Title: The Remedy
Author: Susan Srikant
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Publication Date: November 15, 2013
Source: Susan Srikant for Review
Joss Hall's little sister, Bibi, is dying, and it's all Joss's fault. Everyone agrees the situation is hopeless, but there is no way Joss is going to sit around and do nothing. She and her friends, Domino and Anton, decide to hike through the dark and dangerous forests of Burkett Mountain in search of a mythical creature with healing powers called a jarrlock, hoping to find a way to help Bibi before it's too late.
This entertaining adventure story takes readers on a quest filled with curious creatures and magical medicine.
My ReviewWhen I started reading The Remedy, I was delighted that the book opened up with a scene with three sisters playing in the forest. It was adorable, and the banter reminded me of things that my sister and I say to one another when we become annoyed or angry. I was then very quickly shocked by how quickly Srikant introduces the problem in the novel - Bibi eating poisonous berries. But don't be too shocked because The Remedy takes readers on a roller coaster ride full of twists and turns!
The book itself is wonderfully written for children, especially those between the ages of ten and fourteen. I could imagine a younger version of me eating this book up. It is also full of a vast variety of vocabulary that I think any parent or teacher would want his or her students to learn in those years. I can see myself bringing this book into my classroom one day if I end up teaching middle school for the kids. I'm sure they'd love to borrow it.
The characters are delightful, especially the spitfire middle sister, Joss. She has to deal with guilt because she thinks it's her fault that Bibi is sick, but she doesn't take anything from anybody. She is quick on her feet and has enough wit to get her through any conversation. Her friends, Domino and Anton, are also a nice pair to bring along on an adventure. Together, the three of them balance one another out perfectly. Oh, and I can't forget the quirky Miss Gizelle! She's a hoot!
Like other adventure and fantasy books, the characters encounter some nasty characters - Krone and his hawk, Havoc. I'm sure that you can guess that the name of the bird means that these two can be pretty nasty.
I'm still a little skeptical of how I want to classify this book. It's very much a middle grade novel, but it is so much more than just that. There are hints of fantasy, especially with the world building and new creatures and plants that Srikant introduces to readers, but I also feel like there is a hint of magical realism in The Remedy. So much of it is realistic enough that I could imagine it happening, but the fantasy elements come into play to cancel it out.
There were some parts in the book that had me question Joss' parents - like her mother letting her go on a quest - but in the end, it really does make for an entertaining tale.
I would highly recommend this book to younger readers as I think it would entertain them and teach them to never give up on something because you never know just how hard you have to work to fix something.