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Some Small Magic

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  183 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
She whispers, “I’m supposed to take you home.”

“Not yet,” Abel says. “Please, just not yet.”

All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past.

When Abel discovers letters to him from the dad he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattin
Paperback, 416 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Thomas Nelson
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Ruthie this could be considered a young adult book...some deaths with descriptions and small sexual innuendos nothing else

Community Reviews

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Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Some Small Magic is a book about death. While this may sound depressing, it was a sweet story about two friends. Abel is a young boy with physical ailments and his best friend Willie who is mentally slow. They both have a heart of gold.

The story includes supernatural elements which is not a favorite for me. Perhaps for this reason, I found the first half of the story a little difficult. The second half however was beautifully done.

The characters are wonderful and there were several life messages
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wouldn’t we all love to find a little magic in our lives? Abel is a young boy who has had far too many hardships in his short life. His body is broken and he longs for healing. He and his mom are so poor and he wishes for just a bit more to make his mom’s life easier. His mom has always told him that his father was a railroad man who died, but now Abel has to question his entire life as he’s found letters that his father has been writing to him his whole life. So Abel sets out on a journey for s ...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"Keep your eye on things that matter and don't, and learn to know the difference. Most people die every day in some way or another. It's the good ones who only die once."

If you have never read a novel from Billy Coffey, you might just be missing out on one of the most articulate southern gentlemen's artistry with words. You might even call him a true wordsmith, but that down-home humility of Mr. Coffey's is likely to make you think he doesn't recognize his own God-given gift to weave such beliva
Apr 08, 2017 added it
This is the first book I’ve read by Billy Coffey, and while neither the title, the cover or the description especially appealed to me, I requested it for review because of the good things I’ve heard about his previous books. I read a lot of ‘Top Ten’ lists at the end of 2016, and several of them mentioned Coffey’s previous book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly.

The result is I started reading Some Small Magic without knowing much about it, but with the expectation of something worth reading, and so
Well, this has the distinction of being one of the strangest ( not always in a bad sense) books I've ever read. It's an allegory in a sense, but not all of it is.

It lacks a really good message of hope, and it lacks true Christianity, a comforter, and a Redeemer. The theology of the book is very odd; that alone complicated it for me. It is supernatural in nature, but not Christian.

The characters start off somewhat normal( as a Chris Fabry story, perhaps, I thought at the beginning it might be a g
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Words fail me when it comes to reviewing this novel. I can't remember how long it's been since I was so thoroughly transported by a story. The basic plot concerns little Abel, a boy born with a disability, who embarks on a search for healing.
Beyond that, the story is magical. To say more would spoil the many events that fill the pages of Some Small Magic.
I loved the book, and will read it again--maybe more than once!
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
"Find your treasure. Your treasure will be your healing. . . . . . The treasure is yours should you seek it, though go in haste and do not turn away. Your time has come."

Words spoken by a mountain healer, to a young boy whose body, mind and spirit is irreparably broken. Disfigured by brittle bones and constantly harassed by his peers, Abel Shifflet's friendship with a handicapped neighbor proves to be his saving grace, for when a bully vows revenge of the very worst kind, Abel and Dumb Willie s
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have read all of Billy Coffey's books, and Some Small Magic was a hard read, emotionally. I haven't cried much, if at all, with his other books. His story-telling was, again, superb. Some people critique his books as slow, but they are missing the unraveling of, not a novel, but a story. Do you understand the difference?

I wish I had taken notes as I read this book. I have so many thoughts and feelings I'd like to share, and I'm not even sure how. I did share one quote on Facebook, so here is a
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Billy Coffey’s novels and found the idea of Christian fiction with a large dollop of magical realism to be intriguing.
When Some Small Magic came up for review, I decided to give it a whirl.
Coffey has created a moving story centering on broken people in a broken world who are looking for healing.
The characters are complex, with depths not found in every story.
Part of this comes from the subject matter in the novel — when one of the main themes is death, it ma
Polly Krize
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Billy Coffey is a new author to me, and I was delighted to find this book. Misfits Abel Shifflett and Dumb Willie ride the train in the hope of finding the town of Fairhope, where a little magic may be found. I found the written almost lyrical, and very good characterization.
Danielle Urban
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some Small Magic by Billy Coffey is a heart breaking read. I wanted to cry and hug the characters. I felt the need to help, sympathize, and care. The entire read was an emotionally deep story. One that takes readers into its core and never lets go. Captivating, well-written, and stunning. Each character had an issue that pulled at my heart. I would love to see this book on the big screens everywhere.

Billy Coffey has a talent for providing a fictional world that drags readers instantly inside an
Angie Fehl
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Our protagonist, young Abel (I believe he's possibly in his teens at the story's opening?) was born with a medical condition that causes his bones to remain very brittle and his spine crooked. This also leads him to have disfigured limbs that make movement difficult. Abel hates that his health problems cause his mother so much stress and financial strain. Both he and his mother try to live good, honest lives, Lisa (the mother) putting in long hours a local diner in their little town of
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book so much. It was tragic, hopeful, beautiful and had all the elements needed to make a great story. Most of all it had magic, the stuff of life that is all around us but if we just stop and pay attention. The beauty of friendship is beautifully portrayed in this wondrous tale. Billy Coffey took me on a journey, one that I didn’t want to end.
Shawn Smucker
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Billy's writing has both an innocence and a depth that shines through in this novel. It absolutely drips with quietness and the South and gave me a tangible feeling of clinging to hope. A great read.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
2.5/3 stars. It was just meh.
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some Small Magic is a good read. I enjoyed the characters, plot, and set in the hills of Virginia, which is my favorite setting in a story. Recommended.
4 stars
Sara Wise
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
** “(Spring’s) always been my favorite time. Everything looks so dead and gone and then it all starts growing back like the world’s been holding its breath and this is the exhale. I’ve always thought spring meant hope. Like it’s God’s way of saying I know you’ll all screw this up again, but let’s try one more time anyway. One time I heard that the definition of a miracle is something coming from nothing. If that’s true, then I guess spring is the biggest miracle of all.” **

Billy Coffey offers an
Jessica Higgins
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Every book of Coffey’s dives a little bit deeper and a little bit darker.

Abel Shifflet’s life needs a little bit of magic. He was born with soft bones and messed up insides, which the other kids at school take advantage of. He and his mom are very poor as she can only wait tables and any money they have tends to go to mending Abel’s bones when they break. At a mountain revival in the hills outside Mattingly, Abel watches Reverend Johnny Mills heal others with the touch of a hand. Abel can’t deci
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Over 13
Some Small Magic is the first book I have read by Billy Coffey. He is a very talented and articulate author, and his imagery puts you right in the middle of the scenes. However, having said that, I had a difficult time reading Some Small Magic.

I fell in love with Abel, the son of Lisa, a poor, hardscrabble woman just trying to make it day to day as a waitress. Abel was born with soft bones and was constantly breaking one; also, his hips were misaligned, and he was smaller than most children his
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Two important notes about this story, in case you judge a book by its title:

1. There is nothing "small" about it.
2. Don't let the world "magic" scare you away.

I can't properly describe how I feel about this story, or any of Coffey's stories. Reading them often lets loose some feeling in me that I didn't know need to be freed. It is the kind of story that leaves you feeling happy-sad because it is true. There is nothing false about this fiction.

From the naming of characters--Abel, who is not able
Cathy Cermele
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Billy Coffey is a masterful storyteller and has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I know that I'll love his characters and that they'll be endearing. Wow, he certainly exceeded my expectations in Some Small Magic.

From the first page I was caught up in the life of Abel Shifflett a young frail boy that stole my heart. He is much stronger than I had originally expected him to be as he faces a bully, a less than ideal home life and finding out his father is alive. His bravery, coupled with
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book surprised me. It had been on TBR for a while and I didn't really remember putting it there, or what interested me about the synopsis in the first place. When it popped up for the Randomizer challenge, I was really unenthused about it. Turns out, it was amazing. I honestly had a hard time reading it because it was so heartbreaking, but it was also just a really good book.

I thought it was going to a generic coming-of-age story with some really predictable tropes. While it seemed to star
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All Abel wants is a little bit of magic in his life. Enough money so his mom doesn’t cry at night. Healing for his broken body. And maybe a few answers about his past. When Abel discovers letters to him from the father he believed dead, he wonders if magic has come to the hills of Mattingly, Virginia, after all. But not everything is as it seems. With a lot of questions and a little bit of hope, Abel decides to run away to find the truth. But danger follows him from the moment he jumps his first ...more
Christine Lowe
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Achingly Perfect Story

Billy Coffey is one of my favorite authors. He knows how important small things are and how they can evolve into big things. He is a brilliant storyteller, able to describe people and places so well they become real.

Abel Shifflett is a broken young boy who often has casts on his arms or legs. Many people in Mattingly thought his mother, Lisa, had something to do with this. Abel's small body looks like it was made from spare parts that didn't come from the same body. One
Cricket Muse
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Billy Coffey adds another installment to his town of Mattingly series. Although Some Small Magic is a stand alone read, it adds to the theme of the broken finding mercy through faith that is a part of this fictional town.
This story centers on Abel Schifflet, a boy born broken, whose body is always on the verge of disaster. Impoverished by circumstance, Abel nevertheless lives off the riches that life brings him: his mama's love and the friendship of a man the size of a mountain with the mind of
Sharen Popoff
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book. I liked ALL the characters. I found myself internally debating over how I wanted the book to go and as I got further along I kept taking breaks from reading to drag out the ending just to keep the story going.

Abel and his best friend, Dumb Willie, are both 'special' in ways that are initially obvious, making 'special' sound like a bad thing, but as the journey progresses we see how really 'special' the two are, and only in the best way possible. The two head out on an
Angela Bycroft
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
In part grand adventure, in part grand allegory with a dash of good old fashioned sentimentality - Some small magic has more than a small amount of magic for what at surface level seems a simple adventure tale. But don’t let appearances fool you - this is one story that you won’t put down and forget in a hurry.

Abel is a young crippled boy who lives with his solo mum who struggles to make ends meet, living in their small trailer park. Abel wishes he could be of more help and hates to see his mot
Donna Shaw
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Abel is a young crippled boy with bones that break easily. He is being raised by his mother in the hills of Virginia and believes his father to be dead until he finds letters to him from his father. Abel believes in magic and that when he finds his father they will be a family. Dumb Willie had a brain injury as a child and is Abel's best friend and protector. Together they go on a journey to find Abel's father. They meet up with a hobo on the train who guides them on their trip. Unknown to Abel, ...more
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-guild
We all need a little magic in our lives. Abel has had too many hardships in his short life. He and his mom are so poor and he wishes for just a bit more to make his mom’s life easier. Abel has found letters that his father has been writing to him his whole life. So Abel sets out on a journey for some answers. He takes his best friend, Dumb Willie. Things change when they meet a young woman named Dorothy (who is really Death), on the train.

Coffey's novels are somewhat metaphysical, blended with s
Tina Wilson
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I can't quite make up my mind on this one. First, I'd like to rate it higher because the writing and the tone of the book were so well done. But, truthfully it was hard for me to read. This is a sad, melancholy book. When one of the main characters is death and the other is dead for most of the book how can it be anything but sad? Still, it is a hopeful book, filled with the small but meaningful magic of the title. And it beautifully captures a slice of Americana. Just not my kind of book. While ...more
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Billy and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity--all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.

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