The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016
Fantasy (Middle Grade); 320 pgs
I do not often read books that fall into the Middle Grade category, but this one intrigued me--and it came recommended by my friend and fellow blogger, Caspette of Narrative Causality. It was the setting (Japan) and the mention of Japanese mythology that convinced me to give it a try.
Saki is not happy about having to leave Tokyo and her friends to spend her break with her paternal grandmother. There is nothing exciting or worthwhile about spending time in a small village, preparing for an outdated ceremony like Obons, or so she believes. While in an effort to impress the village in-crowd, Saki bends to peer pressure and comes away from the experience embarrassed and bearing a death curse. She has three nights to lift it. Three nights, three spirit guides, and the Night Parade of spirits traveling to the ancestral burial site is nothing Saki has ever experienced before.
What a delightful book The Night Parade turned out to be! I loved every minute of it. I lost myself in the pages and wished I could join Saki on her adventures through the spirit world. The vivid descriptions, the sometimes quirky and always interesting characters, and the world Kathryn Tanquary has created had me under their spell as I read this novel. The story may seem simple on the surface, but it is quite complex when you look at it more closely.
Saki is about twelve or thirteen years old, I think, and on the verge of becoming a teenager and yet still with the innocence of childhood. Like many young and old, Saki is struggling to figure out who she wants to be, having to deal with peer pressure, family obligations, and being true to herself. She is also seeking to find balance between the old and the new: tradition/spiritual and modern times. Each of the obstacles Saki encounters along her path to life, including the curse, help her learn more about herself and choose the direction she wants her life to go.
The mythical beings and spirits are part of what make this novel such a great book, in my mind. I do not know much about Japanese mythology, but this book made me curious enough to do some research. I quite enjoyed getting a glimpse into this part of Japanese culture, finding it both fascinating and humbling.
As you can tell, I was quite taken with The Night Parade. I even read parts to my daughter, when she was willing to listen. I can see her reading it when she's older--and me again too.
To learn more about Kathryn Tanquary and her work, please visit the author's website. She can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.
Challenge Requirement Met for COYER.
© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.