A soccer-loving, American-born Nigerian 13-year-old matures into her mystical powers.
A few years after her Igbo parents brought their children to live in Nigeria (Akata Witch, 2011), Sunny Nwazue had learned she belonged to the mystical Leopard People. Now she alternates among regular school; Leopard training with her teacher, Sugar Cream; training with her magical alter ego spirit face; and hiding her secret life from her parents and brothers. Sunny is albino, though her magic has eliminated most disabling effects aside from a need to wear glasses. A superstitious bigot accuses Sunny (who does draw supernatural power from her albinism) of being a witch; as albino Nigerians suffer genuine harm from such accusations, the truth in this attack strikes a discordant note. The magic appears influenced by Igbo religious practices in Sunny’s diverse Nigeria, populated by Muslims and Christians, where Sunny and her African-American and Nigerian friends learn magic and eat in Uzoma’s Chinese Restaurant. Sunny's been having strange nightmares, possibly tied to new environmental disasters. An oracle explains that these dreams are prophetic and sends her and her friends to a magical city populated with spirits who chat on cellphones. Much like their magical world, it’s “simultaneously ancient and modern West African.” It’s a hefty tome for a middle school read, but Sunny’s an inviting character who keeps the pace moving.
A charming adventure stocked with a house-sized spider, an Afro comb gifted by a goddess, and a giant flying rodent—one who loves hip-hop. (Fantasy. 11-14)