Although set in contemporary Brooklyn, this is a good old fashion adventure with just the right amount of mystery sprinkled in, making this a brisk-paced story that also introduces the reader to poets, artists, and musicians of the 1950s. An added extra, the author also did illustrations for the book. Surprises abound for the reader when they follow Maria and Sebastian, as they try to locate a treasure and save Mrs. Fisher.— Susan
The Mysterious Messenger is a rich middle grade urban fantasy debut starring young psychic Maria de la Cruz, by the award-winning artist Gilbert Ford.
Eleven-year-old Maria de la Cruz is trapped under the thumb of Madame Destine, her pseudo-psychic mother. Destine is a bona fide con artist who will stop at nothing to swindle her customers into believing she can communicate with the dead. But Maria, unlike her mother, has a big secret—she really can communicate with the dead, most frequently with a ghost named Edward who has been her only friend since she was a child.
It’s not long before this clairvoyant young sleuth gets wrapped up in an epic journey that combines bookish mystery with the literary movement of the Beat poets and art and jazz history. Maria may have the power to unlock extraordinary secrets, but can she find the treasure Edward sends her clues about? More importantly, can she find true friendship?
This smart, big-hearted debut novel is perfect for fans of Book Scavenger, Winterhouse, and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.
Christy Ottaviano Books
“Gilbert Ford has conjured up a winner with this spirited, tender-hearted page-turner. You can’t help pulling for funny, spunky Maria as her lonely quest becomes a treasure hunt of the heart.”—Sheila Turnage, Newbery Honor author of Three Times Lucky
“The fun, sparkly supernatural mystery kept me turning pages, but Maria’s bright heart anchored me to the story. Her deep friendships—and her unique way of seeing the world—are enchanting.”—Natalie Lloyd, New York Times-bestselling author of Over the Moon