cover image Bumps in the Night

Bumps in the Night

Amalie Howard. Delacorte, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-64587-1

A rebellious aspiring artist and incoming eighth grader delves into her family’s history—and learns that monsters and magic are real—in this electrifying adventure by Howard. After being written up for vandalism “again” and kicked off the soccer team, brown-skinned Darika “Rika” Lovelace-Rose’s frustrated father confiscates all her electronic devices and sends her from Colorado to Trinidad to spend the summer with her maternal grandmother. Upon arrival, Rika meets handyman Becks, who escorts her and Granny to the family estate. Becks warns Rika of the erratic weather the island has been experiencing and implores her to stay away from the nearby woods, claiming that the devil resides there. Though Rika doesn’t believe in magic or monsters, she can’t shake the feeling that her absent mother might be closer than she thinks. After Rika unearths a grimoire with her own name on it, she discovers that she comes from a long line of witches, prompting her to team up with new friends to search for her mother and uncover the truth behind the devil in the woods. Rika’s determination to embrace her newfound magical abilities and save her family and maternal country land are admirably depicted. Combined with fantastical, climate-conscious scenarios and vivacious and illuminating Black Indo-Trinidadian diaspora folklore that springs from the pages, this beguiling read—led by an intrepid heroine—is one to savor. Ages 8–12. (Feb.)