From Darkness

Duet. Nov. 2020. 324p. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781945053986.
Gr 9 Up–It has been seven years since Ari Wyndham’s best friend, Alex, went missing at sea. Filled with remorse over the disappearance, Ari tries to move on, but she knows a piece of her is missing. After being bitten by a venomous tiger snake, Ari slips into an unknown realm and encounters the river Styx. A figure by the name of the Summoner approaches to take Ari to the afterlife, and Ari eventually realizes that the Summoner is actually Alex. Going against the laws of the underworld, Alex escapes with Ari back to Earth. What should be a wonderful reunion for the two friends soon turns ominous. Ari is filled with terror when evil, unexplainable occurrences plague her town of Stonehaven and Alex starts behaving strangely. Afraid of losing Alex again, Ari will do whatever she can to protect the love of her life, all while saving her town from underworld demons. Hall’s debut will interest fans of magical realism and sapphic romances alike. Hall creates a marvelous LGBTQ love story in an eerie fantasy setting. The author intertwines nods to folklore and Greek mythology with relatable real-life issues, such as divorce, depression, and anxiety. Ari is described as white, and Alex has darker skin and black hair.
VERDICT This coming-of-age story will leave readers empathizing with Ari as she transitions into adulthood and learns to be brave in the face of danger.

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