Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston is a middle grade fantasy novel that centers on Amari, a 13-year-old girl who is dead set on finding her missing, prodigy brother, Quinton. Her search for him reveals the supernatural world and her latent powers as a magician.
B.B. Alston does nice work establishing Amari’s determination, love for her brother, and her self-doubts over her own abilities. This book is perfect for reaching middle grade readers with its creative and humorous Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, and it’s adventurous plot full of twists and turns.
But what I appreciated most about Alston’s story is how well he establishes the stakes for Amari. From the beginning, we understand what drives this young teenage girl: her desire to find her brother, her pain at being bullied, and her hope to prove herself to those who doubt her. These stakes are put in place from the beginning. Then, Alston continues by raising them in regards to when the Bureau finds out she’s a magician. She faces losing her memory (and thereby her brother) if she doesn’t step up and do her best to win a place as a junior agent.
At every turn in this book, the reader understands what motivates Amari and why she is making the choices she makes. Alston makes it look simple but for those of us trying to craft our own stories, we can appreciate how much talent that takes.
Learn more about B.B. Alston’s book on Goodreads: Amari and the Night Brothers