Amari and the Night Brothers
by Alston, B. B.

Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor Black girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.

*Starred Review* Ever since her big brother, Quinton, disappeared six months ago, life's been hard for Amari-especially staying out of trouble at her fancy private school. But when a strange delivery arrives, containing a way-too-real vision of Quinton and a world more akin to a fantasy film than real life, it's hard to tell if Amari is dreaming or straight losing her mind. As the vision comes to an end, Amari is left with an invitation to join a summer internship at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and a glimmer of hope-crazy or not, this opportunity might be her chance to find Quinton and bring him home! Thrust into a world of magic, technology, and mysticism, the fortitudinous Amari, alongside Elsie, her new best friend and yet-to-shift dragon, leads readers through a plot to save Quinton and his partner, Marie. Amari and Elsie don't face an easy path, however, as new and old issues surrounding fitting in, friendship, and loyalty arise, stirring feelings of mistrust and self-doubt. Fast-paced adventure and cutthroat pre-adolescent contempt make for a delightfully challenging journey here, particularly considering the ways that Alston frames Amari's racial and economic experiences as a Black girl as the root of her strong-willed nature and spirit of integrity. It's a good thing this book is the first of a series, because readers will be sorely disappointed when it ends. Grades 3-7. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A 13-year-old girl learns she‚??s an all-powerful magician and faces trials as she seeks her missing brother. Amari Peters is tired‚?"tired of being belittled and dismissed at her rich private school, where she is bullied for being poor and Black. On the last day of school‚?"fueled by emotions connected to her brother Quinton‚??s disappearance‚?"Amari loses her cool, costing her the scholarship she needs. Next, a mysterious man shows up with news that Quinton has sent her a Broaden Your Horizons kit. Inside she finds items that open her eyes to a secret supernatural world, one that must remain hidden because people‚??s fear of things they don‚??t understand too often turns into hatred. Amari is invited to a magical training camp hosted by the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, which her mom believes is the same leadership program Quinton attended that helped him gain full-ride scholarships to Ivy League colleges. There, she discovers that she‚??s a magician, with powers that are illegal. Amari‚??s single-minded intent on finding Quinton leads her on the path to becoming a Junior Agent. With the help of those she meets along the way, Amari makes shocking discoveries and finds the power to overcome. The author weaves magical whimsy with honest, realistically portrayed circumstances, allowing Amari‚??s literal #BlackGirlMagic to shine even when she doesn‚??t believe in herself. This timely, energetic, first-person narrative moves quickly with clear descriptions, a thrilling buildup, and strong messages about profiling. An impressive debut series opener. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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