cover image The Vanquishers

The Vanquishers

Kalynn Bayron. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0977-2

Bayron (This Poison Heart) makes her middle grade debut with an inventive suburban vampire mystery. Twenty years after the Reaping saw an end to the undead’s last hive at the hands of the heroic Vanquishers, San Antonio prepares for an anniversary celebration, Vanquisher Appreciation Week. Though most residents believe that the world is now vampire-free, the families of irreverent brown-skinned sixth graders Cedrick, Jules, and Boog—together known as the Squad—aren’t so sure, and they continue to maintain the old ways. They never go outdoors after nightfall, never invite strangers into their homes, and coat every entryway with a homemade garlic-and-silver vampire repellent. Often bullied for their parents’ collective vampire concerns, the Squad yearns for their parents to move on—until new neighbor Aaron goes missing during a school fund-raiser. As their formerly sheltered world closes in and their parents grow more protective and secretive than ever, the Squad sets out to track down their new friend. Combining mythology and science to produce a fresh take on modern vampire lore, Bayron erects a fantastical San Antonio that is as chock-full of personality as each of the story’s characters. Pithy dialogue and sensational description make this a speedy, eerie read. Ages 8–11. Agent: Jamie Vankirk, Rainbow Nerds Literary. (Sept.)