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The Healing Spell

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  981 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little brings to life a sweeping and heartfelt story set against the lush backdrop of the bayou.

Twelve-year-old Livie is living with a secret and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. It's up to her to find a way to wake her momma up.

Stuck in the middle of three sis
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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Lauren Scanlon there is 368 pages in the healing spell book

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Kimberley Little
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is one of those close-to-my-heart stories that I just never gave up on, although I wondered at times if I should just stick it in a drawer already. I guess I'm more stubborn than I realized because I worked on it for nearly 7 years and got lots of rejections (although lots of *very close* rejections) before finally snagging my #1 choice agent and then watching with utter shock as she sold it within weeks - in a 3 book deal to Scholastic! So I'll take a purple star sticker for every dozen re ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2014
A really great book is a one that makes you feel more complete for having read it. I only finished reading The Healing Spell last night and yet I already feel like it has changed my life for the better. As I was finishing the book I cried for Livie, then I cried with Livie, then I found myself crying for myself and my own faults and the things in my own life that need healing. I felt uplifted to know, that like Livie, I am still loved by those I hurt and that through faith and love I can overcom ...more
Lauren Young
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this a few years ago and i really loved it. It was a touching story of a girl trying everything to get her mom out of her coma. I wish I knew if she ever did or not.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit, I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. I stupidly thought it would just be a sweet middle grade book that I whipped through and would say, “Aw, that was nice.” I can be a dork like that. But honest to freaking greatness, I bawled at the end of this. I was so absorbed, and when that climactic moment came, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, reading as fast as I could—and yeah, I gasped and felt a tug in my chest. So, not your average middle grade book. And there we ...more
Theresa Milstein
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those books when I found myself thinking, WoW as I read though it.

I'd heard great things about this novel, but I was hesitant to read it because when I was 14 years old, my mother fell down the stairs and landed in a coma for weeks. I knew this book would drudge up memories. And it did. Near the end of the book, something happens that I'd forgotten about, and I burst into tears.

But beyond my own personal experiences, this book is brilliant. The characters and their complex relatio
Jeni Bell
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
THE HEALING SPELL, by Kimberley Griffiths Little, is a story about hope and healing, with a mystery at its core that pulls readers in from the first chapter and doesn't let go.

Eleven-year-old Livie has a secret. Her mother lies in a coma on a hospital bed in the family's living room; Livie's father has taken a leave of absence from work to care for her mother, convinced that home is where she belongs. "She'll get better here," he tells a nurse. But as her father, an aunt, and two of Livie's sist
Tara Chevrestt
Jan 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2010-release, arc
This was a really good pre teen novel. I don't see it being the next Old Yeller or Black Beauty being passed generation to generation but I enjoyed it and I think young adults will enjoy it also as well as learn a few things from it.

Livie is eleven and her summer vacation is going to be spent taking care of her mother who is in a coma from an accident that Livie had some vague involvement in. Livie is carrying around a burden of guilt and hopes to redeem herself by using a healing spell to make
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended by a good friend so when I finally got it after searching for it in all the bookshops around, I couldn't wait to start reading. It didn't disappoint. It was truly spellbinding.

Livie reminded me so much of myself when I was her age - my fears, my anxiety, my closeness to my father and differences that I had with my mother and that I had to work on...and still working on even now that I am an adult. It also reminded me of the time when my mother was taken to the hospital
Athena Condray
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was the first book I read during the summer and is good for all ages to middle school-adult. It makes you feel as if you are there with Livie as she goes through her mommas coma. It’s a sad, but adventurous book and has a wonderful ending. Highly recommend
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Middle grades through adults
This is an incredible book! Though listed as a YA book, it is appealing and satisfying for any age, even me, a grandmother. Though the book is about an 11 year old girl, the emotions that she is dealing with ring true and speak to any age.

One of the best things about the book is what it does not contain. There is no stock or stereotypical characters, no wicked stepsister types or absent or clueless adults which are so common in adolescent books. As a matter of fact there is no bad person, every
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read The Healing Spell in one sitting.
Kimberley Little hones in on exactly how it feels to be twelve with the weight of an emotional burden too big to bear. The lush yet sometimes menacing Louisiana bayou provides the perfect backdrop for Livie to come to terms with the frustrations of being a middle child who doesn’t fit in, and overcome the tormented certainty of knowing that she is the one responsible for tearing her family apart.
With “faith and love entwined” evident throughout, The Healin
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent story, but this one really drags; it took me longer to read this one than usual. The good news is that it portrays the Christian faith in a positive light.
Bri  Ahearn
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Eleven year old Olivia or “Livie” has a secret that’s greater than the whole bayou in which she lives. Her mother’s in a coma and only Livie knows the real reason why. But she can’t tell anybody, so she waits for the secret to swallow her whole. Maybe she’s better off that way anyhow, as she tries to find her place as one of three girls. Not young and girly, like the oldest, Faye, and not small and cute, like the youngest, Aimee (or Crickett, as she’s better known). Livie would rather go froggin ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Each of us carries secrets, sometimes those secrets become burdens so large it feels as if the world may come crashing down on top of us. For Livie her biggest secret revolves around her mother, not only that but the circumstances surrounding her mother's coma. With a house full of people to constantly pester her and watch her every move Livie's only escape is the bayou and a wonderful little pet alligator. In her desperation she seeks outside help in the restoration of her mother, but at what c ...more
Jun 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
To say that The Healing Spell touched me is an understatement, but I can't quite find the words to accurately describe how much I truly adored this book. Filled with lessons, angst-driven at times and completely uplifting at others, it is one of those books that truly made a mark on my life as a reader. From the moment I started the book I fell in love with Livie and her sisters. In fact, this book had the power to transport me back to the days when I too felt like Livie did. Lost, lonely at tim ...more
Cindy Hudson
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Livie’s mama lies in a coma inside their little home near a Louisiana bayou. While Livie’s daddy and her sisters can help care for her mama, she can’t bring herself to touch her. And Livie holds a powerful secret inside herself about the day of her mama’s accident. When Livie starts a quest to find a way to heal her mama, she finds that she must first heal herself.

The Healing Spell by Kimberley Griffiths Little is a story of love and forgiveness and the complicated relationships mothers can have
Joan Stradling
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Livie has a frightening secret; her mother is in a coma and she's responsible for it. She's terrified her mother might die, and even more terrified her family will hate her if they find out her secret. She already feels so alone that losing their love would be unbearable.

Burdened with the truth, Livie tries to come to terms with her guilt, but guilt isn't the only weight on her eleven-year-old shoulders. She's trying to find her own place in the world. Unfortunately, her world is changing and s
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Why I read this: I felt drawn to this book for a reason. It may have been the description or the interesting setting of the book that made me want to read it and I'm definitely glad I did.

Plot: This story centers around Livie - an 11 year old girl who carries a terrible secret inside of her after her mother has an accident and goes into a coma. She believes herself at fault and searches for a way to ease her guilt and to make things right by her mother, hoping to wake her up. But it's so much mo
K. Lincoln
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
***I read an Advance Reader Copy****

The book begins with Livie's Pa bringing her mother home from the hospital- in a coma.

While Livie's sisters care for her Mother and the home, Livie is busy catching frogs at night with her Pa, poling around the bayou in her pirogue, and risking the wrath of her Aunt to do anything but touch her Mother.

Livie's got a secret, and the weight of that secret, as well as her complicated feelings based on her being a tomboy and not understanding her "girlie" mother or
Oct 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully spun tale of healing and forgiveness. Was that healing facilitated by magic or a miracle, faith or a spell? Or was it simply that a wise teacher used a simple, mysterious string as an object to set a girl on a journey of self discovery?

Having been raised in similar southern backwaters, with rural healers in my own family, this story takes me back to the simplicity and faith of my childhood. Why an herb worked better to heal someone when placed on a silver dime first, who kn
Shallee McArthur
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first word that came to my mind to describe this was "rich." The book was rich in emotion, rich in culture and setting, and rich in characters. Watching the family pull together and break apart through Livie's eyes took me through a myriad of emotions. The characters are so deftly drawn that they became real to me, heightening that emotional connection.

The landscape of the book-- the Lousiana bayou-- is delicious. I'm a sucker for stories with a strong, unique setting, and this one was perfe
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for

Filled with mystery and old Southern charm, this book has serious heart.

In THE HEALING SPELL, Livie is trying to cope with her mother's current state. She is in a coma. Also, she has a secret so big it threatens to consume her if anyone were to find out.

Livie would do anything to get her mother back, which leads her to seek the help of a voodoo healer. And it is this healer who sends her on a journey she will never forget.

As mystical and breathtaking
Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Healing Spell takes the reader on an emotional journey. Livie’s struggle to save her mamma is inspiring and full of hope. A tomboy to-the-extreme, Livie captured my heart as she desperately searched for and used The Healing Spell.
Little’s descriptions of the Louisiana bayou are realistic and vibrant. Even the book’s cover depicts the green and swampy setting where people get around in boats. Only in this setting would a pet alligator feel at home.
Grab a box of tissues before you start
Apr 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
I truly enjoyed this book and would buy the hard cover to add to my library. A story of hope, love and family.

Ms. Little is a master of descriptions in world setting and characters. I loved all the people in the book, even the bratty cousin and the baby alligator. Strange, I know but that is how well the author placed me in her story. And I felt like I had visited the bayou though I've never been.

My favorite part was the healing spell and what Livie was willing to do to heal her mamma. I found m
Karlene Browning
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA, 12+
Recommended to Karlene by: Whitney Awards
Shelves: my-favs
I loved this book! It was a great read. I could totally relate to the characters. All of them seemed very well drawn, unigue, believable and had great depth and development. My heart ached for Livie and triumphed in her courage. The setting was very well done. It was an entity of its own and added to the richness of the story. I recommend it to young adults and adults who like YA. It definitely deserved the Whitney Award—and it will probably make my top 10 reads of 2011.

P.S. I'm not from the dee
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one sitting! I've been anxious to read it since it was written by a friend of mine, but that's not why I gave it 5 stars. I was totally caught up from the first sentence. Livie's voice is strong and engaging, and her fears are believable. Her interaction with her family is totally realistic. And the setting--I could almost feel the mosquitoes biting! I was hooked completely to the end--which was hopeful but not wrapped up neatly with a bow, and with a bit of Cajun mystery thr ...more
Aug 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I loved the story of Livie's process of discovering herself and recognizing faith. However, I have little patience with stories that revolve around lack of communication and this story has plenty of that. So many problems can be avoided if we/families/people etc. learned to communicate better. I realize the secrecy/lack of communication thing is what the whole story evolves from but i got so exasperated reading about it, i just wanted someone to force this family to actually talk!
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Quickly previewed this book for spring bookfair. Really enjoyed it and added it to blog list of books. The author found our blog and posted to it. She is awesome - prompting me to re-read the book a second time. Loved it more!!! Great family story - full of strength, bravery, and hope. Love it, love it, love it!!!!!
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
This was such a touching story about an 11-year-old girl living on (in?) the Louisiana bayou who is dealing with some terrible guilt thinking she is the cause of her mother's coma. She is also struggling with how she fits in her family. Her feelings and relationships and struggle to find her own seed of faith really rung true. Plus I loved all the descriptions of her life on the bayou.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved the language in this one--this author really made the setting come alive. I really felt I was with the character as she travels around in her pirogue. From the first page: "My chest got so tight it felt like a gator squeezing my heart between his jaws." Who else but a bayou girl would describe her emotions this way and refer to a gator as "he"?
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What's the Name o...: A girl who puts her mom in coma [s] 6 65 Aug 31, 2013 04:39PM  
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Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and their three sons.

For such award-winning middle grade novels as When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, her writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings."
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“Sometimes you just gotta let some tears out or you'll burst. -Miz Allemond” 12 likes
“And Mamma was still asleep. I called it the sleeping sickness because coma is the ugliest word in the entire universe. If I could, I'd erase it from the dictionary, but Old Webster would probably hunt me down.” 8 likes
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