Recommended for ages 10-13
Saki does NOT want to head to her grandparents’ boring old village for the summer; not when there’s so much going on in Tokyo. She’ll be out of the social loop, and her queen bee friend will be furious if she isn’t in constant contact with her! Her father won’t take no for an answer, though, so off she goes… and finds herself caught up with the local kids in the village, who pressure her into meeting them at the ancient burial ground – and into ringing a sacred bell that brings some very serious consequences. Now, it’s up to Saki to make things right, and to do that, she must go into the world of the spirits, all assembling for the Night Parade.
This is a solid middle-grade fantasy read. There’s some beautiful language that evokes some amazing images, delving into Japanese folklore. There’s a nice emphasis on respect for tradition and one’s elders, and I enjoyed watching Saki’s progression from a follower who just wanted to be in with the in crowd, to a maturing young woman who thought not only of others, but of actions and their consequences. With a little bit of Christmas Carol (with spirit guide visits) and a little bit of Through the Looking Glass (entering a world of exciting, new inhabitants) The Night Parade blends classic story elements with a modern mindset to tell a tale fantasy lovers will love.
The Night Parade is Kathryn Tanquary’s debut novel. You can follow her blog, Dinosaur Lace, where she also talks about her work as a language teacher in the Japanese education system.