The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste is my first jump back into the realm of young adult literature. It’s also my first Nutmeg of this year’s nominees.
What’s a jumbie? It’s a collection of creepy creatures that live in the woods. They are often used to scare/intrigue children in Caribbean fairy tales, but they’re real characters in this story. Corinne has caught the interest of the powerful jumbie named Severine. Severine works her magic to appear as a beautiful woman. She plans to enchant Corinne’s dad and hopes to also take Corinne. Ultimately, she wants to turn them into jumbies and use them (along with all the other jumbies) to take over the island on which they’ve been forced aside by humans.
Corinne, joined by three friends, her mother’s spirit, and a little help from a witch, must work to conquer Severine and prevent her dad from being lost forever. In doing so, Corinne learns a surprising truth about herself.
This is an engaging tale with both cute and creepy characters, action and suspense. I think kids will enjoy it!