TITLE: Emily Knight I Am …
AUTHOR: Abiola Bello
PUBLISHER: Hashtag Press
TARGET AUDIENCE: Young Adult
The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of the books in exchange for an honest review.
How does it feel to be different and misunderstood? And who cares? Emily Knight is young and famous, self-aware and intelligent. But what if the one thing that makes Emily different also makes her a target for evil? Can she defend herself…and everything she loves?
A. Bello breaks boundaries with this gritty and gripping fantasy novel.
Dark times are upon us. Neci is back and she is more dangerous than ever. The warriors are forced to pick a side and to stand up for what they believe in. The race is on to find the missing warrior first. It’s the only way to prevent a war from happening and to stop Neci from destroying everything. Emily Knight has to get sharper, stronger and faster because Neci has made her a target and someone is going to great lengths to hurt her. Can Emily win the race? Or will Neci take her down once and for all?
Since I recently received my official Teaching License, I’ve been wanting to branch out into more middle grade books. This is mostly because of my desire to introduce my current and future students to wonderful worlds and hopefully help encourage them to become readers!
When Hashtag Press reached out to me to see if I was interested in reading the Emily Knight series I jumped at the opportunity to read this middle grade fantasy and enter into the middle grade world!
I must say that this series did not disappoint me. Overall, it was an enjoyable series that I would definitely recommend to my students.
The most wonderful thing about this series is the diversity that is present. We live in a world where there is a severe gap with respect to the proper representation of diverse characters and worlds, and while this is slowly improving, it still has a way to go. It seems as though the author, Abiola Bello, had the same feeling as this is one of the reasons she created the series. She did an excellent job at not only ensuring that the main character, Emily was a strong female of colour but that the other characters were also incredibly diverse. While this is important in the world of novels, I believe that this is crucial for middle grade novels as it can help to influence future generations and their opinions. This is one of the main reasons as to why I would recommend these books to my students.
I did really love the character of Emily. She was strong and fierce. I loved seeing her character development throughout the first novel but especially through the second novel, Awakened. I think this might be one of the reasons I enjoyed the second novel a bit more – not only for the impressive character growth and development that Emily went through but also for the development of Bello’s writing.
My one and only qualm with this series was the pacing. This is not to say that it greatly affected my enjoyment of the novel. I would have liked for the novel to have a bit more of a fast paced nature to it especially since it’s a fantasy – I want it to be an epic fantasy, and at times I just felt things were a bit slow for me. However, this may largely have to do with the fact that I am also just entering into the middle grade genre and am mostly comparing it to high fantasy that I’ve read in the YA genre.
Overall, I think this is an incredibly important novel for young children to read as it highlights the importance of diversity and incredibly strong female characters. I know that in my classroom, I will definitely be recommending it to my students.
About The Author
A. Bello is an author from Stoke Newington, North London. She wrote her first novel at aged 8, where she fought monsters and dragons daily. At aged 12, she invented Emily Knight as she felt there wasn’t any strong, diverse, ethnic characters in Children’s/ YA books.
She is the author of two middle grade fantasy books – Emily Knight I Am & Emily Knight I Am…Awakened. Her third YA book is under submission.
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Who is your favourite female middle grade character? What is your favourite diverse middle grade read?