LIA PARK AND THE MISSING JEWEL, by Jenna Yoon, Aladdin, May 3, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
A girl finds herself at the center of a magical war in Jenna Yoon’s debut middle-grade fantasy, Lia Park and the Missing Jewel.
Twelve-year old Lia Park just wants to fit in. Her parents work with a mysterious organization that makes them ridiculously overprotective. Lia’s every move has been scrutinized since she was born, and she’d love to have the option of doing something exciting for once. So, when she gets invited to the biggest birthday party of the year — and her parents say she can’t go — Lia sneaks out.
But her first act of rebellion not only breaks her parents’ rules, but also an ancient protection spell, allowing an evil diviner spirit to kidnap and ransom her parents for a powerful jewel that her family has guarded for years. With just the clothes on her back and some very rusty magical skills, Lia finds herself chasing mysterious clues that take her to her grandmother’s home in Korea.
From there, she has to make their way to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King, the only person who knows where the powerful jewel might be. Along with her friend, Joon, Lia must dig deep and find courage to stand up for those who are weak — and become the hero her parents need. —Synopsis provided by Aladdin
Readers looking for a fast-paced fantasy; look no further than Lia Park and the Missing Jewel. The book begins in and jumps through the “real world,” giving readers a starting place from which they can explore magical elements. It’s from this place that the author Jenna Yoon’s world unfolds.
And that world unfolds through Lia Park’s eyes. Lia not only knows about magic, she’s actively learning about it, too. But her skills have been a mystery until now. Readers are right by her side as Lia discovers what she’s capable of.
Yoon’s writing is clear and accessible. She expertly weaves Korean words and culture throughout, making her novel all the more interesting. Lia Park and the Missing Jewel is the first book in a planned series that should appeal to fans of both the Aru Sha and Fablehaven series.
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