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The Spider Ring

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  44 reviews
A powerful ring. A dangerous web.

When Maria inherits a strange, spider-shaped ring from her grandmother, she doesn't realize she's also inheriting a strange power -- the power to control spiders and have them do whatever she wants. This is a pretty cool thing when it comes to fetching objects from another room . . . or if Maria wants to use the spiders to get back at some
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Scholastic Press
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Richard Denney
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing


I will never step on another spider again.

This is the second book I’ve read this year that had a little to do with insects and now not only am I afraid of the roaches and beetles from The Cavendish Home for Boys & Girls, I’m now even more afraid of spiders haha thanks Andrew Harwell, thank you for that.

I really, really enjoyed this one! It read like an episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark” and had some tones of John Bellairs thrown in, which I noticed and loved. I know that It was b
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I feel uniquely unqualified to write a review because the author is a personal friend.

I'm giving his book a 5-star review not on its literary merits but on the underserved niche this book occupies.

As a teacher of seventh graders, I am constantly faced with finding "just right" literature. Most MG books are too cartoony; most Young Adult books are too intense. My students who need my help in selecting books the most are those kids who want to feel like they are reading YA when I am steathily feed
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
was an interesting story, a quick read but it didn't help me get over my dear of spiders.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
While this was not a bad book, per se, it didn't really impress me all that much either. This is the kind of a book that you read when you're 8-10 and it blows your mind. You think back on it periodically as you grow up and you remember it just being amazing. Then, as an adult, you go back to reread it and you discover it just wasn't as mind blowing as you remember it being. You know what I mean? I think when my daughters read this, they'll be fully creeped out and in awe of the story, but it ju ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Maria loved spending time with her eccentric grandma Esme, who claimed to have been a world famous circus lion tamer, Esmeralda the Magnificent. She was a little peculiar and a lot quirky, from her black silky patterned shawls, her collection of fancy whistles, to her love of spiders. So, when she started talking about the spiders coming for her, Maria thought she was just being the grandma she always knew.

However, when grandma Esme suddenly dies, leaving her special spider ring for Maria, Mari
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
When seventh-grader Maria inherits her Grandma Esme’s enormous spider ring, she realizes her grandma’s eccentricities were real. Along with the ring, Grandma left a mysterious note: "The spiders are your friends. Do not abuse their friendship." Maria discovers the ring gives her the power to control spiders. It is one of the Order of the Anansi—eight rings representing the eight most feared spiders on earth. Maria soon has the spiders doing her bidding in a variety of ways, not the least of whic ...more
Ms. Yingling
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
When Maria's grandmother passes away suddenly, she leaves her spider ring for Maria, hidden in their special spot. Maria soon realizes that the ring has powers to summon spiders and make them do her bidding, such as making her a pretty dress. Her grandmother warned her not to abuse the spider's friendship, but that doesn't stop Maria from asking the spiders to make a scene at the evil Claire's birthday party. When a creepy older man shows up, Maria learns not only secrets about her grandmother's ...more
Will Walton
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It seems like every fall I come into custody of a fantastic new middle grade novel, and it's felt like a huge blessing EVERY TIME. Last year it was Laurel Snyder's incredible Seven Stories Up. This year, undoubtedly, it's The Spider Ring.
Now, there's certainly enough chill-inducing, creepy-crawly action in The Spider Ring to allow for its Charlotte's-Web-meets-Stephen-King cover art, but what really STUCK with me about this stellar debut is how it so adeptly, beautifully (and accurately) depict
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: children-s
DNF. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but it was simply BORING. It has a great cover, a great premise and the main character is a girl! Unfortunately nothing much happens in the first half of the book (I gave up at page 108). That to me is a cause for concern with any book that I read. The only cool thing that happens is the scene in which she discovers her power over the spiders. When it comes to children's/YA fantasy I expect, I don't know ANYTHING to happen. A chase scene, a blast of magic ...more
Tyler Goodson
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-mg
This is so good. Surprisingly sweet and unsurprisingly compelling.
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fic
3-12 stars I have a fear of spiders so I had to make myself read this! This good middle grade novel- magic, power, the ability to communicate with spiders, it kept my interest.
Gayleen Rabakukk
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg
Loved this slightly spooky story of Maria who inherits a spider ring from her Grandmother Esme, a former circus performer. She soon learns wearing the ring grants the power to communicate with spiders.
Told in third person, limited point of view. Set in the present in Florida.
Heather Wadell
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun story with great lessons about friendship.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-kids, own, favorites
Review up later!
Jill Cd
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Perfect book to read around Halloween especially if you have arachnophobia and want a little scare. It definitely will make you think twice about spiders. An entertaining read.
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Maria is a seventh grader who is sort of the outcast, the odd girl whose family doesn't have a whole lot of, well, anything. Her clothes are all second hand because she is raised by a single mom and she would rather spend her time with her eccentric grandmother than doing much of anything else.

Grandma Esme has a lot of stories and a lot of secrets. Maria never imagined in her wildest dreams that any of those stories, or those secrets, could possibly have really been true and that they would take
Apr 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Maria is a middle schooler who lives with her park ranger mom and her younger brother. She has a best friend, Derek. One of her classmates, Claire, bullies her, making fun of her thrift store clothes m her glasses, and the fact that Maria is smart. Maria's grandmother Esme is her rock but Esme dies, leaving Maria her spider ring and a note which tells her that spiders are her friends and she's not to abuse their friendship. It turns out that the ring gives Maria the ability to control some spide ...more
There is much to like about The Spider Ring, which will deservedly be popular with middle grade readers. The book's protagonist, Maria, is part of its appeal since she's dealing with a high school nemesis in the form of the ever-critical Claire, for one thing. Plus, after the death of her beloved grandmother, she inherits the woman's spider ring and realizes that it allows her to communicate with certain spiders. But she must be careful what tasks she bids the arachnids do for her, as her grandm ...more
Stephanie Bange
Oct 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Maria’s grandmother Esme has always had a strange obsession for spiders; many times in the past, she told Maria to never harm a spider because they were her friends. Recently, she emphasized Maria should not abuse their friendship and cryptically mentioned that “the other spiders were after her”. When Esme dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Maria finds Esme’s beautiful spider ring in a place only Maria could find. When she puts on the ring, Maria finds that she can communicate with sp ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-store-ch
I wish this book was coming out in time for halloween! It's a solid, scary thriller for a middle grade reader (not as scary as I thought it was going to be, which is probably a good thing, because the tag for this book freaked me out).

I wish a bigger point had been made about the resolution of bullying, and the obvious danger that brown recluses pose to humans. Like, don't try to catch and release those, for real.

Extra love for having some diversity in this book (the main character is Maria Lop
Karrie Owens
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Spider Ring is a good middle grade story with a positive message that family and friendship is more important than any kind of magic or power. I enjoyed this novel very much and would suggest it to any fans of E.B Baker's Tales of the Frog Princess or even Harry Potter fans. I hope to see more novels from Andrew in the future.

My only complaint is that I feel like I didn't get to know the characters as deeply as I would have liked, but at it's reading level I think it can pass on that.

Other t
Kate Simpson
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It reinforced my life long obsession as a catch and release spider person. More, though, I loved the way it carried me away into a world that seemed so real despite the magic rings, secret powers and grandmother with a curious past. The rich characters and twisting, turning plot are interwoven seamlessly with true-to-the-age feelings and predicaments. It kept me guessing all the way through, right up to the surprising ending. I enjoyed it and recommend highly for young readers ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book. It was fun and exhilarating to read, but also different than what I have read before. For someone who doesn't like spiders (more like fears spiders) it is still a good book. I loved the plot line. I have to say at one point I was reading this book outside, and since I get a little jumpy and paranoid at times I had to come inside because I was jumping at every leave that hit the bottom of the trampoline I was on. I really enjoyed reading this, and I would recommend i ...more
Cynthia Egbert
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
It was sitting on the new shelf at the library looking all spider-webby and I just couldn't resist. It is not bad but it is not great either. I am a spider nut and so there was some fun moments for me but those likely would really creep other people out. I can imagine that there are a number of early teen readers who would appreciate this offering.
Jul 16, 2014 added it
Love this, from p. 144: "She knew that telling a story was like spinning a spiderweb. A good storyteller could lure you in, and before you knew it, it was too late--you were trapped. Maria would listen to Arturo's story, but she wouldn't let herself get lost in it. She was lost in too many stories already."
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I think students will really enjoy this suspenseful story about a girl who gets a ring from her grandmother that can control spiders. It has just the perfect amount of "terror" without going overboard, and of course I like the message about choosing to do the right thing rather than the easy thing.
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
After taking some time to think about The Spider Ring, what I've realized is that despite any qualms I may have, it is a near-perfect children's book. It has absolutely every trope you could ever need- a great adventure, suspense, important relationships, and a lesson that doesn't feel didactic. I loved this book!
Mr. Stoner
Sep 02, 2016 rated it liked it
A good book for 4-6 graders. Interesting concept. Similar to a Tarzan, only with Spiders. I liked the background story of grandma working for a traveling circus and performing magic. Good for kids to try to predict the outcome. This was interesting.
Patricia Kaniasty
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was a cute story about spiders and magic. However, it had the potential to be so much better. Had very little action. I would have liked to know grandma Esme better, learn more about her life. The story left so many questions.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this for my middle grade &YA book club. So much fun! Lots of genuinely creepy images written in such a way that a middle grade reader can hang in there. Loved the FL setting, led to some googling about different spiders.
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I'm a children's book writer and editor living in Brooklyn, New York. I'm originally from Georgia but went to school in Chicago, and while I studied "the great books" in class, I spent every moment of free time in the children's and young adult section of 57th Street Books, devouring stories by Francesca Lia Block, David Levithan, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K Le Guin, and many more. But really, my ...more