Vita Nostra

DYACHENKO, Marina & . tr. from Russian by Julia Meitov Hersey. 416p. HarperCollins/Harper. Nov. 2018. Tr $26.99. ISBN 9780062694591.
RedReviewStarOriginally published in Russian, this modern fantasy follows Sasha Samokhina as she is unwillingly recruited and forced to attend the mysterious Institute of Special Technologies. The teachings seem nonsensical, and failure comes at a high cost, sometimes resulting in the untimely death of a close relative. Through fear and coercion, the students learn at an accelerated speed, unlocking secrets to higher human potential and beyond. The lyrical writing will appeal to those who favor magical realism, and the college atmosphere grounds the novel in the real world. Readers will look forward to the next installment of this fascinating, strange tale. Recommended to fans of Lev Grossman's The Magicians and Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale.
VERDICT A must-purchase for libraries serving fantasy-loving mature teens.

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