While fairy tales might still have application in the modern world, modern gadgets paired with innovative techniques provide terrific tools for fighting evil.
Kristina Mah, a girl of Chinese descent, doesn't relish being the new kid at school, especially when she's also dealing with the emotional fallout of her father's sudden exit from her and her mother's lives. But she's managing OK and has even made a new friend when something happens to make her question whether everything at the school is as it should be. The plot thickens when Kristina and her new friend, fellow gamer Dylan, discover the weird fourth floor and unknowingly release an evil force into the world. When another new student arrives on the scene, her suspicious behavior makes Kristina and Dylan wonder what exactly they've stumbled into—all signs point to a very bizarre intersection between real life and the fairy-tale world. Taking inspiration from the tale of the djinn, Chan offers characters of depth and a plot that's both compelling and accessible in a small number of pages. His short paragraphs and clear sentence structures make the text attractive to struggling readers, while the subject matter will prove interesting to many preteens and early teens. A hint of identity struggle enriches the text while cliffhangers maintain the book's forward momentum.
This series opener stands as a good reminder that today's generation still has a lot to learn from tales of old. (Supernatural adventure. 10-13)