I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
on January 19, 2021
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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.
Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out.
With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Here is what I thought
This had a junior Men in Black vibe to it which I was definitely on board for!!
Amari’s brother has gone missing and nobody seems to care about finding him. They can’t find anywhere there was proof he was working so they think he was probably doing something more seedier. Amari doesn’t believe it and so when she finds a briefcase that says Quinton has nominated her for a summer tryout for a secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.
She is told to put in some eye drops and once she does she begins to see that living among them are the supernatural and when she gets to the Bureau she learns that it is a place that makes sure things go well between the humans and the supernatural without anybody knowing they exist.
Amari is still trying to grasp the fact that the supernatural exist and having a weredragon for a roommate. She has tough competition as most of these kids have grown up knowing about the supernatural as they come from a long line of Bureau families. When she finds out that Quinton was an agent and a pretty good one and has gone missing she is determined that she is going to become a junior agent so she can find her brother.
The only bad thing about her plans is that everyone who is part of the Bureau is given a supernatural ability to help them work within the bureau and she is given an illegal ability. Others want her kicked out but some want to give her a chance and she is determined to prove to them that it doesn’t matter what ability she was given that she can do the job and be on the side of good.
I really enjoyed this one, it was a little slow to start but once she gets to bureau it picks up and becomes really interesting. I liked Amari, she is young and a bit flawed and makes the wrong decisions sometimes but that is all part of learning and growing. She is strong as she moves from one prejudice because of the color of her skin to another one having an illegal ability that everyone is afraid of but she is resilient and doesn’t give up when it comes to trying to be a junior agent and finding her brother.
It has some twist and turns along the way one one I didn’t see coming at the end that really surprised me! I think this is one that everyone could enjoy from adults to young readers!