Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Lori M. Lee’s middle grade debut about a lonely Hmong girl who discovers she’s a powerful shaman warrior in this fantasy inspired by Southeast Asian mythology.
Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.
One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood–whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can’t be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt’s old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother’s return. Instead, she summons a demon.
Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother’s soul before it’s too late. Little does she know she’ll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . .
With its unforgettable characters, unique nature-based magic system, breathtaking twists and reveals, and climactic boss battle, this story based on Hmong oral tradition offers everything a fantasy lover could want.
Cover illustration by Tou Her
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PRAISE FOR PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER
PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER is a 2021 Junior Library Guild Selection!
★ “This powerful story rooted in Southeast Asian mythology should be on all shelves for teens and tweens to find. Fantasy readers will love Pahua and look forward to her adventures.” — School Library Journal, STARRED Review
“Lee adroitly develops the friendship between Pahua and Zhong as they bond over their insecurities and complicated familial relationships. Humorous dialogue from the demons and spirits brings a much-needed levity to each challenge that the two girls face. Featuring Hmong representation and action-packed adventure, this high-spirited, emotionally resonant series starter will satisfy any fan of the imprint.” — Publishers Weekly
“This is a fun adventure through a world inspired by Hmong mythology, full of imagination and featuring characters whose concerns are both modern and timeless. A classic, satisfying adventure tale packed with magical beings.” — Kirkus
“Pahua is clever with a bit of snark, giving the story a lot of humor, and while the book is long, the pace is quick, with plenty of adventure and action to keep readers going. Another exciting, mythology-based fantasy for middle-graders.” — Booklist
“This story, immersed in Hmong mythology, has many twists and turns and unexpected challenges. Fantasy fans will not want to put this book down.” — School Library Collection
“I love the adventures Pahua has in this book. I also love the sense of humor, the clever plotting, and the fantastic cast of characters. But most of all I love Pahua: her courage, her kindness, and her love for family.” — Rick Riordan, New York Times #1 bestselling author of the Percy Jackson series
“This book had me biting my nails and laughing out loud all at once. Lori M. Lee has woven a story of enchanting spirits, terrifying demons, and one fiercely courageous shaman warrior. Pahua is my new hero!” — Christina Soontornvat, Newbery Honor-winner of A Wish in the Dark
“Reminiscent of the magic and whimsy of Howl’s Moving Castle. An enchanting blend of humor and heart in an adventure that readers won’t soon forget.” — Claribel A. Ortega, author of Ghost Squad and Witchlings
“I was happily, helplessly tangled-up in the sparkling magic of Pahua’s story from the first line. She isn’t just courageous when it comes to fighting through beautiful, scary spirtworlds; she’s courageous enough to be her uniquely-awesome self in this world, too. She makes you feel braver with every page-turn, and that’s a special kind of magic.” — Natalie Lloyd, award-winning author of Over the Moon