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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  724 ratings  ·  212 reviews
Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped -- even though she told her parents that they did. Every day she feels less and less like herself.

Then Alma meets the ShopKeeper in the town's junk shop, The Fifth Point. The ShopKeeper gives her a telescope and this message:

Find the E
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  724 ratings  ·  212 reviews

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Gavin Hetherington
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A truly delightful and heartwarming tale about finding the strength and light inside you.

Alma moved with her parents to the town of Four Points, a town Alma is unfamiliar with and causes her panic attacks to worsen. Her parents try their best to help and understand, but even Alma can't understand her own anxiety. One day, she sees something fall from the sky - is it a girl? - and pretty soon she ends up having to band with three other kids from school to find the four elements and save the star
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
By Jess Redman
Wow! I am not one to be without words but I couldn’t actually speak for a while after I finished this book. It could be because I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it but it is more because I was blown away by how wonderful this story was. I can’t help but think I am so very fortunate to be among the first to experience this delightful gift. Jess Redman has crafted a fantasy tale for the ages and I don’t think it’s too much to say that children will be read
Belles Middle Grade Library
Jun 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wowza! This book was so great! A magical mystery adventure, with important issues like anxiety too. Alma was such an amazingly written MC. I think the author did a great job showing what living w/anxiety is like for many people-including kids. I think many kids(& adults)will be able to relate to Alma & feel SEEN. Alma is so fearful of everything, b/c she is fearful of having another “episode”-panic attack. I just wanted to hug her & tell her I understand & she isn’t alone.

Things start to take a
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2021
What a delightful middle grade novel about being true to the light within you. I loved Alma and the adventure she and her group of friends took in this story. I love that Alma recognized from the beginning that she had something special within her, but struggled with letting it grow. I loved the way mental health and anxiety were handled. Loved the adventure. I thought it was different from so many other books I've read. It was sweet and magical and filled with so much heart. This was my first J ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

5 big stars for my newest heart print read. I sat down to read it at just the right time, and it deeply touched me with how sensitively the author handled Alma's anxiety. As someone who also deal with mental health issues, I loved watching Alma's growth and the wonderfully supportive friends and adults who appeared throughout the story (many with sage advice that I took to heart). The story is filled with magic, and yet I was so
Jul 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this book is everything I want in a middle grade. It was whimsical and magical. It made me feel like maybe I could go rescue stars, and have a magical element glowing inside of me. I could tell this book was written by a therapist because it was just so self-affirming. Wonderful!!!
Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

Quintessence was a very science-heavy story that I enjoyed; however, the characters consistently put themselves in dangerous situations, and I really didn't like how unsafe most of their activities were. The author makes it seem like their "quest" was perfectly normal and necessary, but I w
Alicia Bayer
This is perhaps more proof that you can't judge a book by its cover, as I'm absolutely in love with this cover. My youngest daughter and I have been reading this as a bedtime book for what seems like forever but we've finally just put it aside and started another book. While the main character is likeable and the premise is exactly our sort of bedtime material (a sad, lonely girl sees a "star child" fall from the sky and must team up with some other misfit children to help the star child), it is ...more
Malayna Evans
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jess Redman has done it again. Quintessence is beautifully written, loaded with magic, and bursting with personality. I cheered Alma through every page. She deepened my understanding of anxiety while keeping me cheering her determination and kindness. Terrific read!
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved. Must read!!! Wow! What a story!!!
Jess Redman has come up with an empowering book for middle grade readers! Alma, who leads the way in this tale, has issues. Some from within, and some have been foisted upon her by a move out of the home she loved and where she was comfortable. The new place is ok, but it's new, and that's not comfortable.

This is a tale that describes other problems cropping up in Alma's world - panic attacks, for one. A difficult time making and keeping friends, for another. In the meantime she's made one of th
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, I felt seen by the anxiety representation in this work.  Additionally, I need more elemental magic in my life with realistic story as the base.

Spoiler-Free Review: amberinoface.wordpress.com/2020/07/14...

I received an ecopy of this book through Netgalley; however, my opinions are my own.
Katie Reilley
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and publisher for sharing an ARC with our #bookexpedition group.

Twelve year old Alma has recently moved to the town of Four Points. Since then, she’s been having panic attacks, though she hides it well from her family. She’s homesick and friendless, and each passing day has her feeling less and less like her old self.

One day she visits the town’s old junk shop and finds a special telescope, called a quintescope. Through its lens, she watches a star (that looks childlike
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As bright and magical as a falling star, Quintessence is a beautifully told story that collided with my heart and set it aglow.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
This STEM-infused fantasy adventure is quirky and will fill you with quintessence.
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful, unique and whimsical book.

Full review on the blog.
Marie-Therese Precourt
Feb 01, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I love it
Apr 29, 2020 rated it liked it

I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved Miraculous, and was excited to read Jess Redman’s Quintessence, a book I’ve heard so much about. Alma is new to Four Points and is struggling to fit in. She’s been having panic attacks and can’t seem to “acclimate” the way her parents keep hoping she will. When she happens upon an open door at the Fifth Point, she heads in and finds a strange looking telescope. That telescope turns out to be a Quint
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Quintessence is a magical, wondrous book! I adored Alma, the main character, who has recently moved to a new town and is actively hiding her distress about it. The story is beautifully written and gave me chills almost constantly--with that magic-just-around-the-corner feeling. I don't want to give away too much, but know that the story had enough twists and turns that I could not put it down ... I read it in one sitting! Thrilled to have read another gem by Jess Redman! ...more
May 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I had a smile on my face for this sweet story every second I listened to it!! Because of that, this book deserves 5 stars! Yes, it's not perfect and if I wanted to be critical I could find problems, but I just loved the story of acceptance of yourself and others, being yourself always, and forgiveness!!

Trigger warning: panic attacks, but really the author did such a good job talking about them and explaining them that it was not triggering for me at all. However, just because it did not trigger
Kristina Bliss
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book got me right in the feels. The mental health awareness made this one of the best middle grades I've read in a long time. I got The Fifth Element vibes from it, so that was an automatic win as well. ...more
Katie Seymour
Oct 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked the premise of this "Quintessence" (and much of the follow-through), but once I realized it was written by a therapist, I couldn't "unsee it." Alma's story will speak to middle schoolers, and I enjoyed the magical realism/science elements in the book. ...more
Nicole M. Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

This is a book about finding your voice and the true essence of who you are. Alma has felt wrong ever since her family moved to a new town. She suffers panic attacks and finds her world getting smaller and smaller as the list of places she feels comfortable going shrinks. So, when she sees a falling star turn into a girl and learns that the mysterious star girl needs to be saved, she’s not so sure she’s up to the task.
Sierra Dertinger
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was one of those heart-warming books that I'll never forget! The main character, Alma, is twelve-years-old and suffers from panic attacks and you just want to hug her and tell her you are there for her. She is so inquisitive, yet shy, brilliant, yet anxious. I know students AND adults will be able to connect with Alma because of the struggles she endures in this story. She just moved to a new town called Four Points and misses everything about Old Haven. Not only does the move make her ...more
Laurie Hnatiuk
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Jess Redman and publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read an ARC digital copy.

Jess Redman has come into her own as an author with her second book Quintessence. This magical realism book has a perfect blend of science and magic sparkle that will enchant readers who love science and who are trying to figure out their own identity in the world.

Alma recently moved to Four Points after her parents bought a law practice in the small town. Alma has
Rebecca Balcárcel
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit, reviewed
Speculative fiction for middle-graders! Uprooted from her hometown and suffering from panic attacks, young Alma has lost her confidence, her sense of adventure, and her sense of self. Nothing her parents suggest is helping, and it's especially hard to adjust to a new school when a bully keeps shouting that you're a weirdo. Only a special quest and new friends can start Alma toward renewal. To shout down her inner critic and embrace her potential will take courage, collaboration, and a lot of bik ...more
Jeanne Ferruolo
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
QUINTESSENCE is another gorgeous read by Jess Redman. I have to say, that I think what I love best about Redman's stories is how they make me FEEL. I immediately fell in love with the setting, the mystery and the main character Alma, who suffers from panic attacks. Redman depicts this spot-on. Descriptions like, her family's recent move left her feeling "dark and Alma-less inside" and how when Alma tries to force a smile, "It made her face feel strange, like she'd put on a very tight mask," brou ...more
Naomi Milliner
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jessica Redman has done it again. Her follow-up to THE MIRACULOUS has the same lovely writing we've come to know, and features another tremendously sympathetic protagonist. Plus a completely original story that will keep you turning the pages. ...more
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Actual rating: 4.3 stars

Quintessence was such a good book about elements and science with an adventure of self-discovery and a little touch of fantasy here and there, which I ended up loving and giving 4.3 stars rating to. But I admit, the first few chapters were a little hard to go through: while the chapters were mostly short, the story seemed to be pretty slow-moving at first.

However, I'm thankful that I chose to keep going — the story got more and more interesting, and slowly but surely, I s
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Quintessence

Author: Jess Redman

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: anxiety/panic attack rep!

Recommended For...: middle graders, anxiety/panic attack rep

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 10+ (some slightly scary moments, isolation, anxiety, panic attacks)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Pages: 384

Synopsis: Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town
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Middle Grade Madn...: Quintessence - Friday 11th December 2020 13 21 Dec 20, 2020 10:18AM  

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At age six, Jess Redman published a poem entitled “I Read and Read and Read All Day” in a local anthology. She knew then, reading her printed words in a real book, that she wanted to be an author when she grew up.

She spent the next couple of decades doing things like surviving middle school, traveling around the world, becoming a therapist, and having two kids. She wrote the whole time.

Then one da

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