The Thread®

Ask a Bookseller: a portal into a fantastical world

Think about it: how often do you find a book that has both magical creatures and modern technology?

Hannah Amrollahi of The Bookworm in Omaha, Nebraska, has a theory that for kids who've grown up around cell phones and laptops, the presence of technology in a story makes the world seem familiar, even if that world happens to include mermaids, yetis and weredragons.

That's part of what she loves about the middle grade novel "Amari and the Night Brothers" and its newly-released sequel, "Amari and the Great Game," by B. B. Alston.

A blue book cover with a person on the front
The cover of "Amari and the Night Brothers" by B.B. Alston.
Courtesy of Goodreads

In the interest of avoiding spoilers, let's focus on the first book. 13 year-old Amari's big brother has gone missing from his prestigious boarding school, and she wants nothing more than to find him.

What she finds, though, is a ticking briefcase in her brother's closet, and a special nomination from him to try out for the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Here, students train to encounter magical and alien species. Amari turns out to have a real talent for magic. Can she use it to find her brother?

What follows is a story that's "Men in Black" meets "Artemis Fowl" in a magical boarding school setting. Amrollahi says that readers who love the "Wings of Fire" and Harry Potter series will want to dive into this one