Title: Amari and the Night Brothers
Author: B.B. Alston
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 416
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins
Date Published: January 19, 2021
You can find it here: Amazon, Bookshop.org
After Amari’s beloved older brother Quinton mysteriously disappears, she refuses to believe anyone who says he isn’t alive. She is determined to fight for him and find him in whatever way she can – even if it means sticking up to bullies in her private school and getting expelled.
When she discovers a strange briefcase in Quinton’s closet revealing both the hidden life he was leading as a Supernatural Special Agent and a nomination form for her to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she is determined to gain admission and find answers.
But an evil magician is set on destroying the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs – who maybe the key to finding her missing brother. Amari must rely on her grit, gumption and determination to overcome everyone’s scrutiny, prejudice and doubt in order to find answers and save the supernatural world.
It’s sometimes harder to write a review for a book you thoroughly enjoyed, because all I can think to say is: this book is bloody fantastic and you should go read it now.
B.B. Alston has created a magnificent, strong character chock full of real Black-Girl Magic – she’s alive, dynamic, intelligent and strong. The way Alston has seamlessly included racial injustice, inequality, and Black Lives Matter conversations within in this fantastic fantasy world without it overtaking the entire story, is remarkable and incredibly well done. Every good middle grade will open up conversations on hard topics and reading of the daily inequalities Amari faces as a Black girl will not only be impactful in the perspective of sensitivity and empathy for non-Black readers but will be incredibly powerful for young Black readers who will see themselves in such a capable, fierce character.
Compelling characters and important conversation aside – this is such an enjoyable fantasy world. While the whole “magical school” setting has been done, B.B. Alston makes it fresh and thoroughly entertaining. Alive with magic, heart, grit, gumption and action, Amari and the Night Brothers now proudly stands on the shelf as one of my favourite Middle Grade reads. Go forth and enjoy!
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