When I saw one of my librarian friends on Twitter describe B.B. Alston’s “Amari and the Night Brothers” as “lit”, I knew I had to give it a read. And after flying through this book in just a few sittings, I knew it had to be a Middle Grade Book Club pick.
Amari Peters is thirteen years old, lives in the Rosewood low-income housing projects, and goes to a private junior high school on scholarship, a fact that her bullying classmates won’t let her forget. On top of that, her older brother, Quinton, has been missing for months, though no one seems to be looking into the cause of his disappearance. One day, Amari discovers a mystery briefcase in her brother’s closet addressed to her, containing a nomination for a tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari has no idea what this nomination could lead to, but she is sure that finding out could get her closer to locating her brother.
Amari’s first days at the Bureau are trial-by-fire meets flying by the seat of her pants. After finding out that Quinton was one of the top agents at the Bureau before he went missing, Amari discovers that his legacy makes her an instant — and unwilling — celebrity. Furthermore, Amari’s talent potential makes her a magician, a label that is illegal in the eyes of the supernatural world. How is Amari supposed to find her brother when any information about him is classified, her peers at the Bureau ice her out every chance they get, and her very existence is a crime?
“Amari and the Night Brothers” is nothing less than a page-turner, with each chapter ending on a cliffhanger that begs you to keep reading. Amari is spunky, whip-smart, and relatable, and the cast of unique magical characters are endlessly entertaining. This is a story you don’t want to miss.
Pick up a copy of “Amari and the Night Brothers” starting on November 1. Middle Grade Book Club will meet to discuss on Wednesday, November 16 at 3:30PM in the Youth Area.