When a merman falls for a fae woman, the outcome can prove all too human. Such is the experience of twelve-year-old Imani Chausiku, a geeky half-fae raised by her magical single mother in Washington, D. C. Fitting in has always been Imani’s struggle, but when she journeys to the homeland of her maternal tribe to complete an initiation ceremony, awkward revelations and unexpected threats force her to stand out even more than she did in Virginia. Meanwhile, the young half-mer ruler of the underwater city of Wanesh bucks tradition to search for his vanished mother—a figure who seems familiar. With Imani Earns Her Cape, Bokerah Brumley paints a colorful urban-fantasy backdrop and peoples it with distinctive characters. But interminable angst ends up swamping the action, and loose ends dangle past an abruptly cloying resolution.
Best for: Older children seeking a coming-of-age tale set in a parallel world of magic.
Discern: Mild peril, emotional drama, themes of parental separation, and references to “the universe” as a providential force.