Monday, June 21, 2021

Review: Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

by B.B. Alston
Release Date: January 19th 2021
2021 Balzer + Bray
Kindle & Audiobook Editions; 416 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062975164
Audiobook: B087RTHPSC
Genre: Fiction/Juvenile/Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher
4.5/5 Stars
Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal?

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate. 

My Thoughts
Amari and the Night Brothers was a fantastic juvenile fiction fantasy book, probably one of the best ones I've read so far this year.  I ended up with both an audiobook and a kindle edition to review, but ended up listening to the story as the narrator was too good to put down.  I even worked on my garden for much longer than I intended so I could continue listening to the story.  This book is pretty much why I still indulge in juvenile/middle grade fiction; secrets, fantasy, magic, friendship, and lots of competition type stuff that I would have loved as a kid, and still enjoy as an adult.

Amari is a wonderful character; strong, determined, gutsy, and vulnerable.  I loved her little sarcastic comments to herself throughout the book and laughed out loud a couple of times as I was listening.  And even though she was determined, especially when it came to searching for her missing brother, there was a vulnerability to her as well.  She had trouble fitting in with those around her and always seemed to be on he outs with other students which made her a bit defensive in her relationships.  It was a treat watching her grow and develop throughout the story and I thought the author did a fabulous job with her character development.  

Several strong themes running through this story revolved around friendship and family.  I liked how the author developed Amari's friendship with her roommate and how they encouraged each other to develop their talents and were so complimentary of each other.  Elsie was a wonderful character and I am looking forward to learning more about her in the next book.  Family was also a strong value in this book as well, and I like how Amari was encouraged to search for her brother and it was seen as am important thing even if she was too young to get involved.

The pacing of the book was excellent: there was enough action interspersed with other happenings to keep you interested without going overboard.  The fast-paced plot allowed the action to continue, but at a pace where the character development didn't suffer.  The twists and turns kept me interested and intrigued; however, I'm not quite sure I liked one certain twist, even though I was expecting it, which is why I didn't give it the five stars I was going to originally.  

Amari and the Night Brothers was an engaging and twisty read, full of fun characters and a main character who was sassy and determined.  The pacing moved rather quickly, and the fantasy elements were imaginative and fun.  I really do think a lot of young girls will identify with this book.  I was quite happy to hear two more books have been announced in this series, the next one will be published next year. In the meantime, if you haven't yet picked this up, get on out there!



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