HarperAlley. May 2023. 256p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780063090132; pap. $15.99. ISBN 9780063090118.
Gr 3-7–Indian American tween Shakti, 12, and her moms just moved to Amherst, Massachusetts. Used to moving, Shakti hopes her family will finally stay so she can make friends. On her first day of seventh grade, she meets Xi, who shares her love for manga, and both start to notice that strange things are happening at the school. A group of mean girls—Harini, Emily, and Kelly (HEK)—seem to have control over everyone. Shakti and Xi soon learn HEK are a coven of witches putting a curse on the school and the town. The friends enlist the help of Shakti’s mom Rita (Amma), who is a witch. Shakti calls on the Hindu goddess of protection and strength, Durga Ma, to stop the coven’s spell, but without peace in her heart, Shakti also summons Kali Ma, who represents destruction. Shakti works with Amma to learn how to find peace and tame Kali Ma before she destroys Mom Terri, her unborn baby brother, the town, and everyone in it.
VERDICT Vibrantly illustrated by Ali, Sindu’s debut graphic novel braids Hindu mythology with the importance of family and friendship, creating an accessible book that will be of interest to many readers.

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