Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found

Putnam. Feb. 2021. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525516866.
Gr 5-7–Twelve-year-old Black boy Kingston James realizes he is reckoning with the spirits of his shattered family’s former life when he spies the word magik scribbled underneath a stop sign. He and his mom are venturing back to Echo City, Brooklyn, after a four-year hiatus. Their escape from the family home coincided with the shocking and untimely disappearance of Kingston’s dad, who was a well-known magician. One night, his dad entered a magic mirror while on stage at the Mercury Theater, never to be seen again. Now that they’re back, it isn’t long before Kingston finds himself up to his eyeballs in the mystery of his dad’s disappearance. He brings along trusty sidekicks: his cousin Veronica and friend Too Tall. Intricately crafted twists at every turn keep the determined crew on their toes. The action is well paced, giving readers time to savor the myriad colorful characters who interact with the clue chasers. The rekindled friendship among Kingston, Veronica, and Too Tall is authentic, even when they make some missteps on the path to solving the crime. Readers will want to continue learning about Kingston and his friends in future installments.
VERDICT An enjoyable addition to most middle school mystery collections. Come along for the ride (if you dare) as these determined sleuths discover portals, meet false realm characters, and puzzle over long-hidden clues on the path to finding the truth behind a gifted magician’s untimely disappearance.

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