Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016
Agent: Thao Le
"I thought you might sleep through it." The creature smiled.
Saki's voice was little more than a whisper. "Sleep through what?"
It leaned over. She stared into its will-o'-the-wisp eyes.
"The Night Parade, of course."
The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother's village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take interest in Saki and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family's ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.
But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked...and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth-or say goodbye to the world of the living forever...
"A young teen learns to appreciate tradition and think more of others than herself after some unsettling interactions with magical beings. Nascent mean girl (or at least uncaring follower) Saki would much rather hang out with herfor lack of a better term "friends" in Tokyo than accompany her parents and younger brother to her grandmother's tiny mountain village during summer vacation, but she has no choice. Almost immediately, she falls in with the wrong crowd, who goad her into a disrespectful act at her family's ancestral shrine, which, combined with lazy, uncaring preparations for the Obon ceremony, gets her in deep trouble with the spirits. Now Saki has three nights to undo the death curse she's brought down on her family. Her guides in the Night Parade include an untrustworthy four-tailed fox, a feathered tengu (a heavenly doglike creature), and a mischievous tanuki (a subspecies of raccoon dog) in the shape of a furry teapot. Saki has adventures of all sortsfunny, scary, dangerous, disgustingand ultimately prevails, though not without whining, backsliding, giving up, and then starting over again and again. She is smug, sarcastic, and basically unlikable at the start but in the end is potentially nicer and more respectful, both of herself and others. VERDICT: An entertaining mix of Japanese folklore and teen angst, suitable for larger collections."
—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library Review
"Wonder and imagination abound in Tanquary's debut, a fantasy set in a contemporary Japanese mountain village; filled with respect and admiration for cultural tradition, it evokes both Grimm's fairy tales and Miyazaki's films...Vivid details and realistic situations ensure accessibility, and subtle teaching moments are wrapped in wide-eyed enchantment. "
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
"[A] marvelous original debut novel, inspired by Japanese mythology and spookily reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's terrifying Coraline."
—The Buffalo News
"A suspenseful middle-grade fantasy debut evocative of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and classic films like Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away...This dark adventure serves as a terrific introduction to Japanese legends, with the weird and wondrous on full display. "
"An entertaining mix of Japanese folklore and teen angst"
—School Library Journal
"This adventurous story perfectly mixes Saki's tech-savvy tendencies with ancient Japanese customs, nicely illustrating the connections between the past and the present."
"Tanquary excels at creating a world where both Japanese beliefs and cosmic mythology are real and co-exist."
"This has significant shades of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, and it will appeal especially to readers with an interest in adventure stories and Japanese folklore."