Amari Peters knows she’s not the only kid who’s ever been bullied for being Black and poor. And she’s usually wise enough to take her mom’s advice and step away from conflict when she is. But on this particular day in the halls of Jefferson Academy—a fancy rich kid’s school that Amari can only attend thanks to a special scholarship—she isn’t in the mood to step away.
Her brother, Quinton, has been inexplicably missing for weeks now, and Amari is incredibly worried. So when a snooty girl named Emily gets up in Amari’s face, again, and starts goading her that Quinton is probably dead, Amari snaps and pushes Emily down. Nobody gets hurt. But Amari’s mom gets called to the principal’s office. Because of the school’s no tolerance policy for violence … Amari loses her scholarship.
Mom kinda understands Amari’s actions, even though she’s disappointed. Even the principal understands. Being bullied is terrible. But rules are rules. Now, Amari faces a summer worrying over where she’ll be going to school next fall. Not to mention a summer being worried while grounded! And, of course, Quinton is still missing too—the biggest issue of all.
Out of the blue, though, something completely unexpected happens. A mysterious little guy show’s up at Amari’s door with the news that Amari’s brother sent her a briefcase holding something called a Broaden Your Horizons kit. And it’s in the closet in Quinton’s room.
Of course, anybody with half a brain would start wondering how someone could deliver a briefcase to someone’s bedroom closet! But that’s the least of Amari’s concerns at the moment. That briefcase is from Quinton! How ever it got here, it’s got to be something important. And indeed, it is. Inside the briefcase is an odd little green and purple-striped suit in Amari’s size, a pair of strange message shades, and an invitation.
It seems that Quinton—the smartest smart person that Amari has ever known—has given his brainy-but-sometimes-hard-nosed little sister an invitation to a special summer camp. But this is no ordinary camp with canoe rides and campfires. Nope. It’s a magical training camp hosted by the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs (whatever that is). And not only is Amari invited to this bizarre gathering, but her mom is instantly made to believe that it’s all a part of the same leadership program Quinton attended and that helped him gain full-ride scholarships to Ivy League colleges.
So, before you can say “Expecto Patronum!” Amari is ungrounded and on her way to a place that shouldn’t exist, where news of her brother awaits. And her eyes are suddenly opened to all the trolls, sphinxes, ghosts and mermaids that have been unseen all around her. In fact, Amari finds out that the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs is a secret organization that monitors and manages all those spectacular creatures. And she is being recruited as a trainee.
It’s all kind of crazy.
Add in the fact that Amari will be rooming with a were-dragon, and has her own set of hidden magical powers, and things start getting really crazy.
Suddenly Amari’s troubles and worries over Jefferson Academy seem very, very tiny.