cover image Haven’s Secret (The Powers #1)

Haven’s Secret (The Powers #1)

Melissa Benoist and Jessica Benoist with Mariko Tamaki. Amulet, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5261-2

Just after their 12th birthday, nonidentical twin sisters Parker and Ellie McFadden are abruptly sent to live with their maternal great-aunt Mabel and great-uncle George, whom they’ve never known, while their father travels overseas for work. Their new home is Haven, an animal sanctuary in Northern California constructed from salvaged goods and riddled with secrets. While struggling to adjust, the twins manifest strange powers—nature-loving, empathic Ellie discovers she can communicate with animals, while athletic realist Parker can generate lightning. The mystery deepens as they learn about their cued-white family’s long-standing role in protecting the environment and battling the Danger, an elemental force created by human greed and planet abuse, which led to their mother’s death five years ago. However, the longer they stay at Haven, the more the duo suspects something is wrong. The combination of ambitious worldbuilding, multiple plot threads, and leisurely pacing leads to a somewhat uneven reading experience; still, the Benoist sisters and Tamaki (I Am Not Starfire) establish an engaging fantasy series starter with a strong ecological message, a setting full of character, and tantalizing hints of a bigger, worldwide scale. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)