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Parents' Guide to

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting: Serwa Boateng, Book 1

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Kids fight Ghanaian vampires and racism in exciting fantasy.

Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Here's a "middle school is hard" book with real teeth, the Ghanaian-vampire kind and the "important tough topics" kind. Just as Serwa doesn't shy away from an azde (vampire) that invades her new middle school, Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting doesn't shy away from racism and how Serwa and her fellow students of color experience it. Author Roseanne A. Brown is sometimes blunt in her depiction of racism, which may make some readers uncomfortable. This seems both intentional and essential in our world today. The Black art teacher, Mr. Riley, probably didn't have to tell the kids in detention that they were there because the were Black and Brown, but it's a good reminder to readers that bias is real. And the White teacher that accuses Serwa of both cheating and stealing and calls her "Sarah" -- she's a nightmare almost as bad as the blood-sucking kind.

Still, these harassed kids with plenty already on their plates want to save their school from vampires and they need to work together to do it. Problem is, they don't really like one another that much. Even bigger problem is, only Serwa knows how to wield a sword and draw protective symbols, and she's not a patient teacher. Many social slipups and grueling practices later, they have a semblance of a team, and some cool extra powers thanks to a bargain with Asaase Yaa, the earth goddess, and a dangerous quest. That's when the fantasy part of the tale really takes off and excites, and after the showdown at school the story feels complete. But hold on -- the big reveal of a family secret veers the ending so far of the usual happy-ending course the story feels jarringly incomplete again. Good thing there's a sequel coming.

Book Details

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