B.B. Alston's AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS - A Thrilling, Magical Middle Grade Read
by Ashley Dickson-Ellison (@teachingtheapocalypse)
B. B. Alston's Amari and the Night Brothers
I absolutely loved this brilliant book, B. B. Alston's Amari and the Night Brothers (Amazon | Bookshop.org), so much! It was fast-paced and compelling with excellent world building and an outstanding protagonist. I loved Amari right from the start, and I found her motivation, her desire to find her older brother Quinton who had disappeared, to be powerful and authentic. When the book begins, we quickly learn that Amari's brother was legendary in Rosewood, their family's low-income neighborhood, because he had been selected to attend an elite "summer camp" where he received specialized training, and eventually turned down Ivy League school opportunities because he got a very prestigious job that he described to her as being a bit like the CIA.
And then he disappeared.
Amari is determined to find her brother. She soon finds out that before his disappearance, Quinton helped recommend Amari for the same "summer camp" he attended, and, propelled by her desire to uncover his secrets, she resolves to go. And from there, she learns that the "summer camp" is actually a secretive training program for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, and the hidden magical world that exists alongside our human one unfolds in front of Amari.
And it's so fun! But things are not what they seem, and even within the Bureau, discrimination exists, and not all kinds of magical beings are tolerated. Additionally, most of the kids at the school are from extremely wealthy, elitist families who have known about the true reality of the world since birth and who have countless advantages because of their background. To make things more complicated, Amari quickly discovers her own gift... and the fact that it's something the society does not permit because of its potential danger. But she has to find her way forward if she's going to figure out what happened to her brother.
I loved this compelling story so much, and it's a perfect read for middle-grade students all the way up to adults! B. B. Alston tells a fun, fascinating story that also shows the complexities and flaws of our world in a way that rings true and relevant for readers. I listened to this one on audio but would have also loved it in print. I can't wait for book 2, Amari and the Great Game, which is coming out in April of 2022!
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