A YA novel stars a teenager who can morph into a humanoid dragon.
High school sophomore Koji Owens and his dad have just settled in Yonkers. Koji’s father has retired from flying F-16s for the Air Force, and the teen hopes to make friends he won’t have to move away from. He’ll be attending the prestigious Saint Bernard’s Catholic School. While preparing for his first day, he trips over a small purple package in his bedroom doorway. Without time to open it, Koji pops the mystery gift into his dresser and heads to school. There, he helps the gorgeous Claire Faust as she stumbles from her ride to the curb. Her “dazzling sea-green eyes” enamor him instantly. Later, in chemistry class, Koji befriends Drake Collins, a genius, loner, and potential tutor. Surprisingly, Koji also discovers the package—that he’d secured at home—in his locker. When he gets home after school, the gift tumbles from his backpack. He finally opens it, finding a bracelet adorned with a seashell-like fragment. Once on his wrist, the bracelet gives him a layer of onyx scales, horns, and talons for feet. He also has wings and he attempts to fly over Manhattan to disastrous effect. In this endearing origin story, Conway (Harbinger, 2018, etc.) hits the high notes for YA romance readers and superhero devotees alike. An intriguing mystery kicks into gear, as well, when Koji learns he’s not the only person with a magical bracelet. The enigmatic female dragon Oceana teaches him the rules governing their elemental power. Koji’s chaotic personal life, including his crush on classmate Madeline Ignatius, keeps dramatic pace with dragon battles that level portions of New York. He takes seriously the phrase relating great power to great responsibility, insistent on fighting evil despite Oceana’s warnings to hide. The author keeps her tale fun and nerdy, luring fans toward an epic finale but also creating characters readers would love to see grow throughout a series.
This fantasy delivers a bright tsunami of hormones and heroism.