The Awakening

St. Martin’s. (The Dragon Heart Legacy). Nov. 2020. 448p. Tr $28.99. ISBN 9781250272614.
Gr 9 Up–Breen Kelly’s mother had always told her she was “average” in every way. So Breen dyed her fiery red hair mousy brown, wore shapeless beige clothing, and unwillingly became a middle school teacher. Looking after her mother’s plants while she’s away, Breen stumbles upon a financial file indicating that she’s a millionaire. After confirming the information, she quits her job and goes to Ireland to find her father, who’d left when she was 12. What Breen discovers there is lifechanging. Although her father has died, Breen finds an extended family, who live in a world called Talamh, accessible through a magical portal. She begins to understand the strange dreams she’s always had, and discovers she is part of a line of powerful magical beings. This is a captivating novel, difficult to put down, and teens will identify with Breen’s search for her true self. Please note, there are some descriptive (but not graphic) sex scenes in the book. Most characters are Irish, and many of Breen’s American friends are Black.
VERDICT Recommend to older teens who have enjoyed series like Tamora Pierce’s "Song of the Lioness" and "The Immortals."

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