Middle grade fantasy has many beloved characters and series. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Artemis Fowl come to mind. But now there’s a new strong-willed protagonist and her name is Amari Peters. She’s a character that can proudly take her place next to the others. A heroine readers will adore.
The execs at Universal Pictures agree and have optioned the book for a future big screen adaptation.
Here’s the official synopsis from Harper Collins Publishers:
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.
Amari’s first person narration is heartfelt and honest. She knows that others look down on her for being a black girl from the poor neighborhood. Things don’t get any better when Amari arrives at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs where she’s not accepted by the snooty legacy members. They’re angry that a person of her type and skills got a free ride to the summer experience. Luckily she finds friends in the endearing Elsie, and Dylan the son of a high level administrator.
The 33 chapters move the adventure along at a quick pace and the full-of-twists climatic ending will have you gasping at every turn. I love being surprised by a plot twist and this has some of the best in the closing chapters.
Go forth into the MG world, Amari. You are about to become very famous.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: January 19. 2021 PAGE COUNT: 416
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS by B.B. Alston
- If Amari is chosen as a Junior Agent for the Bureau she will have inroads to finding her brother. The competitive levels were a fun and always surprising effort to succeed.
- Elsie’s ability would have some interesting outcomes in today’s world. She sees color that gives away the hidden emotions of people.
- This is a bit long for middle grade, but I really don’t see a scene that could be cut from this well plotted story.
- Amari is a good kid with a few magical skills. You would want her as a friend in middle school instead of the way most treat her.
- Anti-profiling messages are a bold theme throughout the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
B.B. Alston started writing in middle school, entertaining his classmates with horror stories starring the whole class where not everyone survived! After several years of trying to break into publishing, he had just been accepted into a biomedical graduate program when a chance entry into a twitter pitch contest led to his signing with TBA, 20+ book deals worldwide, and even a film deal. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.
B.B. was inspired to write AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS because he couldn’t find any fantasy stories featuring Black kids when he was growing up. He hopes to show kids that though you might look different, or feel different, whatever the reason, your uniqueness needn’t only be a source of fear and insecurity. There is great strength and joy to be found in simply accepting yourself for who you are. Because once you do so, you’ll be unstoppable. (Find B.B. on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM)
I have a hardback edition of this new release for one lucky reader. Comment and you are entered! I’ll keep the giveaway open through Sunday, January 17th.