amari and the night brothers – b.b. alston | review

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

Series: Supernatural Investigations #1
Published January 19th 2021 by Balzer + Bray
Age Range: Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery
Rep: Black MC


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Quinton Peters was the golden boy of the Rosewood low-income housing projects, receiving full scholarship offers to two different Ivy League schools. When he mysteriously goes missing, his little sister, 13-year-old Amari Peters, can’t understand why it’s not a bigger deal. Why isn’t his story all over the news? And why do the police automatically assume he was into something illegal? 

Then Amari discovers a ticking briefcase in her brother’s old closet. A briefcase meant for her eyes only. There was far more to Quinton, it seems, than she ever knew. He’s left her a nomination for a summer tryout at the secretive Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is certain the answer to finding out what happened to him lies somewhere inside, if only she can get her head around the idea of mermaids, dwarves, yetis and magicians all being real things, something she has to instantly confront when she is given a weredragon as a roommate. 

Amari must compete against some of the nation’s wealthiest kids—who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives and are able to easily answer questions like which two Great Beasts reside in the Atlantic Ocean and how old is Merlin? Just getting around the Bureau is a lesson alone for Amari with signs like ‘Department of Hidden Places this way, or is it?’ If that all wasn’t enough, every Bureau trainee has a talent enhanced to supernatural levels to help them do their jobs – but Amari is given an illegal ability. As if she needed something else to make her stand out. 

With an evil magican threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.


trigger and content warnings:
  • racism & racist microaggressions, hospita, comas, disappearance & presumed death of a brother (central theme), home invasion (off-page), bullying & cyberbullying, and poverty themes
  • taken from rachel’s goodreads

just six months ago, amari’s older brother, quinton went missing. when amari received a mysterious package with instructions written by him, amari was determined to find out what had happened to him. amari ended up becoming a trainee at the bureau of supernatural affairs’ summer program and finding out that quinton is a big-shot agent in the supernatural realm. having a weredragon of a roommate and friend is a bonus.

each bureau trainee has a talent that will be transformed into a special supernatural ability that will aid them in future jobs. for amari, her ability turns out to be considered illegal because she’s a magician. in this world, magicians are known to be bad and evil; all of them turned to the dark side. with her steadfastness and integrity, amari started proving all the doubters wrong.

i admired amari’s tenacity and courageousness. to remain in a place where there are antagonistic comments from haters requires great persistence and bravery. amari’s drive to uncover her brother’s disappearance pushed her to do better. during her training, she unwaveringly showed people that she wasn’t going to turn evil. she abhors the idea of using foul magic, and despite all the upsetting comments, she never lashed out at them.

the whole bureau is a fascinating setting with elevators that has unique personalities, mythological creatures such as the abominable snowman, zombies, and boogeypeople, and countless mysterious yet to be revealed. since amari’s still undergoing training to be an official agent, most of the plot happened within the bureau itself. though only focused on one area, b.b. alston still created a wondrous, magical, and extremely entertaining book. i was never bored.

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