cover image Between Monsters and Marvels

Between Monsters and Marvels

Alysa Wishingrad. HarperCollins, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-324487-0

Wishingrad (The Verdigris Pawn) tackles themes of exploitation, perception, reality, and trust in this high-stakes tale. Everyone on the island of Barrow’s Bay is convinced that the monsters that once plagued the community were killed off years ago. But when 11-year-old Dare Coates’s father, the Captain of the Guard, is killed, Dare believes it was by monsters, not humans. Not long after, her new stepfather, the island’s manipulative governor, sends her to the mainland City-on-the-Pike to stay with her retired actor aunt. The city proves full of mysteries, and Dare soon discovers that the monsters are still very alive. She finds herself caught between two warring factions: those who wish to kill the monsters and those who want to save them. As she works to puzzle out the truth about her father’s death, she uncovers information that makes her question everything she knows not only about the creatures, but about her father as well. Bouncy prose builds toward an engaging and optimistic exploration of how power and privilege can be wielded for both good and bad, as observed by one take-charge heroine who seeks to define her place in the world. Main characters read as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Sept.)