Published by Rick Riordan Presents on September 6, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Middle Grade
Source: Blog Tour, The Publisher
Cover Artist: El Carna
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling YA author Roseanne A. Brown's middle grade debut about a pre-teen vampire slayer with a strong helping of Ghanaian folklore.
For most kids, catching fireflies is a fun summer activity. For twelve-year-old Serwa Boateng, it's a matter of life and death.
That's because Serwa knows that some fireflies are really adze, shapeshifting vampires from the forests of Southeastern Ghana. Adze prey on the blood of innocents, possessing their minds and turning them into hulking monsters, and for generations, slayers like Serwa and her parents have protected an unknowing public from their threats.
Serwa is the best adze slayer her age, and she knew how to use a crossbow before she could even ride a bike. But when an obayifo (witch) destroys her childhood home while searching for a drum, do Serwa's parents take her with them on their quest to defeat her? No. Instead, they dump Serwa with her hippie aunt and cryptic-obsessed cousin in the middle of Nowheresville, Maryland "for her own safety." Now, instead of crossbows and battle armor, she's dealing with mean girls and algebra, and for the first time in her life she doesn't have to carry a staff everywhere she goes, which is . . . kind of nice, actually.
Just as Serwa starts to get the hang of this whole normal girl who doesn't punch vampires every day thing, an adze infiltrates her school. It's up to her to whip some of her classmates into monster-fighting shape before all of them become firefly food. And when she uncovers a secret that upends everything she thought she knew about her family's role in the slayer vs. adze war, Serwa will have to decide which side of herself--normal girl or slayer--is the right one.
After all, seventh grade is hard enough without adding vampires to the mix.
Complete your middle grade action-adventure collection with these titles:Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame MbaliaRick Riordan Presents: The Storm Runner by J.C. CervantesRick Riordan Presents: Race to the Sun by Rebecca RoanhorseRick Riordan Presents: Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. LeePercy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Serwa Boateng is not your average kid. She has been training her whole life to fight adze, a Ghanian version of vampires, so when she has to face the woes of regular middle school, she isn’t sure she can handle it. The book brings Ghanian folklore to life, with gods, monsters, and a fascinating magic system based on adinkra symbols that can still be found in Ghanian art today. I knew nothing of any of this folklore, and I really enjoyed diving into it! Another highlight is the uneasy friendship between the kids who unwittingly end up being part of Serwa’s vampire hunting team. These kids don’t get along at all at first (I mean, they’re stuck together because of a detention that they blame Serwa for), but they begrudgingly learn to love and respect each other. This book tackles important topics like racism, micro-aggressions, immigration, and even slavery, but it never feels like an issue book. Instead, it stays focused on the adventure at hand while showing us the extra everyday obstacles that are thrown in black and brown kids’ paths. And then it also addresses the age-old question of where the line between good and evil truly lies, exploring all the shades of gray that lie in between. Kids will love this book for the fast-paced action and uniquely strange monsters, but they’ll learn a thing or two about the world while they’re at it. Highly recommend!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Rockstar Book Tours so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
About Roseanne A. Brown:
Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her debut novel A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was an instant New York Times Bestseller, an Indie Bestseller, and received six starred reviews. She has worked with Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney among other publishers.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of SERWA BOATENG’S GUIDE TO VAMPIRE HUNTING, US Only.
Ends October 7th, midnight EST.
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