Parents' Guide to

Pahua and the Soul Stealer

By John Sooja, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Great girl lead in creative, magical, but violent epic.

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This fantasy adventure thrills with an absolutely epic story. Incredibly creative, Pahua and the Soul Stealer is magical, modern, cultural, and distinctly Asian American. With clear references to a life both American and Hmong, Pahua's world is brimming with charm and whimsy, but also danger and great risk. The story, characters, and invention on display are all enchanting, the arcs of all the major players are varied and believable, and the pacing, structure, and delivery of the story are all elegantly built.

Pahua is a wonderful 11-year-old girl role model. She comes into her own and comes into immense power (along with greater pressure and responsibility), showing readers how it might look when someone becomes a hero. After all, as one spirit creature in the spirit realm suggests, "No one is born a ready-made hero." Instead, heroes are made. They have to come into their hero-ness, slowly and unsurely, hesitant and doubtful but always curious, determined, and eager to do the right thing. For some readers, the story will be a bit long, the violence a bit too much, and/or the ghosts, monsters, demons, and perilous situations too scary.

Book Details

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