cover image Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit

Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit

Jesse Q. Sutanto. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-79428-4

Twelve-year-old Theo Tan and his two-tailed shape-shifting fox spirit companion Kai must work together to solve the mystery of his brother’s death in Sutanto’s (The New Girl) Chinese-mythology-rich middle grade debut. In a futuristic San Francisco in which expensive cirth magic, which is bought and stockpiled in pendants, dominates daily life, Theo “hate[s] that I’m a Chinese American kid who lives in Chinatown.” He isn’t like his hardworking, proudly Chinese American older brother Jamie, who’s a cultural outreach intern at Reapling Corp., the U.S.’s largest cirth supplier. After Jamie dies in a car accident, Theo inherits his brother’s acerbic spirit companion, Kai, with whom Theo’s never gotten along. When they uncover Jamie’s coded notebook, which implicates Reapling in his death, the pair reluctantly work together to solve the mystery by infiltrating the company via its prestigious cultural outreach summer program. In Theo and Kai’s alternating perspectives, Sutanto weaves the duo’s shared grief and path to healing with Theo’s journey toward embracing his Chinese heritage in this rewarding fantasy adventure. Ages 8–12. Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (May)