Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates #2)

Title: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates #2)
Author: Julia Golding
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 22, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.

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‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.

Review:

When the headmistress from their former school asks Cassandra Austen to attend their end of term hall, she brings her sister Jane along with her. They are excited to attend a fun event filled with dancing and fancy dresses. Jane befriends Brandon, the dance instructor’s assistant and a former slave. However, when a diamond necklace is stolen, Brandon is the first suspect. Jane is determined to prove Brandon’s innocence before he’s sent to jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 

The Jane Austen Investigates is a fun series because it reimagines a young Jane Austen as a detective. Jane encounters people who will later inspire her own novels. In this book, she meets Elinor and Marianne, among others, who will inspire her characters in Sense and Sensibility. 

Prejudice was an important part of this story too. Jane noticed right away that Brandon was being accused of the theft because he was Black. I don’t know how historically accurate it was for someone in Jane’s position to be able to defend someone against this kind of prejudice, but I’d like to imagine she would have done that in her real life. 

The Burglar’s Ball is a great Jane Austen Investigates mystery. 

Thank you Lion Hudson for proving a digital copy of this book.

What to read next:

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

The Tigers in the Tower by Julia Golding

Other books in the series:

Have you read The Burglar’s Ball? What did you think of it?

Review: 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)

Title: 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War (Graveyard Girls #1)
Author: Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror, Paranormal
Publisher: Union Square Kids
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Whisper, Frannie, Sophie, Gemma, and Zuzu, five friends who tell eerie tales by night and navigate middle school drama by day.
 
MISERY FALLS, OREGON, IS ABUZZ AS the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of the town’s most infamous killer, Silas Hoke, approaches. When a mysterious text message leads the girls to the cemetery—where Silas Hoke is buried!—life can’t get any creepier. Except, yes, it can thanks to the surprise storyteller who meets them at the cemetery, inspires the first-ever meeting of the Graveyard Girls, and sets the stage for a terrifying tale from Whisper that they’ll never forget.
 
This slightly scary, extremely addictive story is the first in a five-book series by New York Timesbestselling authors Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus.

Review:

Whisper, Frankie, Sophie, and Gemma are best friends who have a club where they tell each other scary stories. Their small town of Misery Falls, Oregon is having a celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the electrocution of their most infamous serial killer, Silas Hoke. Just as the celebration week is about to begin, all of the girls get a mystery text, inviting them to the cemetery where Silas is buried. This sets them off on a scary adventure to find out of Silas has come back to haunt the town. 

This was a fun introduction to a new middle grade horror series. The friends were distinct and had their own subplots as well as the main plot. Many of them had problems with their families and issues at school. One of the big problems I noticed throughout the book was adults not listening to the children. I think that would be relatable because that’s a common feeling as a preteen or teen. 

The friends in this story made up their own scary stories to share with the group. There was one full short story in this book which was about technology addiction in kids. It was creepy and exaggerated, but definitely relevant with how much everyone is addicted to technology these days. 

1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War is a fun and creepy story!

Thank you Union Square Kids for sending me a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Hush-A-Bye by Jody Lee Mott

    Have you read 1-2-3-4, I Declare a Thumb War? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Gingerbread Witch

    Title: The Gingerbread Witch
    Author: Alexandra Overy
    Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
    Publisher: Inkyard Press
    Source: Publisher via NetGalley
    Format: Ebook
    Release Date: September 13, 2022
    Rating: ★★★★★

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    Goodreads Synopsis:

    Maud has grown up in a house made of gingerbread, wanting nothing more than to be a witch like Mother Agatha. But just like all of Agatha’s creations—from the magical house made of sweets to the chocolate mousse squirrel, right down to the little sugar mice—Maud will turn back into gingerbread if anything ever happens to Agatha. After a terrible fight, Maud storms off only to return home to learn that Hansel and Gretel, a pair of witch hunters, have pushed Agatha into the cottage’s oven.

    To save herself and the other gingerbread creations, Maud will have to go into the dangerous forest of the Shadelands to find the First Witch’s spellbook. But with witch hunters on her trail and other people interested in the book for their own means, it’ll be far from easy. Can Maud claim the book and bring back the only mother she’s ever known…or will witch hunters capture her before she can save her gingerbread family?

    Review:

    Maud is a girl who was made out of gingerbread by her witch mother Agatha. If anything ever happens to Agatha, her creations will turn back into gingerbread, including the chocolate mousse squirrel and the sugar mice. After Agatha and Maud have a fight, Maud storms off into the forest. When she returns, she finds witch hunters in their home, standing over Agatha’s ashes. Maud runs away before they can catch her too, and she learns that the First Witch’s spell book has a spell that can bring Agatha back to life. To find the spell book, Maud has avoid the witch hunters and other dangers lurking nearby. 

    I loved the fairytale elements of this story. Maud, her animal friends, and her home were all made of gingerbread or sweets. She encountered witch hunters named Hansel and Gretel. There were also some twists along the way that really surprised me. 

    One of the major themes of this story was good versus evil. Maud believed that all witches were good, because her mom was a witch. She believed that all witch hunters were evil because they killed her mom. Meanwhile, the witch hunters thought they were on the side of good because they hunted witches who killed children. These lines between good and evil became blurred when Maud got to know the witch hunters. Not all witches were good, and not all witch hunters were bad. 

    The Gingerbread Witch is a great middle grade story!

    Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book.

    What to read next:

    The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody

    A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

    Have you read The Gingerbread Witch? What did you think of it?

    Sponsored Review: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball

    Title: Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball
    Author: S.P. O’Farrell
    Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
    Publisher: Brandylane Publishers, Inc.
    Source: Author
    Format: Paperback
    Release Date: May 13, 2019
    Rating: ★★★★★

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    Goodreads Synopsis:

    Simone LaFray had never questioned one thing – the character of her father. A fourth generation chocolatier and proprietor of a world famous patisserie, in her eyes he could do no wrong. However, her eyes were trained to see everything that was wrong. A covert agent with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this extraordinary 12-year-old was living a double life, walking in the veiled footprints of her mother, icing eclairs, dusting pastries, and darting between the shadows. What could be sweeter? When a notorious thief returns to Paris seeking revenge against her mother, a series of unforeseen and potentially devastating events ensue, leaving Simone to question everything. Her father can’t be the man they say he is, can he? Her concealed life is evaporating, the store hangs in the balance . . . and did I mention she needs a ball gown? Life in a French patisserie may not be as sweet as you thought. Simone LaFray and the Chocolatier’s Ball pulls the invisible girl out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but is she ready?

    Review:

    Simone LaFray is a twelve-year-old spy from a family of chocolatiers. She works with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where her mother also works as an agent, while her father runs a chocolate patisserie. When an art thief returns to Paris to seek revenge on her mother, Simone takes charge of the investigation. The hunt for the thief leads her through art galleries and ultimately to the chocolatiers’ ball, where her father’s reputation is on the line. 

    I was instantly drawn into this story with the evocative descriptions. Paris is a vibrant setting for a novel, and it felt like I was there while reading this book. The descriptions of the chocolate and sweet treats made my mouth water!

    There were many layers to the mystery in this story. Simone had to investigate a notorious art thief, who had a rebellious reputation similar to Banksy. The mystery came close to home when Simone’s family was targeted by a thief. In the final chapters of the novel, I could tell that this was just the beginning of a larger mystery that would be continued in more stories. 

    Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball was a fun middle grade mystery novel!

    Thank you S.P. O’Farrell and Bookstagrammers.com for sending me a copy of this book!

    What to read next:

    Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London by S.P. O’Farrell

    Other books in the series:

    • Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London

    Have you read Simone LaFray and the Chocolatiers’ Ball? What did you think of it?

    Review: The Elephant Girl

    Title: The Elephant Girl
    Author: James Patterson, Ellen Banda-Aaku, Sophia Krevoy
    Genre: Middle Grade
    Publisher: jimmy patterson
    Source: Publisher
    Format: Hardcover
    Release Date: July 25, 2022
    Rating: ★★★★

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    Goodreads Synopsis:

    James Patterson and award-winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku deliver an unforgettable story of a girl, an elephant, and their life-changing friendship. 
     
    Clever, sensitive Jama likes elephants better than people. While her classmates gossip—especially about the new boy, Leku—twelve-year-old Jama takes refuge at the watering hole outside her village. There she befriends a baby elephant she names Mbegu, Swahili for seed. 
     
    When Mbegu’s mother, frightened by poachers, stampedes, Jama and Mgebu are blamed for two deaths—one elephant and one human. Now Leku, whose mysterious and imposing father is head ranger at the conservancy, may be their only lifeline.    
     
    Inspired by true events, The Elephant Girl is a moving exploration of the bonds between creatures and the power of belonging.  

    Review:

    Twelve-year-old Jama likes to spend time with elephants more than her classmates. She escapes to a watering hole after school, where she’s befriended a herd of elephants. She names the baby elephant Mbegu and becomes close friends with her. When Mbegu’s mother is killed for killing a human, Jama feels like she must defend the innocent elephants. Jama blames a ranger who pays off poachers, who angered the elephants by killing one of their own. Jama has to find a way to protect the elephants and save them from the people who are meant to protect them. 

    This was an emotional story. Jama went through so much trauma in her young life. She was a bit of an outsider, which made her bond with the elephants. She witnessed animal abuse and death. It was quite difficult to read these scenes. However, this does happen, so it was an authentic representation of harm that can come to animals. 

    The Elephant Girl was an emotional story with an uplifting ending. 

    Thank you Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book.

    What to read next:

    Berani by Michelle Kadarusman

      Have you read The Elephant Girl? What did you think of it?

      Review: The Unique Lou Fox

      Title: The Unique Lou Fox
      Author: Jodi Carmichael
      Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
      Publisher: Pajama Press
      Source: Publisher via NetGalley
      Format: Ebook
      Release Date: August 9, 2022
      Rating: ★★★★★

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      Goodreads Synopsis:

      Award-winning author Jodi Carmichael, who has ADHD herself, affirms and celebrates those who struggle with their uniqueness and triumphantly discover its gifts

      It isn’t easy being Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy—especially with dyslexia. She prefers Lou Fox, the dream name she’ll use one day as a famous Broadway playwright. In the meantime, Lou is stuck in fifth grade with Mrs. Snyder, a total Shadow Phantom of a teacher who can spot a daydream from across the room but doesn’t know anything about ADHD. Mrs. Snyder’s constant attention is ex-cru-ci-a-ting. If only she would disappear.

      Fortunately, life isn’t all a-tro-cious. There’s The Haunting at Lakeside School, the play Lou is writing and directing for her two best friends. And soon she’ll be a big sister at last. Nothing could ruin the joy of those things…right?

      Review:

      Fifth grader Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy dreams of being a playwright and changing her name to Lou Fox. She has dyslexia and ADHD, and she thinks that her teacher, Mrs. Snyder, doesn’t understand her at all. After getting in trouble one day, Lou wishes Mrs. Snyder would disappear. Then, Mrs. Snyder gets very sick and can’t come to school. Lou worries that her wish came true, especially when her pregnant mother falls ill, after she wishes she wasn’t going to have a younger sibling. Meanwhile, Lou is struggling to keep up in class and starts bossing her friends around as they plan to perform the play they wrote together. Lou must figure out how to use her strengths and embrace the ways that she’s unique. 

      This is a fabulous children’s novel! Not only is it written about a main character with dyslexia, but it was printed with consideration for readers with dyslexia. The text was set in Helvetica and the headers are in OpenDyslexic, so they are easier to read for children with dyslexia. I didn’t know that these fonts make it easier to read, so I appreciated this detail in the story. 

      There were also parts of this story that are universal. Lou had a lot of misunderstandings because she didn’t communicate her feelings. She thought her wish made her teacher ill, even though that’s not possible. Lou was understandably jealous when she found out that her mother was pregnant. Once she talked to her parents about it, she felt much better. Lou also had some conflicts with her friends which were cleared up after talking about her feelings. These are universal lessons that everyone can relate to. 

      The Unique Lou Fox is a great middle grade story!

      Thank you Pajama Press for sending me a copy!

      What to read next:

      Family of Spies by Jodi Carmichael

      Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson

      Have you read The Unique Lou Fox? What did you think of it?

      Review: Berani

      Title: Berani
      Author: Michelle Kadarusman
      Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
      Publisher: Pajama Press
      Source: Publisher
      Format: Hardcover
      Release Date: August 16, 2022
      Rating: ★★★★★

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      Goodreads Synopsis:

      An honest and stirring novel about the choices made by young environmental activists, and the balancing act between consequence and triumph 

      Malia has had a privileged upbringing in Indonesia, but since her Indonesian father died, her Canadian mother wants to return to her own family on the other side of the world. Malia is determined to stay. Indonesia is her home, and she loves it. Besides, if she leaves, how can she continue to fight for her country’s precious rainforests?

      Ari knows he is lucky to be going to school and competing on the chess team, even if it means an endless round of chores at his uncle’s restaurant. Back in his home village, he and his cousin Suni dreamed about getting a chance like this. But now he is here without her, and the guilt is crushing him. As if that weren’t enough, he’s horribly worried about Ginger Juice, his uncle’s orangutan. The too-small cage where she lives is clearly hurting her body and her mind, but where else can she go? The rainforest where she was born is a palm oil plantation now.

      In Berani, Governor General’s Award finalist Michelle Kadarusman spins together three perspectives: Malia, who is prepared to risk anything for her activism, Ari, who knows the right path but fears what it will cost, and Ginger Juice, the caged orangutan who still remembers the forest and her mother. The choices the young people make will have consequences for themselves, for Ginger Juice, and for others, if they are brave enough—or reckless enough—to choose.

      Review:

      Malia has lived a privileged life in Indonesia, but after the death of her father, her mother wants to return to her home of Canada. If Malia leaves Indonesia, she can’t continue her activism to stop deforestation. However, when a school project backfires and puts her future in jeopardy, Malia wonders if moving to Canada is a good idea after all. Meanwhile, Ari moved in with his uncle to have the opportunity to go to school and compete in chess tournaments. At his uncle’s restaurant, an orangutan named Ginger Juice has been kept in a cage since she was a baby. After finding out that it’s illegal to keep an orangutan as a pet, Ari wants to get some help for Ginger Juice, but that means going against his uncle and maybe getting him in trouble. 

      Malia and Ari had to face moral dilemmas in this story. Malia gave a presentation and passed out a petition without her teacher’s permission which put her teacher’s job in jeopardy. Her teacher could get her job back, if Malia admitted she was wrong, but she was conflicted about going against what she believes in. Ari wanted to get help for Ginger Juice, but he didn’t want his uncle to get in trouble for holding her in captivity for so long. Luckily their stories had positive outcomes, but these are moral dilemmas that kids can face once they learn about issues in the world. 

      This was a touching and emotional story. Ginger Juice’s had a narrative which told her perspective from in the cage and from the rainforest before she went to live with Ari’s uncle. It was quite disturbing to hear her talk about how her home was destroyed and she was taken away from her mother to live in captivity. Though it was hard to read, it’s important to read these types of stories because they reflect real world problems. 

      Berani is a beautiful middle grade story. 

      Thank you Pajama Press for sending me a copy of this book!

      What to read next:

      Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

      Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

      Have you read Berani? What did you think of it?

      Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

      Title: Alliana, Girl of Dragons
      Author: Julie Abe
      Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
      Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
      Source: Publisher
      Format: Paperback arc
      Release Date: August 2, 2022
      Rating: ★★★★

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      Goodreads Synopsis:

      Once upon a time, Alliana believed in dreams and fairy tales as sweet as spun-sugar clouds. Alliana wished on shooting stars, sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Then her grandmother passed away—and those dreams disappeared in a disenchanted puff.

      Now Alliana’s forced to attend to the whims of her wicked stepmother—with long days of cleaning her stepfamily’s inn as her skin burns raw or staying up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. Until she meets two beings who change her life forever—the first is a young nightdragon who Alliana discovers she can magically talk to. And the second is Nela, a young witch.

      Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance to break free of her stepmother’s shadow and to seize a chance at a life she’s barely dared to hope for—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Can Alliana truly make wisps of dreams into her own, better-than-a-fairy-tale happily ever after?

      Inspired by the Japanese Cinderella story and set in the same world as the Eva Evergreen series, this story can be read as a standalone.

      Review:

      Alliana dreams of going to the Royal Academy and meeting the Queen. When her grandmother passes away, Alliana is left with her stepmother and step siblings, who make her do all the dirty work at their inn. Then, Alliana meets two friends. One is a dragon named Kabo, who Alliana saves from battling dragons. The other is a witch named Nela, who wants to help Alliana escape from her stepmother. Alliana must find a way to break free from the prison get stepmother has created. 

      I really enjoyed this Cinderella story. I liked that Alliana’s goal wasn’t to marry a Prince, like in many Cinderella stories. She wanted to follow her dream of going to the Royal Academy for herself. She didn’t want to rely on anyone else because the people closest to her didn’t treat her well. This is an inspiring message for middle grade readers!

      Alliana, Girl of Dragons is a great Cinderella story. 

      Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book!

      What to read next:

      Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe

      Have you read Alliana, Girl of Dragons? What did you think of it?

      Review: Lumberjackula

      Title: Lumberjackula
      Author: Mat Heagerty, Sam Owen
      Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Fantasy
      Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
      Source: Author
      Format: Paperback arc
      Release Date: July 19, 2022
      Rating: ★★★★★

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      Goodreads Synopsis:

      This middle grade graphic novel follows a half-vampire, half-lumberjack boy who feels torn between his parents and just wants to be a dancer.

      Jack is in a pickle. His lumberjack mom wants him to go to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep to learn how to chop wood and wear flannel. His vampire dad wants him to go to Sorrow’s Gloom Vampire School to learn how to turn into a bat and drink blood-orange juice. And Jack has a secret: what he really wants to do is dance.

      When he finds out about Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy from new friend Plenty, Jack feels he’s finally found the place where he can be his true self. But he’s too afraid of disappointing his family to tell them. What’s a half-lumberjack, half-vampire boy to do?

      To summon the confidence to pursue his dreams, Jack will have to embrace every part of himself—his lumberjack toughness, his vampire eeriness, and most especially his awesome dance moves.

      Review:

      Lumberjackula, AKA Jack, is half-lumberjack and half-vampire. His mom wants him to go to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep and his dad wants him to go to Sorrow’s Gloom Vampire School. However, Jack doesn’t feel like he fits in at either of those schools. What he really loves is to dance, so when he discovers Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy, he knows it’s the right school for him. Jack doesn’t want to disappoint either of his families, though, so he pretends he still doesn’t know what school he wants to attend. Jack has to learn how to embrace all parts of his personality and be his true self. 

      This was such a fun graphic novel! Jack comes from two very different backgrounds, lumberjack and vampire. He didn’t really feel like he fit in completely with either group, but he didn’t want to let either of his parents down. I think this would be relatable for kids who come from more than one cultural background. Jack had to learn that he didn’t have to fit into either group, and he could follow his own path to become a dancer. 

      The illustrations in this graphic novel were vibrant and adorable. There were even some dances that Jack did to music that were mapped out. I really enjoyed reading this story!

      Lumberjackula is an uplifting middle grade graphic novel about being true to yourself. 

      Thank you Mat Heagerty and Simon Kids for sending me a copy of this book!

      What to read next:

      Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty,Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante

      Martian Ghost Centaur by Mat Heagerty, Steph Mided

      Have you read Lumberjackula? What did you think of it?

      Review: Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun (Onyeka #1)

      Title: Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun
      Author: Tọlá Okogwu
      Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Fantasy
      Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
      Source: Publisher
      Format: Paperback arc
      Release Date: June 14, 2022
      Rating: ★★★★

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      Goodreads Synopsis:

      Black Panther meets X-Men in this action-packed and empowering middle grade adventure about a British Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers—perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, The Marvellers, and Rick Riordan!

      Onyeka has a lot of hair­—the kind that makes strangers stop in the street and her peers whisper behind her back. At least she has Cheyenne, her best friend, who couldn’t care less what other people think. Still, Onyeka has always felt insecure about her vibrant curls…until the day Cheyenne almost drowns and Onyeka’s hair takes on a life of its own, inexplicably pulling Cheyenne from the water.

      At home, Onyeka’s mother tells her the shocking truth: Onyeka’s psycho-kinetic powers make her a Solari, one of a secret group of people with super powers unique to Nigeria. Her mother quickly whisks her off to the Academy of the Sun, a school in Nigeria where Solari are trained. But Onyeka and her new friends at the academy soon have to put their powers to the test as they find themselves embroiled in a momentous battle between truth and lies…

      Review:

      Onyeka has a lot of hair that is out of control most of the time. One day, when her friend begins to drown, Onyeka swims after her, and her hair somehow pulls them both out. Onyeka’s mother tells her that she’s inherited these special powers from her father, who was a Solari. The Solari are a group of people with super powers in Nigeria. Her mother brings her to Nigeria to find her father and get answers on how to control her newfound power at the Academy of the Sun. 

      This book is described as Black Panther meets X-Men and that’s the perfect comparison! Most of the story was set in Nigeria, in an advanced school filled with kids who have various super powers. The school was divided in four groups, by the type of power students had. The groups had to compete against each other and all the students had to compete against one another with grades and challenges. 

      I loved the message that something that was perceived as a weakness is actually strength. Onyeka’s mom had strict rules for how she had to treat her hair. It was often a mess and going in every direction, until she learned how to control it. What she thought was her weakness ended up being the source of her super power. 

      Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun is a great start to a middle school adventure series. 

      Thank you Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this book.

      What to read next:

      Shuri by Nic Stone

      The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

      Have you read Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun? What did you think of it?