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

The Rosemary Spell

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  516 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Best friends Rosie and Adam find an old book with blank pages that fill with handwriting before their eyes. Something about this magical book has the power to make people vanish, even from memory. The power lies in a poem—a spell. When Adam's older sister, Shelby, disappears, they struggle to retain their memories of her as they race against time to bring her back from the ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Clarion Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rosemary Spell, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
ZCD112603 The author is my mom, and I know that there is no romance in this story. I am not just saying this because she is my mother but this is a great book.
The author is my mom, and I know that there is no romance in this story. I am not just saying this because she is my mother but this is a great book.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  516 ratings  ·  134 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Rosemary Spell
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book as a GR giveaway.

"I can't imagine having once loved certain books and not loving them anymore. In a way, you are what you read, so abandoning books is the same thing as abandoning a part of yourself. And the truth is that his leaving the books behind baffled me more than his leaving Mom and me behind."

Rosie, Adam, and Shelby are the best of friends. They have spent their childhood together going on adventures, and books are an integral part of their friendship. Whe
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting book, combining literary criticism with wishful fantasy. For every middle school student learning about Shakespearean sonnets or modern poetry and wishing tirelessly that just once, an ancient book of sorcery might get tangled up in the homework assignment, this book is perfect. The tension of the story, and any fear or horror that might exist, really occurs by way of repetition. And the author does this very skillfully. For this age group, it's the fear of what might happ ...more
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
3.5 Stars review to come
Hannah Rae
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This is one of those books that I wouldn't normally read, but the author was speaking at the local library and I wanted to attend the presentation. So I got a copy, read it really quickly, and was happy I did. The Rosemary Spell was a fun read with a bunch of interesting literary references. I also learned some things about herbs and Shakespeare.

Even more than the book, I enjoyed the author. Virginia Zimmerman spoke so well and answered every single question that was asked of her. She was both k
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars Okay, before beginning this review one must understand something important. I am not a poetry fan. And even Shakespeare's (as often referenced in this book) can be a real tightrope read for me. So with how much was in here and circled around these ideas, it challenged my enjoyment on a personal level. That said, it is well written. I enjoyed it better the second time around (and my re-reading should tell you something too!).

I really liked the kids and their attempts to remember and br
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book....It's good for all ages (I'm 64)
It talked about memory and it was simply a good read!
I'd recommend it to everyone.
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Rosemary Spell really drew me in and refused to let go. This book has such an amazing and creative concept, and a mystery all rolled into one. Mystery is a genre that I have been loving recently and this book did not disappoint. Geared for a middle grade audience, The Rosemary Spell is quite enjoyable and makes for a quick read.

The Rosemary Spell has such an interesting concept! There is witchcraft, an old book filled with secrets, and so many more magical elem
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
It's not often I find myself sticking through a book that I find dull from beginning to end, but that's what happened with The Rosemary Spell. I was waiting for something interesting to occur, for the action to pick up or the characters to do something exciting, but none of that happened. There's an inordinate amount of repetition in the book that can be partly explained by the fact the characters are dealing with a loss of memory on two levels: their own and the Alzheimer's suffered by the poet ...more
Jay DeMoir
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
rosemary is for remembrance...

All I know is that this entire story was utterly sad. BEAUTIFUL and repetitious and sad. Between Constance's Alzheimer's and the kids making Shelby disappear and then forgetting and remembering it. it was just too much!
4.5 stars. I think the repetition annoyed me a tad bit but I really enjoyed reading this.

"Trying to hang on to what's gone just causes pain. It's better to focus on what we have."

Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When I got my hands on the advanced copy of The Rosemary Spell, I had no idea how difficult of a time I was going to have reviewing it. Before you assume the worst, what I mean by this is, it’s such a great book, I was actually stumped for a few days in trying to figure out how to best recap this book as well as how to convey the excitement I felt over this book.

This book falls within the YA category, and it is a great book that every young adult who has a passion for reading should read at leas
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

Lately I’ve been slowly exploring middle grade fiction, something I haven’t done since I was actually a middle grade reader, trying to find more and more titles for my daughter, who’s turning out to be quite the voracious reader. I must confess that I’m sometimes finding it difficult to see MG reads as she would see them and not judge them through adult eyes. But every once in a while there comes a book appropriate for all ages, beautiful and educational, a read that promotes all the right v
Megan Lane
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Things I appreciated:
1. Story telling. I can't recall a story written in 1st person present this good. I was thoroughly impressed. Sure, there were moments it felt forced, but I can have grace. And it didn't stop me from staying up until 3 am to finish it.
2. A boy-girl relationship that didn't hint at romance. Guys. That doesn't happen in books or movies. I kept expecting some hint to get thrown around, but it didn't. I am pleased. (That said, they did spend an unwise amount of time alone toget
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A short young adult novel that explores friendships, family and memory.

Rosemary and Adam are 13 and best friends who have long bonded over a shared love of books. Until recently Adam's 16 year old sister Shelby has been very much part of that friendship and another book lover, but she's growing up and beginning to leave Rosemary and Adam behind. It feels like the 16 year old who now wants to be called Michelle has forgotten them along with her other name.

Then the kids discover an old book with w
Ricki Treleaven
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Happy Literary Friday! So sorry for posting this late, but I'm slow moving this morning. This week I read The Rosemary Spell by Virginia Zimmerman. It's this quarter's book club selection for the Page à Vu book club blog.

I really enjoyed this little book. It's characterized as a middle grades book probably because the main characters are in middle school, but I think YA readers will enjoy it, too, given the supernatural qualities of the magical book. Thought to be a Shakespeare false codex, the
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is, to be honest, one of the best middle grade books I've ever read. In fact, I'd call this more a YA than an MG. A YA with layers of theme and story, and a realistic handling of growing up. Add to this multiple references to Shakespeare *and* YA/MG novels I love, and you've got an amazing story.

I actually read this in two days. And it was super tough to stop every two chapters and consider discussion questions for a Facebook group. But that was only because the pace was excellent and the t
Marathon County Public Library
Books and words have always been important to Rosemary and her best friend Adam, so when they discover an extremely old book in a locked cabinet in her father’s old study, they are excited beyond words. Is it perhaps a secret, magical, ancient book? Did it once belong to Shakespeare or perhaps to Constance Brooke, an elderly poet suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who used to live in their house? When they begin to write in the book at school and strange Shakespearean verse magically appears and ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I loved this book so much, it was a middle-grade novel but I think that people of any age can still find something to admire about it, whether it's the creative fantasy and magic in the story, the way the friendship between Rosie and Adam is written out or the way that you never know what's going to happen next. :)
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
A little younger than the age I usually read but the story was amazing! I found myself on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the characters were going to find their way out of the mess that had been made. I also really loved all the Shakespeare references.
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book soooo much!!!
it is kind of a sad story, but it is one of the best books i have read!
I would only read it ones though, it's just a one time read for me.
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
"I can't imagine having once loved certain books and not loving them anymore. In a way, you are what you read, so abandoning books is the same thing as abandoning a part of yourself."

This book was such a lovely surprise! It has a visible feel of middle grade/young adult novel but the writing is so beautiful and the way the author approaches some things is that I think even older readers can enjoy it.

It's a story about Rosemary and her two friends Adam and Shelby, who find an old book in a fo
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an enchanting little book! (Pun intended;) a sweet story of friendship, commitment, the power of words, growing up, and of course, remembering.

I found this book when I was perusing the children's fiction section at the library. The books are sorted alphabetically by last name of the author, so this one by Virginia Zimmerman was the last one on the shelf. I thought that made it worth giving it a try.

I really enjoyed it! Well written, lovely descriptions and word choices, and it included so
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I started The Rosemary Spell expecting it to be a book about magic, and while I was a little bit dissapointed to realise it wasn't big on spells and wizards, I think this book is full of magic, the kind that exists and that we can feel. Rosemary's passion for books, her imagination and her strong bounds with her friends brought me back to the years where dreaming about magical adventure and other worlds was a little bit easier. It was really an enchanting book and I'm glad I stumbled upon it thr ...more
Tricia Varosky
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think that the premise for this story is intriguing. I also believe that Zimmerman did a fantastic job of making the story come to life. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, never have been and probably never will be, but this story had an amazing way of grabbing my attention even though it focused on poetry as one of its main plot points.
I enjoyed reading this book so much it took me only a little over 2 hours to read it. While I'm a fast reader, that's good even for me. Not a hard book to read but
Tom Coleman
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So great I read it twice!

So, it’s starts out great, then gets even better, then WHAM! I loved it. I won’t spoil it for you, but man, are there great spoilers! :-) A delightful read that is both a mystery and a fantasy (like Harry Potter). I also love that both boys and girls are in the story (great as a family read), and as an adult, I loved it, too. Smart, interesting, and even funny, it gets really gripping as the magic and mystery unfolds. I wish we had kids books like this back in the 70s, w
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Rosie, Adam and Shelby have been together forever. But now Shelby is making her own friends her own age and getting a boyfriend, leaving it just Rosie and Adam. So when Rosie and Adam discover a blank book hidden in Rosie's new room, Rosie is reluctant to share at first. But then Shelby disappears when they try to tell her about the book and the disappearing words and the rhyme. Rosie and Adam have to figure out how to get Shelby back, before she's lost in the book for good.
Rosie and Adam read
Sarah S
Short version: Best friends Rosie and Adam solve a mystery/quest with lots of literary references.

There's more depth than that, including themes of loss and memory. Something that makes this title different is that so often, the characters in fantasy books just seem to know and accept what's going on--they're destined or charmed or have magic in them, or whatever. This seems more realistic in the way the characters are surprised, confused, and puzzled. This helps the reader feel their tension as
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I normally don't read this type of novels. But i just saw this book in some book fair, and i thought, why not?
And I don't regret getting it. This book is so, interesting, captivating...
I had been reading several novels ever since i was 13, and i don't know, I've always been looking for something in each book. I don't know what that "thing" is. I guess i just wanted a book which will make me feel like i felt the very first time i started reading english novels. And unfortunately, i never found th
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I think I would've been a better poetry student in middle school if I'd have read this book. I learned a lot about reading poetry embedded in the mystical adventure. I enjoyed the subplots as well - friendships enduring and changing as kids grow up, Alzheimers. The beginning is a little slow, the middle is an excellent page-turner, and the climax went in a direction I wasn't expecting, enough so that it took me out of the story a little. I'm looking forward to reading Zimmerman's Pelagia's Boats ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a good book, but took me a while to get through as I kept moving it and misplacing it between home and work. I read it with the idea of reading it aloud for my 5th graders, but found it will be a bit too slow to keep their full attention. Kids who aren't familiar with poetry or Shakespeare will also be a bit lost. The climax was very quick and exciting, and a good ending.
Anyone who likes books and believes in the power and magic of words and a good story will like this story.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book for younger teen readers. A good storyline which draws you in and you just want to know how it will finish. The teen reader who recommended this book to me loved the book but was disappointed with the ending, but I didn't have that reaction, I thought the ending was just right for the story to feel complete.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
*SPOILERS* The rest of the world on Shelby's disappearance? 1 2 Jun 19, 2017 03:28PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dreamers Often Lie
  • All Fall Down: The Landslide Diary of Abby Roberts
  • The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant (V, #1)
  • Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)
  • Goddess (Starcrossed, #3)
  • Glimmer
  • Hellworld
  • Just Jaime
  • 30-Second Mythology: The 50 Most Important Greek and Roman Myths, Monsters, Heroes and Gods, Each Explained in Half a Minute
  • Campfire
  • The Gathering (Shadow House, #1)
  • Gemini
  • Brothers Far from Home: The World War I Diary of Eliza Bates (Dear Canada)
  • Finding Gobi: The True Story of One Little Dog's Big Journey
  • What the Dead Want
  • The Secret Language of Sisters
  • Dreamless (Starcrossed, #2)
  • Different (Tainted Elements, #1)
See similar books…
Virginia Zimmerman grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., though she was named for a great aunt, not for her state. When she was young, she enjoyed writing and talking to friends about books, so she decided to grow up into a person who could do those things all the time. She was an English major at Carleton College, and she went to graduate school in English at the University of Virg ...more

Related Articles

So many aspects of life and leisure have changed. This is true. It’s also true that we need to take care of ourselves, collectively and i...
212 likes · 116 comments