Alston, B. B. Amari and the Night Brothers. Godwin Akpan, Illus. Fiction. Supernatural Investigations Series; bk. 1. Balzer & Bray, 01/2021. 416pp. $17.99. 978-0-06-297516-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-7.
Amari, one of the few Black girls at her private school, is struggling. Bullied at school, she also worries about her brother Quinton, who went missing after spending time away from home in a leadership program. She is recruited to the same program and learns it’s actually a training academy for agents who manage the supernatural world. With the help of her weredragon roommate and a few adults who believe in her, Amari finds the confidence to embrace her own supernatural skills and go on a quest to find Quinton. Issues of race, class, and discrimination are wrapped in supernatural silliness; they are dealt with head-on without being didactic. A diversity of characters and creatures, an exciting plot, and no shortage of humor that hits the middle grade sweet spot make this a very enjoyable read.
Carla Riemer, Independent