Shakti is used to being the new girl at school. She and her two moms have moved more times than she can count. With her unborn baby brother on the way, Shakti hopes her family has found their forever home in Amherst, Massachusetts, and that she can finally make friends.
On her first day of seventh grade, she meets Xi and they bond over their shared passion for manga (and pizza with mayo). But the three meanest girls in school—Harini, Emily, and Kelly (aka “HEK”)—are determined to make life miserable for Shakti and her new friends.
When Shakti and Xi discover HEK casting spells in the woods, they fear what might happen to the other kids at school. Drawing on ancient Indian magic, Shakti seeks the aid of Durga Ma to stop HEK. But instead, Shakti accidentally conjures Kali Ma, the destroyer—Durga Ma’s dangerous twin. Kali Ma punishes HEK by transforming them into monsters and curses the entire town. As more and more people begin to fall ill, including Shakti’s mom, will Shakti be able to harness her own strength, power, and empathy to save those she loves—and put an end to all the hate?
Notes on This Title
The main character of this title is of South Asian descent and has two moms,one of whom is connected to the Hindu goddess Durga. A major supporting character is a queer female East Asian middle schooler.
Starred Review: “Fiercely courageous characters and a gripping narrative further elevate this exhilarating fantastical adventure.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)
“Readers will have to suspend disbelief over wild violets and fiddleheads in the New England autumn, but Sindu’s protagonist lives up to the meaning of her name, “energy of the universe,” as she learns lessons about anger, balance, courage, and compassion.” (Source: Kirkus Reviews)
Diverse Book Finder: ““I’ve always been an outsider…” – An Author Interview with SJ Sindu”
Geeks OUT: “Interview with Author SJ Sindu“