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J. A Howard
The Third Coin
J.A. Howard, author

Children/Young Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Brilliant Bea Brightman has popularity down to a science. After attending eight schools in as many years, she’s a master at making friends. That is until her father, a world-renowned archaeologist, moves them to New York City to pursue an ever-elusive coin. There, she meets the decidedly unpopular Nisha Lakewood who may hold the key to finding it - only Nisha wants nothing to do with her. Nisha Lakewood doesn’t fit in anywhere. The kids at school say she’s a witch able to make children fly. Yet at home, her fortunetelling Aunt finds her disappointingly normal. However, as Nisha approaches her thirteenth birthday, things begin to change. The magic she never believed she had is suddenly showing up when she least expects it, and the nosy new girl, Bea Brightman, is on to her secret. As different as the two girls are, they soon find they share a mysterious connection. And when Bea and Indy, a good-natured boy from the neighborhood, decide to pay Nisha’s Aunt a visit, the three are set on an adventure that includes a mysterious prophecy, an unbreakable oath and one amazing coin.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10


Plot: Howard offers up an expertly woven fantasy adventure that is well structured, moves along at a good pace, and brings together all the plot threads in an appropriate way.

Prose: This is a very well written novel featuring great descriptions, smooth prose, and realistic dialogue.

Originality: Some of the set pieces will be familiar to readers, but the book brings Arthurian legend into modern times in a way that is interesting, effective, and fresh.

Character Development: The characters here are very well crafted, have distinct voices, and will feel real to readers. The relationships between the main characters—as well as their relationships with their peers—are believable and relatable.

Date Submitted: July 20, 2017