Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Graci Kim's thrilling debut about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on a perilous journey to save her witch clan family.
Riley Oh can't wait to see her sister get initiated into the Gom clan, a powerful lineage of Korean healing witches their family has belonged to for generations. Her sister, Hattie, will earn her Gi bracelet and finally be able to cast spells without adult supervision. Although Riley is desperate to follow in her sister's footsteps when she herself turns thirteen, she's a saram--a person without magic. Riley was adopted, and despite having memorized every healing spell she's ever heard, she often feels like the odd one out in her family and the gifted community. Then Hattie gets an idea: what if the two of them could cast a spell that would allow Riley to share Hattie's magic? Their sleuthing reveals a promising incantation in the family's old spell book, and the sisters decide to perform it at Hattie's initiation ceremony. If it works, no one will ever treat Riley as an outsider again. It's a perfect plan! Until it isn't. When the sisters attempt to violate the laws of the Godrealm, Hattie's life ends up hanging in the balance, and to save her Riley has to fulfill an impossible task: find the last fallen star. But what even is the star, and how can she find it?
As Riley embarks on her search, she finds herself meeting fantastic creatures and collaborating with her worst enemies. And when she uncovers secrets that challenge everything she has been taught to believe, Riley must decide what it means to be a witch, what it means to be family, and what it really means to belong.
Korean American adoptee Riley Oh, 12 and selfless, is the only saram--"normal, non-gifted person without a lick of magic"--in her family, who are healers and part of the Gom clan. When Riley's denied the opportunity to take part in a magical initiation ceremony, she, along with her headstrong 12-year-old sister Hattie, also Korean American, protest, conjuring a spell that will split Hattie's magic with Riley. Their decision sets off a series of events that reveal Riley's biological parentage and threaten the whole community. And when Hattie's life hangs in the balance, Riley must find the last fallen star to bring her back. Riley and her biracial best friend, Emmett, a sardonic saram of Korean descent, encounter a slew of Korean mythological characters, including an inmyeonjo, a dokkaebi, and gwisin. As Riley and Emmett travel around L.A.'s Koreatown, readers familiar with Korean culture will appreciate references to staples such as H-Mart and noraebangs. Though overly detailed explanations of magic bog down this otherwise fast-paced adventure, unique clan identities are cleverly imagined, and Riley's emotional arc and journey to self-acceptance shine through. Ages 8-12. Agent: Carrie Pestritto, Laura Dail Literary. (May)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 4-8--This latest installment of "Rick Riordan Presents" features Korean-inspired mythology filled with goddesses, witch clans, ghosts, and fantastical creatures. Despite her family's attempts at inclusion, 12-year-old Riley Oh has always felt invisible, like an outsider. They are Gom, one of six secret clans of gifted witches. Riley's adopted and doesn't possess the magical healing powers they all do. Driven by her need to belong, she hatches a plan with her sister Hattie to cast a spell that would share Hattie's magic with Riley. When the spell backfires, Riley must step up to save Hattie and confront the truth of her heritage. During her quest, Riley learns to challenge her biases and that every story contains more than one perspective. The most important lesson, though, is one of self-acceptance as she finds strength and belonging with those who love her. While most tweens aren't tasked with impossible missions to save the world, many can relate to Riley's feelings of insecurity and need for validation. She is a heroine whose flaws make her relatable in this highly imaginative and original story. Many Korean terms and authentic cultural references enrich the action-packed plot, including crave-inducing food descriptions. VERDICT Full of humor and thrills, this bewitching fantasy blends Korean mythology into an empowering adventure.--Sophie Kenney, Aurora P.L., ILCopyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.