Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.
So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.
Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.
Amari joins a secret, magical school to search for her missing brother. She is a brave and loyal girl who happens to have a dangerous and forbidden ability. While trying to navigate a school where half of the people seem to want her to fail, Amari hunts for clues to what happened to her brother.
This is the first in a middle grade fantasy series. With vibrant and engaging characters and a complex, captivating story – I was hooked from the start. The school and magical world are fun and memorable. The plot is full of suspense, drama, and intrigue. There are several surprises along the way. This is a clever debut that left me excited for the next in this new series.