Coriander Jones Saves the World (Volume 1) by Kim English
Thirteen-year-old Coriander is headed to camp again this summer – but this year may very well be her last. Raised in a lower income neighborhood in Florida, Coriander has lots of things on her mind – annoying younger siblings, her friend Sam’s increasingly bizarre behavior, figuring out her archenemy Olivia’s next devious scheme – and none of them include a supernatural plot to end humankind once and for all. But that is exactly the sort of situation Coriander and her friends find themselves thrown into when a tranquil bus ride becomes a battle royale. The kids are awakened to the looming threat posed by “the Old Ones,” a group of ancient deities that seeks to return to our world and make humans pay for forgetting about them. The only obstacle standing in their way is a mystical barrier known as “the sieve” that serves as a deterrent against rogue spiritual beings. Whether or not she believes in them, the Old Ones threaten to end not just Coriander’s quiet life, but the lives of everyone she loves around her. In order to stop them, she’ll need to harness her newfound ability to communicate with otherworldly beings and call a truce with an old enemy. If Coriander wants a relaxing summer vacation, she’ll have to deal with a few things first.
Young readers will go wild over this new middle-grade fiction series. Though Coriander Jones deals with similar themes and characters as other series like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, English has managed to create a singularly entertaining cast of heroes and foes. Coriander is perhaps the pluckiest heroine to grace middle-grade fiction since Lucy and Susan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The book also handles, with particular aplomb, the situation of lower income families across the country, which can be difficult for parents to discuss with their children, but the understanding and empathy of which is vital to the proper growth of our youth into responsible, kind-hearted adults. Overall, this proves to be the start to a promising new series.
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