysteries; and ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Spirit’s Key is a beautifully written story of loss and friendship and one girl’s struggle to fight for what she believes in. Spirit is feisty and brave and stubborn and a little reckless, yet still manages to wear her heart on her sleeve. And it’s that attitude that will draw readers in from the first page. Then they’ll get caught up in the story itself. The death of her beloved dog Sky sets in motion an island-wide mystery that only Spirit can solve, but as she delves deeper into what is killi ...more
Liz Dean
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am so impressed with this novel! I loved the quasi-realistic island fantasy setting. I grew up sailing along the coast of NC and this took me back to what it felt like to be on camping on an island or anchored in a creek and cut off from the rest of the world. That's a gift in this interconnected, always on digital age! Spirit and those close to her - Sky, her dad, and the wonderfully named Nector Hatterask are a joy to spend time with. Any kid who loves fantasy, mystery or animals will love t ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I saw a description of the book as being a combination of Savvy and Because of Winn-Dixie, and that definitely rings true. This book has adventure, mystery, meaningful themes and issues that can be discussed, a satisfying ending, and has content totally appropropriate for third graders. That adds up to five stars for me!
Valerie Nelan
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
This is a great read for middle-graders. Readers will be enchanted by Spirit, and will probably be looking for their own personal ghost dog before it's all said and done.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing I loved watching how the characters changed through the book, but it did have me crying at the end.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it !, uhch a good book loved the format and how the writing was in first person. i wouild read it again
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So I went into reading this book thinking, I won't be that into it , it's a children's book , but I was very surprised how much I loved it !
The little island with all its people and the writing style of the author just pulled me right in.
I was surprised to Find out that it was the authors first book, her writing style was just so engrossing and so very very good. Loved it !
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

There is an episode of the British science fiction show (and now worldwide phenomenon) “Doctor Who”, in which the character of the Doctor attempts to explain his current whereabouts by describing the universe as a bubble, with a tiny bubble sticking to the outside. While the Doctor dismisses his metaphor before he has even finished it, I feel this appropriately encapsulates the world of Edith Cohn’s Spirit’s Key. It’s our world, but not quite. Our world as it could
Huge thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) and Netgalley for this ARC!

What an enchanting debut middle grade novel! I was completely hooked into the story of this book, especially because it's about a young girl's connection to his missing dog. Spirit's family has the power to see the future, and the story really revolves around Spirit learning how to cope with being given a gift she might not have wanted in the first place.

What I loved the most about this book was genuine amount of emotio
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2014 is going to be an excellent year for Middle Grade and SPIRIT'S KEY fits nicely into the pantheon of what you should buy your middle grade reader!

Spirit Holden lives on a small barrier island and has recently lost her beloved dog, Sky. But lest you think cocker spaniel or some other ball of fluff, Sky was a baldie - one of the wild island dogs - that Spirit nursed back to health when he crawled under her porch. Fortunately, this story starts after Sky has died, so the reader doesn't have to
Twelve-year-old Spirit Holden lives on Bald Island with her father who uses his psychic abilities to make a living. He is able to see the future by holding someone's house key. Still dealing with the death of her dog, Sky, Spirit finds his dog tag and is able to see her dog's ghost. As her psychic gifts begin to develop, Spirit realizes that there is a reason for her ability to communicate with Sky. Sky and the other baldies--feral island dogs that many of the islanders fear and suspect of harbo ...more
Robin Herrera
Hello, wonderful book!

From the moment I started SPIRIT'S KEY, I knew I had to finish it. There was so much mystery and intrigue in that first chapter, so many oddly-named yet endearing characters who jumped right off the page. Spirit's voice was pitch perfect: a little uncertain, a little scared, very determined, and incredibly vulnerable.

I love the small island she called home, with its superstitions and rich history. I love the idea that someone can hold a house key and see into the owner's f
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, middle-grade
What a perfectly-crafted middle-grade book! From the singular setting of Bald Island, to the sometimes-lovable, sometimes-frustrating characters, to the light touches of magic that the author gets just right, I found this book to be unique and hard to put down.

Kids will be enchanted by Spirit's ability to communicate with animals, but readers of any age will embrace the themes of learning to belong and overcoming fears. Plus the writing is simple and beautiful. I loved reading Spirit's Key.
L. Chase
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is adorable!!! I want a ghost dog!

Spirit Holden is a character with a lot of spunk. When her town criticizes her beliefs about the baldies, Spirit always holds fast to her morals and convictions--and stays strong. Perhaps my favorite part is that the setting is so vivid and fresh. This richly-imagined world felt like no where else I've ever read. And the future-seeing aspect of the story adds just the perfect touch of magic to the story!

Bottom line: For those who love books about kids
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I need a category for books like Doll Bones by Holly Black and Spirit's Key by Edith Cohn. Fantasy set firmly in reality, and with important lessons to learn.

I really enjoyed this book and thankful to have gotten an early copy and also for a chance to have met Edith Cohn. Both she and her book are wonderful.

This book will be easy to book talk - I suspect you should have 2 copies for your classroom. Full review to be posted on my blog.
Tehlor Mejia
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite new middle grade titles, and definitely my favorite of the fall! Spirit is a believable and ferocious heroine with just enough of a sense of humor to balance her sense of social justice, Ghost Sky is a fantastically unique sidekick, and Bald Island is the perfect setting for a story where the supernatural is commonplace and a 12 year old with a gift can come into her own with style :)
Love mystery, adventure, and a little bit of spooky? Love animals and stories of preteens learning to accept their skills and talents?

Spirit is an intelligent, passionate, loving young woman. The story moved quickly and will delight middle grade readers.

Kids who loved Savvy and also enjoy mildly spooky tales will love this book.
Michele Knott
Mystery, adventure, the impossible, the unknown. I love what this book offers to its readers.
I found it hard to put down and for every question that got answered another one popped up.
This will be a great book to share with readers this fall!
Cara Stone
Absolutely charming for late elementary and middle grade readers. Wonderful female protagonist, charming story with action and heart.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free e-galley of this book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Great Middle Grad...: Spirit’s Key 1 13 Mar 03, 2018 01:52PM  
  • Nightingale's Nest
  • Seven Stories Up
  • Circa Now
  • Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood
  • There Will Be Bears
  • Steering Toward Normal
  • What the Moon Said
  • The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher
  • Caminar
  • All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1)
  • Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle (Gabriel Finley #1)
  • Dreamwood
  • The Lost Planet (Chase Garrety #1)
  • The League of Seven (The League of Seven, #1)
  • Saving Kabul Corner
  • Thornghost (The Twistrose Key, #2)
  • The Riverman (The Riverman Trilogy, #1)
  • Boys of Blur
Edith Cohn was born and raised in North Carolina where she grew up visiting the unique beaches of the Outer Banks. She currently lives in the coyote-wild hills of Los Angeles with her husband and fur-daughter Leia. All of these things provided inspiration for her middle grade novel, SPIRIT’S KEY, a mystery about a girl and her ghost dog. (FSG/Macmillan)
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »