cover image Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five #1)

Map of Flames (The Forgotten Five #1)

Lisa McMann. Putnam, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-32540-7

A decade and a half after their supernatural criminal parents stole a fortune, five children raised on a tropical island enter the mainstream world and contend with their parents’ complicated legacy. When her father—the only adult who hasn’t vanished during runs to Estero over the last several years—dies, 13-year-old Birdie Golden, who can communicate with animals, is determined to follow his last request: find her mother and pass on a map to a fabled treasure stash, which he’d moved without telling the other adults. Birdie returns to Estero City, accompanied by younger brother Brix, whose super-resilience allows for rapid healing (the siblings are white); brown-skinned Tenner Cordoba, who possesses superhuman senses; Seven Palacio, whose camouflage powers result in changing skin tone; and white Cabot Stone, whose powers have yet to manifest. But the crew’s special abilities and unfamiliarity with modern life make it difficult to function—let alone track down their missing parents—in a world where being supernatural is a crime. Though the worldbuilding feels ungrounded in McMann’s (the Unwanteds series) cohort adventure, an alternating third-person perspective deftly depicts the five friends struggling to remain together as they navigate contemporary technologies, all the while employing their superpowers to survive in a dangerous new environment. Ages 8–12. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Feb).