Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Lori M. Lee's middle grade debut about a lonely Hmong girl who discovers she's a powerful shaman warrior in this fantasy inspired by Southeast Asian mythology.
"I love the adventures Pahua has in this book. I also love the sense of humor, the clever plotting, and the fantastic cast of characters. But most of all I love Pahua: her courage, her kindness, and her love for family."--Rick Riordan
Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.
One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood--whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can't be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt's old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother's return. Instead, she summons a demon.
Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother's soul before it's too late. Little does she know she'll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .
With its unforgettable characters, unique nature-based magic system, breathtaking twists and reveals, and climactic boss battle, this story based on Hmong oral tradition offers everything a fantasy lover could want.
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Inspired by Southeast Asian mythology, this lively middle grade debut follows reserved, empathic Hmong 11-year-old Pahua Moua, who hides her ability to see spirits. Worried about standing out even more in her predominantly white Wisconsin town, Pahua also fears that revealing her abilities will lead to losing her only friend: a talking cat spirit named Miv. When Pahua accidentally unleashes a malevolent bridge spirit that threatens her younger brother's life, she teams up with strong-willed Zhong, a young Hmong shaman warrior sent by the elders, to seek the lightning ax a "celestial weapon of the gods" once wielded by "the first and greatest shaman" in the spirit realm. Lee (Forest of Souls) adroitly develops the friendship between Pahua and Zhong as they bond over their insecurities and complicated familial relationships. Humorous dialogue ("His second cousin is married to Huab Tais Zaj's nephew's cousin on his mom's side") from the demons and spirits brings a much-needed levity to each challenge that the two girls face. Featuring Hmong representation and action-packed adventure, this high-spirited, emotionally resonant series starter will satisfy any fan of the imprint. Back matter includes a glossary and an author's note. Ages 8 12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Agency.