From Balzer + Bray:
New York Times bestseller!
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.
“This series debut is sure to be a hit with late elementary students and middle graders who are fans of “Harry Potter,” “Percy Jackson,” and the Men in Black movies….An excellent middle grade fantasy that will attract an immediate fan base and leave kids eager for more.” — School Library Journal (starred review)
“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.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In this thrilling debut, Alston thrusts his intrepid heroine into a setting packed with magic, mythical creatures, and danger. Amari, a Black girl with limited means, confronts privilege and prejudice even while delving into a world of wonder, humor, and adventure, making this a sure-to-please winner.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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.” — ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A breath of fresh air in the normal-kid-finds-out-they’re-magic genre, with Amari’s snappy, no-nonsense narration, a mix of new, bizarre supernatural creatures and classic vampires and witches, and rich world building that reads as both familiar and fantastic…. Readers will no doubt cross their fingers for more of Amari’s adventures.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“The story introduces a world of enchantment, danger, excitement, and humor. While many parallels can be drawn between the protagonist and a certain boy wizard, readers will root for Amari’s own unique determination and wit.” — Horn Book Magazine