The 12th Candle

TEACHERS:  Teacher’s Guide and Book Club activities: Click Here

THE 12TH CANDLE (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)

ISBN 978-0062654977

BULLYING vs. community KINDNESS in a heartfelt and humorous story

featuring the big three: A family curse, an “innocent” prank, and a magic candle.


Since birth, Sage Sassafras has been plagued by the Contrarium Curse, aka the Curse of the Opposites, and it has pitted her against tall, rich, basketball star, Priscilla Petty. When Priscilla lands dunk shots, Sage throws bricks. When Priscilla has a good hair day, Sage gets tangles, and when Priscilla’s father lands a big promotion at work, things go really sour for Sage’s daddy.

So when Noodler, the biggest search-engine company in the world, challenges students at Goldview K-8 to the Doodle for Noodler art contest, Sage is determined to win fame before Priscilla can, and thereby change her reputation from infamous to famous. Plus, with a little help from the magic candle she received on her 12th birthday, she believes she can do even more! The candle brings pizza, art supplies, and new clothing—maybe it can change the curse, too, so Sage makes the ultimate wish—she asks for a curse-reverse.

In a Freaky-Friday-ish fashion, the consequences of her wish take a terrible turn, and she has to team up with her frenemies to figure out how to break the curse and its reverse for good, or else she’ll be doomed to a life of opposites forever!



A thoughtful look at curse versus choice and an encouragement to youngsters to make their own paths.—Kirkus Review

“Tomsic demonstrates that wishes have a power of their own, no matter the good intentions behind them. [Sage has a] colorful group of friends whose engaging dialogue and ever-evolving relationships capture the essence of middle-school interaction.” Booklist

“Sage is a believable feisty twelve-year-old, who has been trying to outrun her family’s tarnished reputation for as long as she can remember, and her vulnerability to the preening Priscilla is keenly relatable.” –BCCB

“Friendship, magic, and pink lightning—this book is a wish come true!” —Lauren Myracle

“This sweetly magical novel is a lesson in kindness. There is magic in all of us.” –Kristen Gilligan, owner, Tattered Cover Book Store

“A heartfelt and humorous story about the ups and downs of middle school, touching on the ways acts of forgiveness can change an entire community. The 12th Candle is a wish come true!” –McCourt Thomas, Head of Youth Services, Lyons Regional Library District

“An enchanting and heartfelt story for anyone who has ever tried to wish away their problems!” –Ida Olson, Library Media Specialist, McCormick Junior High School

Sign up for my mailing list: