New York Times bestseller! Artemis Fowl meets Men in Black in this exhilarating debut middle grade fantasy, the first in a trilogy filled with #blackgirlmagic. Perfect for fans of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, the Percy Jackson series, and Nevermoor.
Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.
So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.
Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.---from the publisher
416 pages 978-0062975164 Ages 8-12
Keywords: African American, African American author, fantasy, magic, brother, missing person, supernatural, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, part of a series, diversity, diverse books, summer camp, action/adventure, magical creatures, Black Girl Books
“...Every little thing she does is magic…”
-- The Police (1981)
“Mr. Ware grins. ‘Go to any corner of the world and you’ll find tales of beings and creatures that only seem possible in our imaginations. What if I told you that living among us are all the things we’ve come to pass off as myth?’”
Welcome to an underworld of bizarre creatures, powerful magic, and danger.
“Gleaming red eyes appear in the dark. A hulking frame in tattered clothing steps into the light of the second doorway, its head hanging unnaturally to one side. It’s missing an arm and one of its legs is turned the wrong way.
It moves toward us with jerky steps. A growl fills the hallway.
Dylan lifts his dagger. That’s when I see it.
‘No,’ I shout, and grab his arm.
‘What are you doing?’ says Dylan.
The creature stumbles right past us.
‘Look,’ I say. Lit by the sunlight pouring out from the weapons room doorway, I’m able to point out the bouquet of flowers in the creature’s hand.
‘Just because we’re afraid, doesn’t give us the right to attack,’ I say. ‘Where I’m from that happens a lot--you get labeled as bad or scary just by how you look or what neighborhood you’re in. Remember that flowerpot in the library? I’ll bet that whatever that was is just going to put some flowers in it.’
‘Thanks,’ Dylan says in the darkness. ‘That was a good call.’
I smile. ‘Maybe I should lead.’
He laughs. ‘Good idea.’”
AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS is the first book in a new series for which I predict great success. Amari is a black thirteen-year-old from the projects who has been struggling socially as a scholarship kid at a snooty private school. Life takes a sharp turn when she discovers that she is meant to be part of another world, too.
Hanging heavy over Amari is the fact that her beloved big brother Quinton, whom she idolizes, has disappeared. Then Amari receives a message from Quinton. He provides a location and an invitation. She is soon to discover that Quinton is legendary in certain magical circles.
Amari and their mom had thought Quentin was attending a summertime leadership camp. Instead, Quinton was serving as a junior agent in the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, an agency that serves as a link between the known world and what is hidden. The recorded-yet-interactive message that Amari receives was supposed to be sent automatically only in the event that Quinton was dead or missing. The message leads Amari to her own series of tryouts for Junior Agent at the Bureau in order to participate in their work, with the hope that she can discover what happened to her brother.
Amari, her fellow trainees, and the adults around them, are quirky and interesting folks you’ll love to meet. Or, at least most of them. Amari’s principal rival, the uber-hostile Lara Van Helsing, is the little sister of Quinton’s partner, Maria, who’s also disappeared. But, while Lara is endlessly antagonistic toward Amari, Lara’s twin brother Dylan becomes her confidante and partner in the tryouts.
AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS contains so many jaw-dropping twists, turns, and illusions that you’ll constantly be on your toes, wondering who and what is real. The excellent storytelling features believable, fun, and sometimes funny narration and lively dialogue. And I love the occasional anti-profiling messages. Contemporary sensibilities combine with fantastical worldbuilding to create a first-rate page-turner.
I’m doing my best to not give away too much. But I’ll tell you for certain that this one is not to be missed. I highly recommend it for ages 9 and up.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
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416 pages 978-0-06-297516-4 Ages 9 and up