From beloved protagonists to endless quests, these mid-tier series entries keep the action going for avid fans.
Amari is back, creating even more waves in her magical world. The same goes for Trouble, who is busy saving their entire galaxy. From beloved protagonists to endless quests, these series entries keep the action going for avid fans.
Alston, BB Amari and the big game. 432p. (Supernatural Investigations: Book 2). HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. August 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062975195.
3-7 gr.-After the mighty battle at the end of the series opener, Amari rose to fame in the supernatural world, with people both fearful and in awe of her magic skills. When a new prime minister speaks out against magicians, Amari finds herself more controversial than ever among her peers. Then the mysterious League of Magicians asks him to be their new leader. She initially refuses, until a dangerous competitor steps forward to take the job, and she reluctantly agrees to enter the Great Game, a contest to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magicians. VERDICT Fans of the first book will jump at the chance to re-immerse themselves in the delights and surprises of this magical world, filled with both wonder and suspense.
Arden, Katherine. empty smiles. 288p. (Small Spaces Quartet: Book 4). Putnam. August 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593109182.
5th year superior-The terror continues for Ollie, Coco, Brian and Phil in this chilling series finale. It’s been three months since Ollie disappeared after making a deal with the Smiling Man to save his friends and family. But over time, his friends begin to lose hope. When a boy disappears from a carnival and then reappears, traumatized and raving about a creepy man who abducted him, the three friends know he’s talking about the smiling man and their time to save Ollie is finally over. came. Arden never disappoints with its thrilling, heart-pounding scenes, and this book is full of them. First came scarecrows, ghosts and monsters, but she saved the best for last: evil clowns! VERDICT Fans of the series will not be disappointed.
Boyer, Crispin. The epic escape from the underworld. 208p. (Zeus the Mighty: Book 4). National Geographic. March 2022. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781426371783.
2nd-5th grade–Zeus and the gang are back for another adventure at the Mount Olympus Pet Center, where the locals have taken on the characteristics of various figures from Greek mythology. Human owner Artie (Artemis) and her friend Callie (Calliope) are wary of the mess they find in the mornings and have installed Cerberus, a motion sensor camera that barks whenever it detects movement. Undeterred by the new security system, the animals investigate a mysterious portal that leads to the underworld. While traveling, they encounter Charon (an armadillo), Hypnos (a snake), Persephone (a mole), Atlas (a turtle), and Hades in the form of a mole. Attractive illustrations and a character guide are included. VERDICT Young animal story fans will love this hilarious game that features a fun take on Greek mythology.
Graves, Luna. night of suspense. 160p. (Special Witches: Book 2). S.&S./Aladdin. Jul. 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665906258.
2nd-5th grade-Twin witches Bella and Donna (Dee) Maleficent can’t wait to attend their first dance at the human school. As students of Yvette I. Koffin’s Outstanding School for Supernatural Students (YIKESSS), the girls take classes with other monsters, including vampires, werewolves, and goblins. The friends dress up and attend the dance only to find themselves mocked by the human college kids. Unfazed, Bella and her friends dance to their heart’s content, while Dee struggles with her desire to fit in. While many familiar tropes and topics are explored in this comedy series, young readers will enjoy the upside-down magical world of Peculiar, PA. VERDICT Ideal for “Monster High” and “Hotel Transylvania” fans.
Hacca, Catherine. nowheretown. 160p. (American Horse Tales: Book 5). Penguin Workshop. March 2022. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9780593225295.
3-7 gr.–This happy and positive story follows Natalie, a 10-year-old “city girl,” after she moves from Philadelphia to a small rural town in Pennsylvania called Daisy Dell. Friendly and outgoing, Natalie loves graphic novels and hopes to write her own one day. When she spots her new neighbor at the horse farm next door, she’s thrilled that he looks like the hero of her favorite book, The boy next door. As she gets to know him better, she finds herself becoming more attached to his latest “project” horse, Ghost, whom he hopes to train and sell. VERDICT This sweet story will appeal to young lovers of realistic fiction and animal stories.
Kaye, Marilyn. Kiara strikes back. 208p. (Spyglass Sisterhood: Book 3). Vacation home. Apr. 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780823446117.
3-7 gr.-Kiara and her three best friends take on a bully in this latest episode of “Spyglass Sisterhood.” Using their magical spyglass that offers visions and insight into someone’s feelings, the girls track down a cyberbully who is targeting classmates. Kiara, usually a loner who struggles to understand social norms, tells this story in a slightly detached and critical way that matches her personality and worldview, for which she makes no apologies. That said, she makes an effort to be more understanding of others’ feelings and less literal. With the help of her father, friends, and several classmates, Kiara uses her knowledge of court dramas to set up a trial for the bully in question. VERDICT Young readers who enjoy realistic, low-stakes fiction and friendship drama with just a touch of magic will enjoy this entry.
Mone, Gregory. On the edge of war. 304p. (Atlantis: Book 2). Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419738555.
3-7 gr.-After The accidental invasion, the humans Lewis and Hanna and fellow Atlantean Kaya find themselves torn between competing interests on the surface and in Atlantis. Frustrated by the somewhat hostile and strange culture of the “People of the Sun”, Kaya desperately seeks to return home and save her father, who has risked himself for their escape. Lewis is determined to go with her and find his own father, who remains held captive in the Undersea Nation. Atlantis warns that war will be declared if the warship used by the children to escape is not returned. Meanwhile, a conniving tech billionaire hijacks the ship and demands access to more Atlantean technology before letting the kids go. A humorous but informative section on the “Science of Atlantis” is attached. VERDICT Fans of the first book will enjoy the blend of adventure, humor and sci-fi gimmicks in this action-packed sequel that leaves room for other out-of-this-world stories.
Prinee, Sarah. asking for trouble. 288p. (Trouble in the Stars: Book 2). Viking. March 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593204306.
3-7 gr.–The adventures of shapeshifter Trouble and their adoptive family continue in this highly engaging sequel that offers just as much humor and heart as its predecessor. When Trouble’s teammate and best friend Electra discovers she has a long-lost sister, she decides to leave her reunited family and infiltrate the Star League Military Academy to rescue her. Unwilling to stay behind, Trouble also joins the Academy, posing as a human cadet. Soon, a mysterious entity from the far reaches of space threatens everything in the Galaxy and finds itself looking for Trouble. This series continues to be a perfect space thriller, ideal for sci-fi buffs, Star Wars fans, and reluctant readers. VERDICT Although the story seems complete, there is room for more stories featuring the many endearing characters.
Stowell, Louis. The wood magician. illus. by Davide Ortu. 224p. (Kit the Magician: Book 3). Candlewick/Walker. June 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536214956.
2-4 gr.–After a summer of magical adventures, Kit, Josh and Alita are ready to start school and thrilled to learn they will have a new library. In this world, librarians are wizards, and a real library must have a dragon underneath to imbue it with magic, so the friends meet with the wizarding council to get a dragon egg for their new library. On the first day of school, they are thrilled to meet their new school librarian, Ben, and check out the dragon egg, only to find it’s missing! Kit and his friends will have to rely on their friendship and self-confidence to defeat this great threat to the wizarding world. VERDICT An enjoyable combination of humor and peril, along with Ortu’s extensive artwork, make this a great starter fantasy series.
Wow, Tamra. The mystery of the lost lynx. illus. by Carl DiRocco. 247p. (Cooper & Packrat: Book 5). Islandport. June 2022. pap. $14.95. ISBN 9781952143380.
3-6 g–An engaging mystery for wildlife lovers. Cooper and his best friends Packrat, Roy and Summer are looking forward to a fun-filled week of outdoor adventures during winter vacation in Maine. But after spotting a baby lynx in the woods and learning reports of an illegal poacher in the area, the kids begin to investigate suspicious activity on their own. Lynx facts open each chapter, and animal-loving kids will appreciate all the extra details about Maine wildlife woven into this plot, not to mention the description of winter activities. VERDICT A great choice for collections where mysteries are popular.
Youn, Erin. Love at first sight. 288p. (Pippa Park: Book 2). Fabulous movies. September 2022. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781944020804.
4-7 Gr–Pippa explores the highs and lows of friendships and early crushes in this well-crafted sequel to Pippa Park raises her game. As Christmas approaches, Pippa is busier than ever juggling basketball, homework, hanging out with friends, and working at her sister’s laundromat. When she accidentally agrees to host her new friends’ annual Christmas party and her sister offers her to help organize the church show, Pippa’s responsibilities increase. Add to that money troubles, a grumpy cat, and confusing feelings for her math teacher, Eliot, and an old friend from church, and Pippa finds herself in over her head. VERDICT This warm and enjoyable series continues to realistically explore a Korean American girl’s college experience in a relatable way.
Kristy Pasquariello, Westwood PL, MA