Book Trailer Premiere: QUINTESSENCE by Jess Redman

Hello, Jess Redman! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read.! I'm thrilled you're here to share Quintessence's book trailer. Please tell us about the book and book trailer. 

Jess Redman: Hello, Mr. Schu! Thank you so much for having me back on Watch. Connect. Read. I’m thrilled to share the book trailer for my middle-grade contemporary fantasy, QUINTESSENCE!

Around this time last year, I was here sharing the trailer for my debut, THE MIRACULOUS. 

I had so much fun bringing Wunder and Faye to life with that trailer, and I knew I wanted to make one for QUINTESSENCE.

QUINTESSENCE is the story of twelve-year-old Alma Lucas and her quest to save a fallen star.

Alma and her family have recently recently moved to the town of Four Points. She is homesick and lonely and, worst of all, she’s been having panic attacks.

Then one afternoon, Alma is given a quintescope (a sort of magical telescope) and this message: Find the Elements. Grow the Light. Save the Starling.

That night, through the lens of the quintescope, Alma watches as a star—a star that looks like a golden child—falls into her backyard. To save the star, she and three new friends from Astronomy Club must gather the four classical elements—Earth, Wind, Water, Fire—and use them to create the fifth element, Quintessence. It’s a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and their whole selves.

I think the quintessence of QUINTESSENCE comes through in this trailer. It’s a fast-paced quest story with a magic-infused town, a book of alchemy, exploration of STEM topics, supernovas, plot twists, and lots and lots of biking around in the middle of the night.

It’s also a story of my heart. Like Alma, I moved across the country when I was 12, and like Alma, I struggled with anxiety that often felt overwhelming.

I know reading about a character like Alma would have been powerful for me. I would have felt less isolated, less alone. I would have felt seen.

As a former therapist, I’ve also worked with many anxious young people. In this story, Alma learns to identify and express emotions, develops positive coping skills, and reaches out for help. I hope QUINTESSENCE will lead to important conversations about mental health, self-care, and empathy.

So here it is, the QUINTESSENCE trailer—I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it inspires you to read the story!

The hugest of thank yous to Dan Haring, an incredible animator, author, and illustrator, for his work on this trailer. Thank you to Matt Rockefeller for another cover illustration that has me seeing stars.

And thank you to you, Mr. Schu, for letting me stop by and share!

Thank you! I am so grateful you stopped by to share Quintessence's AWESOME book trailer. 

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 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. Visit her at

Look for Jess Redman's Quintessence on July 28, 2020.

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. And 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 down from the sky and into her backyard. She knows what it’s like to be lost and afraid, to long for home. And if a star really is stranded in Four Points, Alma knows she has to get it back up to the sky. With the help of some unlikely new friends from Astronomy Club and the mysterious ShopKeeper, she sets out on a quest that will take a little bit of science, a little bit of magic, and her whole self. 

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


“A wildly imaginative tale full of wonder and hope that is grounded in our everyday world and the very real problems that today’s children face.” —Megan Frazer Blakemore, author of The Story Web
A magical, wondrous book. . .The story is beautifully written and gave me chills almost constantly—with that magic-just-around-the-corner feeling.” —Gillian McDunn, author of Caterpillar Summer
“A fanciful adventure with a rich emotional core and a fairy tale flair. An emphasis on Alma’s mental health and circular thought patterns proves an effective complement to the story’s magical elements, as her new endeavor and friends grant her the resilience to navigate her needs. Reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, this is a clever, entertaining story with its own distinct identity.” —Publishers Weekly

“…a cozy contemporary fantasy that balances fresh, cosmic world building with painful personal challenges…Short chapters and tight pacing keep things moving at a brisk clip, and readers will no doubt enjoy following Alma and her new friends on their fantastical treasure hunt of sorts. A warm, engaging adventure.” —Booklist

“Redman’s writing shines [in] the portrayal of Alma’s mental health and its effect on her sense of self and on those around her. . .Reassuring, especially to kids struggling to articulate their own feelings in the face of lingering stigma about mental health.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“As bright and magical as a falling star, Quintessence is a beautifully told story that collided with my heart and set it aglow.” —Heather Kassner, author of The Bone Garden
“While firmly grounded in real-world issues, Quintessence shimmers with the perfect amount of magic. Redman’s deft, sympathetic portrayal of anxiety, a welcome and important addition to the middle grade canon, blends with scientific references to astronomy that are sure to engage young readers. Well-rounded, relatable, and resilient characters working together in a captivating setting make this the perfect read for fans of STEM and the stars.” —Sarah Baughman, author of The Light in the Lake


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