Maya and the Rising Dark
Maya and the Rising Dark

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Series: Maya and the Rising Dark Vol. 1   

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Annotation: In this contemporary fantasy, Maya's search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world.
Catalog Number: #215096
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 298 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-328-63518-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7968-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-328-63518-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7968-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019020312
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Twelve-year-old Maya loves her papa and the wild stories he tells about orisha gods and mystical West African creatures he "encounters" while away at work. But after a series of strange occurrences, including a brief freeze in time and space, and an attack by a pack of werehyenas from the Dark (think Stranger Things' Upside Down), Papa reveals to Maya that there's more to these old folktales than meets the eye. Though to Maya he is "Papa," her father is also a celestial being called Elleguá e Guardian of the Veil (between Maya's world and the Dark). The veil that he's created and maintains has killed beings from the Dark, making Elleguá the target for the Lord of the Shadows' revenge. Together, Maya and her best friends Frankie and Eli journey through the Dark in their effort to save her papa d Earth as they know it. This opening installment of what will be a much-anticipated series is fast-paced and adventurous, offering a fresh blend of culture, community, and folklore rooted broadly in the African diaspora.
Kirkus Reviews
Maya knows her father’s stories aren’t real—are they?Maya, a comic-book–loving, anemic 12-year-old black girl, is suffering through situational math when she experiences a sudden, time-stopped moment when “the color bled from the world like someone was sucking it away through a straw.” That is not the only strange incident: Maya has an all-too-real dream of a man with skin “the color of the moon” and “pale violet eyes” who has the same color-sucking ability; her structural engineer papa literally disappears in front of her; and when she and her friends Frankie and Eli find themselves fighting shape-shifting darkbringers, Frankie discovers her own light-shooting skills. What Maya, Frankie, Eli, and readers find out from Maya’s mother is that Papa’s real identity is Elegguá, the most powerful of the West African orishas, guardian of the veil between this world and those of the darkbringers and other forces. Not only that, but Frankie’s newly found gift came from her late mother, who is also an orisha, and Eli is part orisha, too. The astonishing series of subsequent revelations leaves readers agog, eager to know how Maya and her pals will use their powers to heal the veil and save their mostly black and brown neighborhood. In her author’s note, Barron describes how this book has risen from her explorations of the traditions of her West African ancestors.A truly #BlackGirlMagic, cloudy-day, curl-up kind of book. (Fantasy. 10-12)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 57 Twelve-year-old Maya is daydreaming about summer break when time pauses and the color begins to bleed from the world. Her two friends, science-obsessed Frankie and occult-obsessed Eli, try to offer an explanation (science and ghosts, respectively) but when creatures from African folklore come to life in their South Side Chicago neighborhood and Maya's father goes missing, the community elders finally reveal the truth: The three tweens are godlings of the Orisha, and Maya's father is the Guardian of the Veil between worlds. With the help of her friends, Maya is determined to find her father and restore order to both worlds. Though Maya is the protagonist of this work, her community is the heart of the story and is celebrated in rich detail. Maya is fierce, observant, and unashamed of her love of comicsmuch like Frankie and Eli, who are similarly unapologetic of their interests. Their community is vibrant, close-knit, and diverse; neighbors spend time outside, know each other, and look out for one other. The vivid world-building, quick pace, high stakes, and steady stream of legendary African creatures keep readers engaged and invested in the tweens' predicament. VERDICT Mixing in hard choices, believable emotions, tough lessons, and mistakes made with the best of intentions, Barron has created a must-read tale. For fans of "Percy Jackson" who are yearning for a new pantheon, but not quite ready for Tomi Adeyemi's Children of Blood and Bone . Maggie Mason Smith, Clemson University, SC
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Maya knows her father’s stories aren’t real—are they?Maya, a comic-book–loving, anemic 12-year-old black girl, is suffering through situational math when she experiences a sudden, time-stopped moment when “the color bled from the world like someone was sucking it away through a straw.” That is not the only strange incident: Maya has an all-too-real dream of a man with skin “the color of the moon” and “pale violet eyes” who has the same color-sucking ability; her structural engineer papa literally disappears in front of her; and when she and her friends Frankie and Eli find themselves fighting shape-shifting darkbringers, Frankie discovers her own light-shooting skills. What Maya, Frankie, Eli, and readers find out from Maya’s mother is that Papa’s real identity is Elegguá, the most powerful of the West African orishas, guardian of the veil between this world and those of the darkbringers and other forces. Not only that, but Frankie’s newly found gift came from her late mother, who is also an orisha, and Eli is part orisha, too. The astonishing series of subsequent revelations leaves readers agog, eager to know how Maya and her pals will use their powers to heal the veil and save their mostly black and brown neighborhood. In her author’s note, Barron describes how this book has risen from her explorations of the traditions of her West African ancestors.A truly #BlackGirlMagic, cloudy-day, curl-up kind of book. (Fantasy. 10-12)
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:16.0 / quiz:Q77681
Lexile: 720L

ONE

The day color bled from the world

T-minus five days.
      Five long and torturous days until school was out for the summer. Not a moment too soon either. My math teacher, Ms. Vanderbilt, kept me in after-school tutoring the whole year. She said I was gifted, but to be honest, I had no clue what she was talking about half the time. My brain felt as lumpy as the vanilla pudding they served in the cafeteria on Mondays.
      "Practice makes perfect, Maya," Ms. Vanderbilt chimed at her desk. "Get to work."
      "Yes, ma'am," I mumbled back as I stared at the chalkboard.
      Only the top of her red 'fro poked out from behind the tower of papers. If she didn't give so many quizzes, she wouldn't have a stack of tests to grade that stretched from Chicago to LA.
      Today she had me working on situational math, and my head hurt just thinking about all the steps needed to solve the problem. She had written a recipe for candy apples and the price of the ingredients. Apples, Popsicle sticks, sugar, food coloring, corn syrup. I had to figure out how much it would cost to make fifty candy apples. This wasn't really rocket science, but math took time and focus, both of which I was short on.
      Ms. Vanderbilt got worked up about fractions and decimals the way my friend Frankie got excited about science projects. Now, Frankie, she was a genius. She had the grades and IQ to prove it. But to me, math was about as interesting as watching paint dry, which was actually a thing I had to do for art class once.
      I glanced over my shoulder at the clock on the wall.
      Fifteen more minutes, then goodbye, school--hello, weekend.
      Papa was due back from his work trip. I bit my lip, wondering what he'd bring me this time. My favorite gift was the red-and-gold sash he swore belonged to the great orisha Oya from my favorite comic book.
      Oya wasn't real. So, of course, the sash wasn't really hers. Still, it was pretty, and I wore it to school for a week straight.
      I dragged the chalk across the board, taking my sweet time. No way was I squeezing in another math problem before four o'clock. As long as Ms. Vanderbilt heard the sound of writing, she would keep her attention on grading papers and not on me.
      As I worked out the cost of one candy apple, a shadow fell outside the window. I was trying to concentrate, but something edged at the back of my mind. It was the same feeling I had in gym class the other day when we were stretching on our mats after track. I spotted something wrong with the ceiling--like it was splitting open. But when I blinked, it was gone.
      My gaze slid to the window, and my eyes slipped out of focus. My vision faded in and out. The world pulsed like a heartbeat, getting bigger, then smaller, then bigger again. The birds in the oak tree stopped chirping. I couldn't even hear the hum of cars on the streets anymore. The sound of the ticking clock on the wall vibrated in my ears. Seconds stretched into minutes.
      My anemia made me dizzy sometimes, but it usually didn't last long. I leaned my shoulder against the wall next to the chalkboard and squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for it to pass. At least it wasn't happening in the middle of something important again. Last week my team lost the kickball tournament when my anemia struck. Most of the kids didn't blame me, but I still felt horrible.
      When the dizziness went away, I opened my eyes again and my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The color bled from the world like someone was sucking it away through a straw. The window was gray. So were the trees, the sky, and the school flag. At first, I thought the sun hid behind the clouds, but this was something else. Something was wrong. Black lightning etched across the sky like ripples moving on the surface of a lake.
      I snapped my head around to look at Ms. Vanderbilt, my heart thundering against my chest. She was still hunched over her papers, but she was frozen. Not frozen like a Popsicle, but frozen as if time had stopped. I wiped my sweaty hands on my pants. Frankie would say there has to be a reasonable explanation, but nope, there was nothing reasonable about this. This was bad, really bad.
      "Ms. Vanderbilt?" I said, my voice shaking.
      When she didn't answer, I blinked twice, unable to think. Then as if someone waved their wand and put everything right, the leaves on the tree changed from ash gray to dull yellow to green. Birdsong poured into the classroom again. Cars droned on the streets. Voices drifted in from the hall.
      "My goodness, Maya," Ms. Vanderbilt said suddenly. "I didn't mean to keep you late."
      I jumped so hard that the chalk fell from my hand and cracked in two on the floor.
      Leaning around her papers, my math teacher frowned at me. By the puzzled look on her face, Ms. Vanderbilt hadn't seen the bleeding gray or the black lightning. She'd been in some kind of trance the whole time. If I told her what happened, she'd laugh and say that I had a vivid imagination. I stared up at the clock again. It was now four fifteen. Thirty minutes had passed in what felt like seconds. Maybe I was daydreaming and it was my imagination.
      I pressed my lips together, deciding to keep my mouth shut.
      A crash rang in the hallway, and both Ms. Vanderbilt and I turned to the door. My friend Eli pressed his face against the glass, his fist ready to knock again. He smiled, his freckles standing out against his light brown skin. Ms. Vanderbilt shook her head at him.
      Before she could dismiss me, I shrugged into my coat and threw my backpack across my shoulder. My math teacher squinted at my unfinished work. "We'll continue Monday."
      "Yes, Ms. Vanderbilt," I grumbled, and jetted into the hallway, where Eli was playing with his phone. A few other kids were in the hall too, coming from extracurricular activities or tutoring or, like Eli, detention. He had a knack for getting in trouble.
      This morning he put a frog in our English teacher's desk because she gave him a C-minus on his paper about famous ghosts. She couldn't prove Eli did it, but he doubled over laughing when she screamed. So he got detention for that.
      Eli glanced up from his phone and frowned. "Was tutoring that bad?"
      I sucked in a deep breath. "I'll tell you later."
      Once outside, Eli and I stood with a group of kids waiting to cross the street. But Zane, the crossing guard, and his bloodhound weren't directing traffic. Instead, he was talking to Principal Ollie, whose gray suit and yellow tie were impeccable. Some parents had trouble remembering Principal Ollie's pronouns were they and them, not him or her. But everyone I knew got it.
      "What's his malfunction?" an eighth grader whispered to his friend.
      I couldn't tell if he meant Zane or his dog, General, who was howling at the sky. The crossing guard's hands curled into fists at his sides as he said something too low to hear. I wondered--no I hoped--he'd seen something too. No way was I the only one who saw the world turn gray. If he'd seen something, then that meant I really hadn't lost my mind. Principal Ollie patted Zane on the shoulder, and he winced and waved for us to cross. The hound stopped howling and wagged his tail.
      On the way home, I broke down and told Eli everything. He bounced on his toes the whole time and asked me so many questions that my head spun again.
      "Did you feel a cold spot?" Eli asked. "Like when there's a ghost around."
      I shook my head at his latest question. "I can't remember."
      "Did you sense a new presence in the room?"
      We cut across a vacant lot covered in trampled weeds between two buildings. Some kids from Jackson Middle's soccer team--the Jaguars--were dribbling and passing a ball between them as they took the same path.
      "No," I answered, still trying to make sense of what I'd seen.
      We ducked out of the way of a man speeding down the sidewalk on a sky-blue Divvy bike. He rushed to the rental station next to us and shoved his bike into an open slot. Looking at the row of bikes, I kept expecting to see a smudge of gray, or black lightning. But everything was as it should be.
      "You know there's a bike lane, right?" Eli yelled at the man walking away.
      Glancing to my feet, I said, "You think I'm making this up?"
      Eli adjusted his backpack straps. "Heck no. Earlier this week Priyanka said she saw two crows talking to each other."
      If something weird happened, people always told Eli. He was the king of weird.
      "What do you mean, talking?"
      As we crossed Ashland Avenue, cars honked their horns, and traffic stood bumper to bumper. People coming and leaving the shops on both sides of the avenue were as loud and noisy as the traffic.
      "The way we're talking now," Eli said, a goofy look on his face.
      I swallowed the lump in my throat. "What were they saying?"
      Eli shrugged. "Priyanka said they spoke in a language she'd never heard before."
      "What's your theory?" I asked.
      "Sometimes ghosts can inhabit the bodies of the living." Eli grinned as if he'd been waiting for his moment of glory. "I guess they would've wanted to inhabit human bodies, but hey, wandering spirits can't be choosy. Priyanka showed me the video on her phone. For a second you see the two crows facing each other and then the screen turns gray. Even the sound went out."
      "Gray?" I asked as we passed the corner store. My eyes landed on the empty crate against the barred window. That was Ernest's spot. He was always around after school, tapping his foot and playing the harmonica tangled in his bushy beard. Not seeing him was one more strange thing to add to an already strange day. Ghosts seemed unlikely, but at this point, they were better than an alien invasion. "Have you heard of anything like this before?"
      "No," he said, his voice hopeful, "but I'll do some research this weekend."
      We stopped in front of his grandmother's three-story greystone building. Jayla, his little sister, knocked on the window on the top floor and waved at us. She and Eli shared the same freckled face, light brown skin, and hazel eyes. I waved back, and she poked out her tongue at Eli, who grinned at her and poked out his tongue too.
      "Are you going to tell your parents?" Eli asked.
      I shrugged. "Maybe later."
      I didn't want to worry Mama. Besides, maybe none of it was real. After listening to Papa's stories about his adventures all my life, maybe my imagination was as wild as his. I wouldn't tell my parents for now.
      That was my first mistake of many more to come. Had I known what lurked in the shadows that day, then maybe I would've made a different choice.



Excerpted from Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

In this highly anticipated contemporary fantasy, twelve-year-old Maya's search for her missing father puts her at the center of a battle between our world, the Orishas, and the mysterious and sinister Dark world. Perfect for fans of Aru Shah and the End of Time and The Serpent's Secret. Twelve-year-old Maya is the only one in her South Side Chicago neighborhood who witnesses weird occurrences like werehyenas stalking the streets at night and a scary man made of shadows plaguing her dreams. Her friends try to find an explanation--perhaps a ghost uprising or a lunchroom experiment gone awry. But to Maya, it sounds like something from one of Papa's stories or her favorite comics. When Papa goes missing, Maya is thrust into a world both strange and familiar as she uncovers the truth. Her father is the guardian of the veil between our world and the Dark--where an army led by the Lord of Shadows, the man from Maya's nightmares, awaits. Maya herself is a godling, half orisha and half human, and her neighborhood is a safe haven. But now that the veil is failing, the Lord of Shadows is determined to destroy the human world and it's up to Maya to stop him. She just hopes she can do it in time to attend Comic-Con before summer's over.


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