Friday, January 15, 2016

The Night Parade ~ Kathryn Tanquary Spotlight + Review + Excerpt + Giveaway [@JabberwockyKids @KathrynTanquary]

The Night Parade
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
January 5, 2016
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Amazon/B&N/BooksAMillion/iBooks/!ndigo/or IndieBound

In the shadow of the forest, the Night Parade marches on…

The last thing Saki Yamamoto wants to do for her summer vacation is trade in exciting Tokyo for the antiquated rituals and bad cell reception of her grandmother’s remote mountain village. Preparing for the Obon ceremony is boring. Then the local kids take an interest in Saki, and she sees an opportunity for some fun, even if it means disrespecting her family’s ancestral shrine on a malicious dare.

But as Saki rings the sacred bell, the darkness shifts. A death curse has been invoked…and Saki has three nights to undo it. With the help of three spirit guides and some unexpected friends, Saki must prove her worth- or say goodbye to the world of the living forever.

I am so happy I decided to read The Night Parade, it really is superb. Saki was one of those characters that I read now and wonder if I would have read them the same way when I was actually in middle school. She could be bratty and annoying, at times and her view of the trip to her grandmother's, time away from Tokyo and her friends and the rituals really had me curious if I would have seen (well, read) her differently when I was more her age.

Her attitude and behavior work for who her character is and where the rest of the book will take her, though.

Saki has that little voice in her head saying that things - or people, friends - may not be good or right, but she doesn't feel able to speak up. Then some misadventures lead to a death curse and Saki seeing and experiencing much more than she anticipated.

The setting - Japan in general, but her grandmother's tiny village and their house near the shine more specifically - work so well in The Night Parade. The family's entire trip revolves around Obon. The rituals, Saki (and her brother's) reluctance to be fully engaged in something her parents and grandmother see as so important, the memories of her grandfather fit together well.

The blend of the 'old' with the traditional things that Saki is expected to assist with, participate in and/or care about contrasted with the 'new' of her wanting to stay, like her friends, in Tokyo, or at least somewhere with more cell reception creates a nice balance. It also sets it up for Saki to begin to see things differently once she's on her journey.

The magic, the mythology and fantasy used in The Night Parade - from the creatures, spirits, beings Saki encounters to why she is there and even what she must do - are great fun. Though the fact that she is likely to acquire some appreciation for all that she's dismissive of in the beginning is expected, it is the how (along with the where, who and why) that are really fantastic.

The Night Parade is an enjoyable read - and not just for Middle Grade readers - with an amazing amount of imagination, a well written character and a lot of heart.

thank you to the publisher for spotlight info & review copy, via NetGalley

Praise for The Night Parade:
“Wonder and imagination abound in Tanquary’s debut, a fantasy set in a contemporary Japanese mountain village; filled with respect and admiration for cultural tradition, it evokes both Grimm’s fairy tales and Miyazaki’s films...Vivid details and realistic situations ensure accessibility, and subtle teaching moments are wrapped in wide-eyed enchantment.” Publishers Weekly STARRED Review
“An entertaining mix of Japanese folklore and teen angst”School Library Journal
“Highly imaginative, beautifully written and what a wonderful book that talks about becoming true to oneself. While reading this all I could picture was a Miyazaki film in my head, and it was beautiful!”--Teresa Steele, Old Firehouse Books (Fort Collins, CO)


In the dead of night, she woke to three cold fingers on her neck.

Saki blinked in the darkness. The sliding door was open to the forest. The fingers pressed against her jugular, and bright, thundering panic surged through her body.

The fingers curled down toward her throat.

She tried to open her mouth to scream, but her jaw was locked shut. Her hands groped for her phone under the futon. Before she reached it, she touched her grandfather’s worn-­out charm. The three fingers retracted, leaving her skin cold and bloodless.

“Oh good, you’re awake.” She heard her brother’s voice.

Saki flipped around. Lying on her back, she stared up into a pair of eyes.

It was not her brother.

It knelt next to her on the tatami floor, knees brushing the edge of her pillow. Her brother’s futon was empty, and the blankets were flung around the room. It may have been Jun’s body kneeling there, but whatever stared back at her was not her brother.

The clouds shifted, and light fell through the open door, burning moon-­blue on everything it touched. Her not-­brother’s eyes reflected the light like a will-­o’-­the-­wisp.

“I thought you might sleep through it.” The creature smiled. Her brother’s teeth seemed sharper than usual.

Saki touched her hand to her jaw. It unlocked. Her voice was little more than a whisper. “Sleep through what?”

It leaned over. She stared into its will-­o’-­the-­wisp’s eyes.

“The Night Parade, of course.”

With a single movement, it was standing by the crack in the door. The forest stretched on into the night.

“Get up, get up! We’re late already.”

Saki scrambled to her knees. She pulled a blanket around her shoulders and clutched her phone to her chest.

“W-­what have you done to my brother?”

It rolled her brother’s eyes around the room and licked his teeth. “Impressive, isn’t it?” It opened its arms and looked down at the body it had taken. “Of course, beautiful maidens are traditional, but we must work with what we have, no?”

Saki eyed the backpack in the corner. It was heavy enough to swing in a pinch. “If you touch me, I’ll scream.”

The creature with her brother’s body became very serious. “Oh no, that won’t do any good. They won’t hear you anyway. This is your burden, little one.” It barked out laughter, eyes wide open, reflecting the moon.

“This is crazy. Jun, if you’re playing a joke, it isn’t funny. I’m telling—­”

“Why do you refuse to believe what you observe to be true?” it asked. “I don’t know what sort of game you’re playing at, girl. You invited me here.”

Saki blinked. “What?”

It dropped on her brother’s knee beside her. “Don’t you remember? On hallowed ground, you put your hands to the summoning table. You called out our names. You rang the bell. So we came to you, as we must. Well, I came to you.”

“You’re Kokkuri-­san?”

“No and yes. I am the first of three. The others will be along later.”


“Oh yes. I’m always the first, whether I like it or not. The third you will like very much. Everyone likes him. But the second…” It covered her brother’s mouth as a malevolent glee twinkled in its eyes. “Oh my. I daresay you will not like him at all. Very…scary.” It curled and uncurled her brother’s fingers.

“No,” Saki said. “No. No, no, no, no.” She pulled the blanket over her head and rolled into a ball on the floor. “This is crazy. This is insane. This is not happening. I am asleep and having a dream. When I wake up, it will be over.”

The creature sighed. “Very well. If that is your
final decision…”

Saki waited underneath the blanket. The wind whistled through the cracks of the old house, but after more than five minutes, she heard no sounds of the stranger anywhere. Bit by bit, she peeled back the blanket and peeked over the top.

Her brother slept soundly on a mess of tousled blankets. His face squished against his pillow as he drooled a bit down the side. His eyes were closed and didn’t shine at all in the moonlight. Saki wrapped her blanket around her shoulders as she rose to shut the open door.

On the wooden walkway in full moonlight sat a fox with four tails.


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About the Author:

Kathryn Tanquary is a graduate of Knox College with a B.A. in Creative Writing. She currently resides in Japan as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language.


  1. This is the first that I've heard of this one but it sounds pretty good! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it. By the way, I love your background! :D
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. That conflict between the voice that knows what might be right or wrong and the hesitancy that keeps us from speaking up is such a universal challenge of adolescence. This sounds like a fun fantasy romp in a whole different culture that would have its own strange new elements for someone who has never been to Japan :) I miss reading through these posts! I wish I weren't so busy. You always find the neatest fantasy stories!!!


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