Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Publisher’s Description:

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.

My Take:

Right book, right time! A coming-of-age, magic-school, mystery that is just as inspiring and inventive as any YA book I’ve read. I had the pleasure to read and review Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the World and like the blurb above calls out, I can see some excellent parallels between the two. Two young African-American protagonists lost in life who stumble upon other worlds, one based on American Myth and the other all sorts of supernatural creature. Each book features strong diversity and both are worth my highest recommendation.

To get a little more focused on Amari… The book opens with Amari’s golden child of a brother having gone missing… Amari is adrift until she receives a nomination sent from Quinten for a spot at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. After finding her way to the school, she experiences a change in perspective that will rock her world. Is her brother dead? Is he alive? Will the politics of the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs hinder Amari from tracking down her brother?

I don’t want to give up too much of the plot, but I will tell you that Amari is a character I immediately got behind. Her frustrations and initial fears are written with transparency and love… I just couldn’t get enough of her voice and her drive to find the truth. I can’t wait to tell my students about this book!

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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