The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is a Perfect Ten!

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Yee, F. C. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Amulet/Abrams, August 2017. 320p. $18.99. 978-1-4197-2548-7.

When the new kid, Quentin, announces that Genie Lo belongs to him, she discovers he is Sun Wukong, or the mythical Monkey King, and that she is the reincarnated golden staff, Ruyi Jingu Bang. Without her, Quentin cannot defeat the hordes of demons that have escaped from the underworld. Genie, whose only worry was crafting stellar admissions essays, now finds that she is in the middle of a battle to save humanity. As her powers to extend her limbs and to see for great distances develop, life as a demon hunter becomes tricky. Since failure would mean the annihilation of all she loves, it is imperative that she faces down the gods and escaped demons as she battles at the Monkey King’s side. She must learn to use all her strength and powers to avoid failure.

Pulling ancient mythology into the modern world, much like Riordan, Pon, Oh, and Childs, and combining it with the demon-hunter epics of Clare, Oliver, and Goodman, Yee ensures his book will find a solid fan base from among readers of its popular competitors. By juxtaposing Quentin’s ancient wisdom with Genie’s high school worries, and adding mystifying demons and gods from the Chinese pantheon, Yee builds a world filled with characters that carry the page-turning plot. The subtle theme of the use of power is common to many hero tales. This recognizable theme presented in a distinctive way, combined with Yee’s vivid action scenes that take place in a familiar setting, will send readers searching for more tales about Sun Wukong, both old and new. This is a highly recommended purchase for libraries serving young adult readers.—Rachel Wadham.

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