Author: Jess Redman
Pub. Date: July 28, 2020
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 384
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon | Kindle | AudibleB&N | iBooks | KoboTBD | Bookshop

Sometimes books are so magical that you can’t help but refuse to put them down. That same magic leaves you waiting and wanting to know what will happen next. Quintessence weaves a wonderful story of science, magic, friendship, and perseverance that young readers with a flair for whimsy will love.

Told in a series of short, easy to read chapters, Quintessence follows the story of Alma and the friends she makes as she finds herself drawn into a secret mission that’s out of this world. Alma is new in town and is struggling to really find her place as she grapples with an anxiety disorder that at times seems to get the better of her. But her life changes when she sees a falling star that turns out to desperately need her help to survive and return home.

Mysterious forces and strange figures around town guide Alma to a ragtag group of new friends who help her as she attempts to collect otherwordly elements and learn about the mysterious quintessence. Along the way she learns how to embrace her own unique abilities and self-worth. She also learns how to to work with a group of people and open up to new relationships.

Alma is a fabulous character whose triumphs are both real and inspiring. The magic of the tale and really even just the magic of the relationships that develop between Alma, Hugo, Shirin, and Dustin along the way will keep young readers more than invested. It’s a great read and perfectly paced for young readers to read on their own or with family as each short paragraph lends itself well to an evening read. Definitely worth checking out!


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 Elements.
Grow the Light.
Save the Starling.​

That night, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a child—falls from the sky and into her backyard. Alma knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home, and with the help of some unlikely new friends from the Astronomy Club, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of astronomy, a little bit of alchemy, and her whole self.

QUINTESSENCE is a stunning story of friendship, self-discovery, interconnectedness, and the inexplicable elements that make you you.


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3 winners will receive a finished copy of QUINTESSENCE, US Only.

About the Author

Jess Redman is a therapist and author of books for young readers with FSG/Macmillan. Her first book, THE MIRACULOUS, was a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2019, an Amazon Best Book of 2019, and was called “layered, engaging, and emotionally true” in a Kirkus starred review. Her second book, QUINTESSENCE, releases on July 28th.  The book was featured in OwlCrate Jr.’s subscription box and was described as “a fanciful adventure with a rich emotional core and a fairy tale” by Publishers Weekly. Her third book, THE ADVENTURE IS NOW, is scheduled for publication in May 2021. Redman currently lives in Florida with her husband, two young children, an old cat named SoulPie, and a fish named Annie.

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