cover image A Baker’s Guide to Robber Pie

A Baker’s Guide to Robber Pie

Caitlin Sangster. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-79331-7

Twelve-year-old Evie Baker, whom cover art depicts with light brown skin, is a natural-born storyteller dreaming of real-life adventure beyond her bland-feeling town. Trading in dull school lectures about monstrous creatures for the thrill of finding one, she seeks to catch a Fel—a large, magical crow-like being that would “give you their magic if you made a deal with them”—using one of her family’s famous raspberry tarts as bait. But Evie gets more than she bargained for when a band of elusive thieves and the infamous Robber Lord show up at the same time the Fel does. Through a sort of witness protection program, Evie is whisked away from her parents and best friend to the royal city of Reinstadt. But Evie is determined to find the truth and get back home, and with only presumed-white message runner Max and white-haired, dark-skinned maid Gisa as allies, she must navigate secret identities, deep-rooted prejudices, and hidden villainy. Overstuffed passages sometimes slow this middle grade debut, but Sangster (She Who Rides the Storm) writes in a jaunty, irreverent third-person voice that befits the book’s clever and principled protagonist. Ages 9–12. Agent: Ben Grange, L. Perkins. (Feb.)