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


  1. 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.
  2. Elsie’s ability would have some interesting outcomes in today’s world. She sees color that gives away the hidden emotions of people.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Anti-profiling messages are a bold theme throughout the book.


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.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Giveaways, Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. petespringerauthor says:

    I love the anti-profiling message. Having taught many years in fifth and sixth grade, this sounds like one that my students would have loved.

  2. I really have too many books to read but you’ve got me really excited about this one. It sounds like a great fantasy with a unique main character. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. Susan Wroble says:

    This sounds fabulous! Really excited about reading it.

  4. msyingling says:

    I had a student who had recently moved to the US from Nigeria who was super excited to read the ARC I had. Even she noticed how hard it is to find fantasy books with Black characters, although it is getting easier.

  5. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    What an exciting fantasy story! It’s awesome to see a fantasy series featuring a Black protagonist and written by a Black author—I never get the sense that MG fantasy is very diverse. It’s exciting that the movie rights have already been optioned! Thanks for the great review!

  6. Maxi says:

    This review makes me even more excited to read it!

  7. danielle hammelef says:

    I’ve had this exciting book on my wish list since I first saw it. I am loving MG fantasy more than ever. Thank you for the chance to win a copy to read and review for this author. I’ve been following him on Twitter and enjoy how supportive he’s been for others.

  8. I LOVE a good twist…a story with several? Even better! Sounds like another good one for my MG TBR list.

  9. Wow, this sounds like a keeper! That cover is gorgeous and I can’t get the image of a ticking suitcase out of my mind. I’m excited to read this and hear more of Amari in the years to come!

  10. I’ve been looking for a new fantasy to read. Is it going to be a series? I am delighted to see one that features a Black protagonist. It’s about time. Enjoyed your review. Will definitely check it out. Glad that it’s been optioned by Universal!

  11. I find I don’t always want to read longer books. And I think it’s because sometimes they don’t really need to be that long. However, when it’s a good book, I don’t care about how long (or short) it is. Actually, I’d probably prefer something longer if it’s THAT good! (Lasts longer!)

  12. Sue Kooky says:

    I love her ability!! It’s so interesting and unique. It sounds like a fascinating read with a really important message! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jenni says:

    This sounds like an intriguing premise! Her ability to see emotions in particular sounds like it could be a blessing as well as a curse.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention! Will keep my eyes out for that future adaption too.

  14. Susan Uhlig Ford says:

    This sounds good, too! Thanks for sharing.

  15. This sounds like a great book for fantasy lovers. Even through it’s long, it will find readers. Thanks for telling me about it. I will pass on the giveaway. I have too many books right now because I won a bunch on your blog recently! Thanks.

  16. Pingback: AMARI and the GREAT GAME | Always in the Middle…

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