Published by Disney-Hyperion
Summary: Aru Shah lives with her mother, director of the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture. Aru has a hard time fitting in at school, so when three somewhat nasty kids from her class show up at the museum on a vacation day, Aru can’t help showing off. She lights a lamp her mother has warned her never to touch, and unleashes the Sleeper, an evil being who freezes time for everyone around Aru. To undo the spell, Aru is sent on a mission, where she learns that she is a reincarnation of one of the Pandava brothers from Indian mythology. She meets up with Mini, a girl who is also one of the Pandava, and together they manage to defeat a large number of monsters and other mythological beings to fulfill their quest. It’s clearly not over at the end, though; two mysterious new kids are introduced, and it looks like Aru will be off on another adventure in April 2019. Includes an extensive glossary of Indian mythology. 368 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: This is the first book in the new Rick Riordan Presents imprint of Disney-Hyperion (the next two, on Korean and Mayan mythology, are due out in September). The format is similar to Riordan’s books, with a misfit protagonist who discovers her demigod status and has a string of adventures with mythological creatures. It’s sure to be a hit with Riordan’s legion of fans.
Cons: Having no background in Indian mythology, I struggled to keep track of the many different characters and their relationships with one another.