Things are not going well for Amari Peters. Her scholarship to tony Jefferson Academy is being revoked on the last day of school because she shoved a classmate after being subjected to continuous bullying. And as if she didn’t have enough to worry about, her older brother, Quinton, has been missing for six months after starting a secret job. The police have stopped looking for him, assuming he was involved in illegal activities and met an unfortunate end, but Amari refuses to give up.
So much more awaits Amari in debut author B.B. Alston’s lively fantasy adventure, Amari and the Night Brothers. She is soon whisked away to tryouts at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, the top-secret agency where her brother once flourished. To become a Junior Agent, Amari must pass three quests, and she plans to investigate what’s become of Quinton as she does so.
Alston maintains a rapid pace as he creates a magical world full of dangers that lurk around every corner and drops delectable details with obvious delight. Fantasy readers will love watching Amari master illusions and spells and discover the “truth” about creatures like leprechauns, dragons and the abominable snowman.
There’s a whole world of misunderstanding out there, and sadly, Amari’s new school isn’t much different from Jefferson Academy. It’s also filled with privileged, bullying classmates who are intimidated by Amari’s intelligence. Thankfully, she makes a few trusted friends, including Dylan, whose twin sister becomes Amari’s archrival and whose older sister disappeared with Quinton. Amari’s reaction to an instructor who tells her he’s never seen “a worse prospect” for the Bureau encapsulates her determination: “I’m tired of being underestimated,” she retorts. “You’re wrong about me.”
Fans of blockbuster middle grade fantasy sagas will adore this empowering, action-packed series opener featuring a confident Black heroine who is just beginning to discover her own gifts.