cover image The Lightning Queen

The Lightning Queen

Laura Resau. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-545-80084-6

Resau’s (the Indigo Notebook series) story of the adventures and growing friendship between a sensitive Mixteco boy and a daring Romani girl is set amid the harsh discrimination and struggles both their peoples faced in Mexico due to cultural, racial, and language barriers. Esma, an enigmatic and enthusiastic Romani girl who calls herself the Queen of Lightning, shows up when Teo needs her most—he’s grieving the death of his sister. “Somehow, the Queen of Lightning put the spark of life back inside you,” Teo’s grandfather marvels, and Teo throws himself into fulfilling a prophecy that predicts he and Esma will be lifelong friends and one day save each other. Told using a Princess Bride–style framing device, with an adult Teo sharing a magical story with his grandson, the narrative is interrupted by their occasional comments, reminding readers of the storyteller and listener. As the lives of Esma and Teo catch up to the present, readers will appreciate how this story comes full circle, and many may find themselves wiping away tears. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Oct.)