Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
I TOLD you I'd be back with another dose of bookish goodness, and this time around, we're taking this adventure overseas as we dive into a NEW Middle Grade Fantasy steeped in Korean culture, and filled with mystical, magical wonder! Celebrating its BOOK BIRTHDAY today, make room on your MUST READ list for book one in a new series...
Lia Park series, Book 1
About the book...
Twelve-year old Lia Park just wants to fit in. Her parents work with a mysterious organization that makes them ridiculously overprotective. Lia’s every move has been scrutinized since she was born, and she’d love to have the option of doing something exciting for once. So when she gets invited to the biggest birthday party of the year—and her parents say she can’t go—Lia sneaks out.
But her first act of rebellion not only breaks her parents’ rules, but also an ancient protection spell, allowing an evil diviner spirit to kidnap and ransom her parents for a powerful jewel that her family has guarded for years. With just the clothes on her back and some very rusty magical skills, Lia finds herself chasing mysterious clues that take her to her grandmother’s home in Korea.
From there, she has to make their way to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King, the only person who knows where the powerful jewel might be. Along with her friend, Joon, Lia must dig deep and find courage to stand up for those who are weak—and become the hero her parents need.
Lia Park is just getting started in life, but she thinks she knows where she's going...like most 12 year olds do. In her case, it was straight to the IMA (International Magic Agency) to help track down monsters, or at least the evil ones, and perform other magic type tasks to help keep the world a safer place...or at least, that was the plan. It seems her power hasn't quite manifested as of yet and with that, she's only 2/3 ready for the big entry test. What's a girl to do? Or perhaps better asked, what's a Park to do? Can we say BACK UP PLAN? Yes, we can, and we did, although hers isn't as exciting as it should be, nor does it work out the way she had intended. Instead of becoming the next uber bestie to THE it girl in school...she ends up leaving the party after a disaster, only to happen upon an even bigger disaster that not only puts her own life at risk, but the lives of those she cares most about...her family. Lia is about to embark on a journey she never could have anticipated, uncover secrets she never knew she had, and, if all things go well, just might save the world from utter destruction at the watery hands of an evil diviner. No pressure or anything...
Okay, so if you couldn't tell, I was drawn in from the start and couldn't turn away if I tried...no watery hands or spells required! I loved the blend of cultures presented, and had a great time learning about the history, mythology, and magic that ran through the veins. The stories they shared all had lessons to be learned from, as well as familial ties to carry forward. Lia was a remarkable young lady, bursting at the seams with a desire to be one of them, and yet she hadn't taken the time to truly get to know herself, and all she could do. True, some of that wasn't her fault, but the little things would have some from knowing her own mind just a bit more. Good thing for her, her family made lasting impressions throughout her lifetime, which made putting the pieces of herself together THAT much less challenging. The secrets and codes Lia and Joon had to figure out along the way gave readers another challenge to be involved in, leading to more historical discoveries, and even more danger as they work together to stop the evil that is coming. That's another thing though, she's never quite going it alone...a great lesson for kiddos too. It's not that she's not capable of doing it herself, as we come to find out at some point in the story...that I will not ruin...but it's more so that she chooses to accept the help available to her and work as a team. The amount of heart this girl has is astounding...as is the love she shares with the family, both blood related and chosen.
All in all, a GREAT read for Middle Grade Fantasy fans of all ages with a leading lady you won't soon forget! I can't wait to see what might happen next in the series...almost enough to wish I could get my hands on that jewel considering it's power against time!
About the author...
Jenna Yoon studied Art History at Wellesley College and received her master’s degree in Korean art history from Ewha Womans University. She’s lived about half her life in both Korea and the United States. When she’s not writing, Jenna loves to travel, find yummy eats, play board games, and take skin care very seriously. Currently, she lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two kids.
Special thanks to Lindsey at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for the copy for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is out today, so seek thee out a copy wherever books are sold.
Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!