Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky —an instant New York Times and #1 Indie Bestseller!
"The Marvellers deserves the highest compliment I can give a book: I want to live in this world." —Rick Riordan, #1 New York Times bestselling–author
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds where Marvellers from around the world practice their cultural arts, like brewing Indian spice elixirs and bartering with pesky Irish pixies.
Despite her excitement, Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy—some Marvellers mistrust her magic, which they deem “bad and unnatural.” But eventually, she finds friends in elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur, and fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures.
When a dangerous criminal known as the Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, tensions grow in the Marvellian world and Ella becomes the target of suspicion. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.
"A marvelous gift of a novel! With fantastical twists at every turn, Clayton has created a world that readers won't want to leave.” —Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Hate U Give and Concrete Rose
In Clayton's (The Rumor Game) atmospherically told middle grade debut, Ella Durand, a Black 11-year-old from New Orleans, is the first Conjuror to enroll at the elite Arcanum Training Institute for Marvelous and Uncanny Endeavors. Marvellers, who live in the sky and are "born with marvels, light inside them that allowed them to perform magical feats," have long considered their powers superior to those of Conjurors, keepers of the Underworld "born with a deep twilight inside them." Though Ella faces many hurdles as the Academy's first Conjuror trainee, she is determined to succeed and make her family her politician father and Conjurer mother and grandmother proud. After she boards a sky-ferry and dons her white Marvellian mantle, though, an already difficult cultural adjustment becomes even more troublesome when a notorious Marvellian criminal breaks free from an Underworld prison. As bullying and microaggressions from students and faculty worsen, and a beloved teacher goes missing, Ella and friends Brigit and Jason seek to clear Ella's reputation and the reputations of Conjure folk everywhere. Clayton imaginatively combines myriad global cultural traditions with an intersectionally inclusive, fantastical adventure that examines themes of acceptance, prejudice, and familial responsibility. Ages 8 12. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary, in association with Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency.