My eight year old is getting to the point where she is right on the verge of being ready for middle grade books, which means that she is wanting to pick out ARCs alongside me. Thankfully, our friends over at Linden Tree Books are the sweetest so let’s discuss Angie Thomas (of The Hate U Give fame) and her middle grade debut, Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy.
Nic Blake is a Remarkable living in an Unremarkable world. It’s never been a problem, though they do move around a lot to avoid the Unremarkables from finding out too much about them. On her twelfth birthday, some surprise revelations lead to Nic having to go on the run with two friends and hunting down a magical object to clear her father’s name for a crime that she just can’t believe he would have committed.
This book was a joy from start to finish! It reminded me of a time in my younger years where I would stay up late with a flashlight under the covers reading because I needed to know what happened next. I found myself repeatedly on the edge of my seat, wondering again and again how the characters were going to move forward.
As a contemporary fantasy, the story is set in a world much like our own, but with sprinkles of magic throughout. In addition to the familiar locales that our heroes travel to, we are also treated to some history lessons, both based in reality and seen through the lens of a world filled with magic. (Perfect for the grade schoolers who might be learning about these things in school!)
The characters were well fleshed out and were all grounded in reality. I was able to find something to relate to in each of our heroes, as an adult as well as thinking back to my younger years. The stakes were high and even though I was worried about the kids, I also felt that I knew them well enough to know they were smart enough to make it out of whatever scrape they got into. (But my anxious parent brain also was sometimes overwhelmed with how worried I was for them.)
Angie does not shy away from hard topics and that is no different in this story, despite the younger audience. She was able to broach issues of racism in the story in a way that wouldn’t feel too heavy for young readers. Events of the past few years were also woven into the story, reminding us that we need to continue standing up and fighting for a better world, one where our young Black kids (and kids from other marginalized groups) aren’t afraid to just LIVE.
Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas is the first in an anticipated trilogy and, though it is written for a middle grade audience, this elder millennial is anxiously awaiting the next installment to find out what happens! Pick up your copy of this exciting new adventure now via my Bookshop affiliate link or from my local indie, Linden Tree Books (who graciously allowed my daughter to grab this ARC off their shelves).
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well! Or support a local indie directly by ordering from my local indie, Linden Tree Books, also linked above!