By John Darryl Winston
Purple Ash Press (March 17, 2014) Middle School Fantasy
This is a debut book for Winston and he delivers an intriguing story of Naz Andersen, a foster kid who lives with his sister in a home where the foster parent is disinterested and inattentive in the lives of her charges.
Left to their own devices, Naz struggles against the grim life in the neighborhood called the Exclave as he protects his sister and tries to understand these strange abilities that he demonstrates without control.
This book carries many of the elements that J.K. Rowling’s series did with one exception – the setting. Rowling’s world was magical and surprising and captured the attention of young and old alike. The Exclave is predictable with gangs and chess players in the park. I’m not sure this story will grab an adult audience but Winston’s characters have depth and the story complexity and is a must read for the YA market.