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Sarah Byrd
Haven's Indigo
Sarah Byrd, author
Seven homeless kids. One thousand and two disappearances. Eight suspects. Being forever frozen in a cascade of lava isn’t the best way to spend your teen years. But for Haven, a fourteen-year-old who is learning how to freeze time, this will be her prison if she doesn’t stop the person who is causing the disappearances of people. While exploring cities through frozen seconds of time with the boy she is crushing on, to surfing on a viewing room that soars across the earth, this mystery adventure will promise to keep you guessing as to who the person responsible could be.
Byrd’s accomplished debut novel fuses fantasy and mystery into a zany but heartfelt adventure. Abandoned at the town dump by her parents, fourteen-year-old Haven bands together with the other homeless children she meets among the garbage. They find a beautiful indigo ring and soon discover that it brings both magic and danger into their lives. When three strange men attempt to take the ring, the children escape to the world of the Time Servers, beings who stop time to help people by averting accidents and returning lost things). Haven must balance the growing power of the ring and the opportunities it presents with her need to keep her found family together.

The Time Servers’ realm is fantastically innovative and richly detailed. Byrd creates a colorful, alluring setting brimming with magical places and objects. Time Server City is populated by familiar fantasy creatures distinguished with inventive twists: unicorns are beautiful but snobby, fairies wear pin-striped suits and are known for their fairness rather than their magic, and giants, far from being threatening or slow-witted, are brilliant inventors who create ingenious tools. But despite its welcoming whimsy, the Time Servers’ society is surprisingly nuanced, with problems and prejudices that add to its realism.

The book is brimming with characters, enough that readers may find it challenging to keep track of them through the story’s complex twists and turns. However, each is carefully crafted with unique characteristics, like Time Server Eutychus’s kindness and silly sense of humor and Haven’s deep desire to do the right thing–and her relatable fight to keep from giggling when awed by the Museum of Time. Her struggles to choose the correct path add moral complexity into this action-filled story. The vibrant world Byrd has created will no doubt appeal to fantasy readers of any age, and its thought-provoking conflicts add deeper dimensions to this imaginative tale.

Takeaway: Fun and full of heart, this offbeat fantasy finds action, mystery, and a hidden realm–in the junkyard.

Great for fans of: Tara Sims’s Timekeeper, Roshani Chokshi’s Aru Shah and the End of Time.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A