Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom by Nina Varela
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Retelling
Publishing Date: February 14, 2023
A thrilling fantasy adventure from acclaimed author Nina Varela that explores friendship and queer identity, perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers and Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series!
When Juniper Harvey’s family moves to the middle of nowhere in Florida, her entire life is uprooted. As if that’s not bad enough, she keeps having dreams about an ancient-looking temple, a terrifying attack, and a mysterious girl who turns into an ivory statue. One night after a disastrous school dance, Juniper draws a portrait of the girl from her dreams and thinks, I wish you were here. The next morning, she wakes up to find the girl in her room…pointing a sword at her throat!
The unexpected visitor reveals herself as Galatea, a princess from a magical other world. One problem—her crown is missing, and she needs it in order to return home. Now, it’s up to Juniper to help find the crown, all while navigating a helpless crush on her new companion. And things go from bad to worse when a sinister force starts chasing after the crown too.
Packed with adventure and driven by a pitch-perfect voice, this middle grade debut from Nina Varela is about one tween forging new friendships, fighting nightmarish monsters, and importantly, figuring out who she is and who she ultimately wishes to be.
Content Warning: Violence (involving swords), blood, physical combat; Brief mentions of animal suffering; Discussions of anxiety, panic attacks
About the Author:
Nina Varela was born in New Orleans and raised in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood running around in the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her tiny, ill-behaved dog. She writes stories about queer kids, magic, and the magic of queer kids. You can find Nina on twitter (@ninavarelas) or at http://www.ninavarela.com.
Well What can I say about Nina Varela's Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom it is very very magical with two very strong female leads of Juniper and Galatea. I also liked how Nina managed to include not only anxiety rep but also LGBT as well which was an absolute joy to read. But the best thing was the world building and it was incredible and really gave the story some vava voom. This was Nina's first Middle Grade and I think she did an amazing job and I can't wait for the sequel and hopes that it won't be too much a long wait as my trigger finger that i use to pre order is getting very very itchy.
For all these reasons I gave Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom 5 very massive stars.