Now, Conjurers

Union Square & Co. Jun. 2024. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781454951599.
Gr 10 Up–The unthinkable has happened to Nesbit North Nuñez: the love of his life is dead. Football star and all-around nice guy Bastion Attia is discovered in the woods, half-eaten. Along with Nesbit, he is survived by his no-nonsense sister Dove, and their close friends Drea and Brandy. What everyone doesn’t know is that Nesbit and his friends practice real magic with real-world effects. With the sudden and confusing loss of Bastion, Nesbit realizes that the source of their power might be not just otherworldly but potentially nefarious. By night, Nesbit dreams of a creepy carnival fairground advertising a mysterious “Mr. Nous” who grants attendees’ “fares” for “fancies.” Nesbit soon realizes that his evil dreams have bled into reality. Can he stop the dastardly and dangerous Mr. Nous—a terrifying, red gloved creature with too many teeth to count and a voice that can cause nosebleeds—before it’s too late? Kölsch debuts with a supernatural thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Nesbit is a protagonist they will genuinely root for, and each character in his coven is given a full, well-rounded personality with their own motivations and failings. The book is paced well with a lot of forward momentum leading to a climactic showdown in the nightmare dreamscape of the carnival world. Family relationships are highlighted throughout, including Nesbit’s bond with his brother in addiction recovery. While perhaps not for the faint of heart, this novel succeeds in weaving an original tale of teens facing down insurmountable odds to fight evil and avenge their fallen friend.
VERDICT A first purchase for YA collections.

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