Aladdin. (Fearless: Bk. 1). Apr. 2021. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534468955.
Gr 3-7–Monica Garcia, an aspiring middle school performer, has just arrived in New York City with her abuelita after receiving a thrilling invitation to be the second understudy of one of the lead roles in “Our Time,” a Broadway musical seemingly based on The Goonies. However, as soon as she shows up at the Ethel Merman theater, Monica quickly learns that she will be stepping immediately into a lead role! A series of accidents, possibly precipitated by a terrible curse, has befallen the show and its stars. Now, Monica and her castmates have less than a month before opening night. As Monica, who is of Mexican descent, investigates the origins of the curse, she and her castmates, including April and Relly, who are white, and Hudson, who is Indian American, become a family and ultimately join together to persevere. Gonzalez, herself a Broadway star, includes lots of detail about obscure theater know-how which occasionally bogs down the narrative but will be appealing to Broadway fans and aspiring actors. Although the second half of this sweet Broadway story gathers steam, the beginning struggles to build sufficient tension to make the mystery truly compelling.
VERDICT A low-stakes mystery that is recommended for fans of Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead’s “Jack & Louisa” or Tim Federle’s “Nate” series.

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