On the night that monsters with glowing eyes took everything away...
Mikey Black's mother had called him special. As if making everyone around him deathly sick was a gift. Instead, Mikey felt cursed, like he was radioactive.
He spent years being tossed between foster homes, never lasting more than a month. Families didn't take long to realize that being around him was bad for their health.
All Mikey wanted were answers. What was wrong with him? Why was his family attacked on that terrible night? Orphaned and alone, Mikey resigned himself to never finding the truth or a place to belong.
Until the day a kind-hearted mailman named Arthur offered to adopt him. Amazingly, Arthur seemed immune to Mikey's 'gift.' But his new foster father has a secret...
The plotting holds close to established tropes but executes them well; voracious young readers hungry for chosen ones and mystic academies will feel instantly at home. The idea of magical energy as going through meridians in the body is an original take that works. The core group of friends are all built with distinctive and relatable personalities and roles, and the main peer antagonist is so unsubtle in his non-acceptance of Mikey that readers will relish disliking him.
The storytelling is brisk and assured, as Night takes full advantage of the school setting to introduce the complexities of this world, including inventive lore, terminology, and powersets. The dangers feel real, but Night also exhibits a sure hand for teen thinking and the natural comedy of growing up supernatural. “Being the seventeen-year-old daughter of an 8,000-year-old vampire in the modern world wasn't easy,” he writes, of teen genius Viki, a complex and engaging creation who serves both as romantic antagonist and spying bridge between Mikey and the adult vampires interested in him. The penultimate battle, in which the group dynamic and the teens’ sharp dialogue shines, is a highlight, whetting appetites for more.
Takeaway: Friendships and monster battling power this YA supernatural school adventure.
Comparable Titles: Caleb Roehrig’s The Fell of Dark, Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A