Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee
Coming September 7, 2021 from Rick Riordan Presents; 423 pages
Content Warnings: Absent parent, racism, some violence, some graphic descriptions, bullying, character in a coma, hospital scenes, blood
About the Author: “Lori M. Lee is the author of speculative novels and short stories. Her books include PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER (Disney/Rick Riordan Presents), FOREST OF SOULS and the sequel BROKEN WEB (Page Street), and more. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS and COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. She considers herself a unicorn fan, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.” (Bio taken from author’s website.)
Find Lori M. Lee on the following platforms:
Eleven-year-old Pahua Moua has a secret: she can see spirits. She can’t tell anyone because, um duh, they’d think she was even more of a weirdo than they already do. But when she accidentally releases the spirit of a haunted bridge who then proceeds to steal her little brother’s soul, everything Pahua thought she knew about the world and herself changes. Desperate to save him, she decides to venture into the spirit world itself with only her best friend—who happens to be a cat spirit—and a shaman-warrior-in-training whose attitude could be a bit better. But the spirit world is no place for mortals, and Pahua soon realizes there’s much, much more to her than meets the eye. She’ll have to dig deep within herself and face the secrets waiting for her if she wants to save her brother in time.
Inspired by Hmong mythology and filled to the brink with adventure and daring, Pahua and the Soul Stealer is the perfect addition to the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. Lori M. Lee’s newest novel is bold, heartwarming, and so, so fun. Pahua is a brilliant protagonist, and her journey of self-discovery will resonate with middle-grade readers who need just a little extra boost to their self-esteem. I thoroughly enjoyed Pahua’s voice throughout, but the other characters also shine on the page. Zhong and Miv are the best partners in adventure Pahua could ask for, and Lee brings them to life beautifully. The mythological elements are fabulous, and I loved learning about Hmong mythology through Pahua’s story. Fans of magical mythology and races against the clock will love this fast-paced middle-grade adventure.
Pahua and the Soul Stealer releases September 7, 2021.
(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
PRR Assistant Director, Wendy Waltrip