cover image The Not-So-Chosen One (Spellbinders #1)

The Not-So-Chosen One (Spellbinders #1)

Andrew Auseon, illus. by Lisa Weber. Labyrinth Road, $14.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-593-48271-1

An RPG-playing seventh grader is whisked away to a land of real magic in this memorable tale by Auseon (Freak Magnet). While attending a gaming convention, Niara—a cool, purple-haired teen—approaches tween Ben Whitlock to take on the role of the Chosen One in what Ben assumes is an elaborate live-action role-playing game. Eager to play along, Ben believes her claim that it’s his destiny to save Lux, her fantastical home world, until following Niara through a magical portal transports them to the real-life land of Lux. Though Ben feels he’s not the actual Chosen One Niara was looking for, he’ll happily pretend if it means he can be the hero of a grand adventure. And in Lux, he realizes that he has magical powers of his own, uncovering new possibilities. Through subversions of familiar fantasy tropes and a thoroughly engaging plot, Auseon conjures an idiosyncratic realm replete with endearing characters, madcap humor, and hijinks-filled adventure. Sketch-like b&w illustrations by Weber (the Museum Mysteries series) depict NPC-style character profiles reminiscent of D&D campaigns. Ben and Niara read as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Erica Bauman and Jennifer Gates, Aevitas Creative Management. (June)