Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron - ESSENTIAL

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron, 291 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. $16.99.

Content: Language: G (0 swears, 0“f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13



Maya is a 12yo girl in the South Side of Chicago who loves the fantasy stories in her comics. She has grown up with her father sharing fantastical stories of legendary creatures and African Spirits who created the universe, the Orishas. She has a strange experience at school where time froze around her and colors started fading to gray, which she thinks is due to her anemia, but stranger things start happening more frequently. When her father disappears, Maya and her two best friends, Frankie and Eli, set off on a dangerous quest to save him. On their journey they discover ancient magic hidden in plain sight and power deep within themselves.

This exciting book which will be a favorite of young women who are ready to feel more independent and have an adventure. I loved reading the story and connected with Maya's character who feels she is an ordinary girl who does not stand out academically or socially, but is determined to do what is right, even when it is scary. There are several scenes of fighting dangerous mythical creatures that wield weapons repelled by magic and a wooden staff. Battle injuries are minor and heal magically. A helicopter flown by a “bad” character explodes and a commander of a dark army kills one of her own men.

Reviewer, Kara Spjute

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