Moses and Gangi’s Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found (2021)

With so many amazing nominations for the Cybils Awards’ Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction category, some of our favorite books are bound to be left off the shortlist. Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi’s Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is that book for me. I fell in love with the characters and the plot. Set in Brooklyn, this story follows three young African American not-quite-teens as they weave their way through the city’s magical past and present.

At the start of the text, Kingston and his mom move back to Brooklyn, a city they left when his father disappeared during a magic show a few years earlier. Kingston and his mom prepare to take up residence with his uncles and cousin, Veronica, who features prominently in the text. The family brownstone, which houses a failing magic shop, is about to foreclosed and Kingston’s mom hopes to bring in much needed funds by converting the magic shop into a bustling café.

Early in the text, Veronica and Kingston run into Too Tall Eddie, one of Kingston’s childhood friends, at a local pizzeria. The three quickly partner up as the text’s action heats up! The action pivots around parallel worlds seeping into each other and the stakes are high. Kingston hopes to reunite with his father, but the adventure puts him and his friends into danger.

Kingston and the Magician’s Lost and Found is a fast-paced read that even reluctant readers will enjoy. The plot itself is fantastic, emotions are brilliantly rendered, relationships feel real, and the magical element is strong and detailed without being overwhelming or hard to follow. I loved the discussion of Black magicians and the urban landscape the characters explore.

I’m really surprised more people aren’t raving about this book. It’s definitely one that readers who love middle-grade novels about magic, portals, and strong friendships will enjoy!

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Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction

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