Gabe Conway and his three closest friends are accidentally lured into a magical adventure after performing a bonding ritual that seals their fate as friends forever.
Gabe lives with his adoptive uncle, a professor of the occult who keeps a home office full of strange maps, ancient scrolls, and a glowing green book with alluring glyphs. Things get interesting when the kids—Asian-American Kaz, Latino twins Brett and Lily, and white Gabe—decide to “borrow” the Emerald Tablet from Uncle Steve’s office. Their curiosity causes them to slowly find out that their friendship ritual has infused them with elemental powers—which they will sorely need to use to protect themselves against an evil cult, the Eternal Dawn, that is also after the Emerald Tablet. Jolley weaves together a frightening new lore and laces it with modern, kid-appropriate humor as the young crew bands together to ward off evil forces against the backdrop of San Francisco. The neatly plotted dark adventure comes full circle when secrets are revealed that link Uncle Steven to the Eternal Dawn; emotional resonance is added with Brett’s guilt over the drowning of his older brother, which causes him to hide something that may be the deciding factor if the four friends will survive being hunted and captured by the evil cult.
A fast-paced read for middle-graders addicted to modern magical adventures. (Fantasy. 8-12)