Cover Image: Shakti


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Member Reviews

I really wanted to get to this one, as it seemed interesting. This was requested when I first found out about NetGalley and I had requested so many ARCs that I could not get to all of them before they were archived. If I can find this somewhere for a reasonable price, I will try to get it!
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This enthralling MG graphic novel is going to capture the attention of my students. Hindu mythicism, social emotional themes, and an exciting adventure make this a must read for middle schoolers.
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With beautiful art and a very loving story, Shakti won me over almost immediately. I loved the families, the diversity (including the protagonist's two moms!), and the message. I would love to read more about Shakti navigating her witch's life, and teaching her little sibling everything she knows. Nuanced, sweet, and heartfelt, this book was an absolute joy to read.
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“Shakti'' by S.J. Sindu, with illustrations by Nabi H Ali is a graphic novel about a young girl who can tap into her family's magic.

Shakti and her two moms have moved more times than she can count. Shakti is used to being the new girl, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. When they move to Amherst, Massachusetts, she finds school to be difficult because of three girls named Harini, Emily, and Kelly, who are privileged bullies.  She also meets a new friend named Xi. When Shakti and Xi discover the other girls casting spells, they realize they have to fight back. Shakti’s only barely learning her ancestral magic, but she’s going to need it to save the town and her unborn baby brother.

I liked the story. The art didn’t completely blow me away but it’s not bad. I think it’s a fine read for young readers.
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This was an interesting graphic novel that I am somewhat torn over. The story was quite good, but the art and pacing sometimes felt jumbled.

The concept is that Shakti is the new girl in town who has had to move more often than other kids for some reason. One of her mothers seems to be Hindi while her other mother is Black. Her family prays to Durga Ma. a goddess who gives them magical powers and helps protect them. Shakti has powers, but has not been trained how to properly use them. While she tarts to make friends at her new school, there is also this trio of bullies who seem to have everyone under their spell, literally. Shakti has to figure out how to deal with the bullies but to do it with a heart full of love vs one of anger.
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Thank you HarperCollins Children’s Books & NetGalley for the electronic review copy of this wonderful book. This is a great Hindu mythology story set in a present day with great magic and wonderful friendships. Amazing art really enhances the story and helps move it along. Definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Hindu mythology or just a great story.
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This is a fantastic middle grade graphic novel!  The story is diverse and unique and the illustrations are beautiful!  A must have for all middle school collections!
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This was an amazing middle grade graphic novel about a 12-year-old Indian-American girl learning how to use her ancestral magic. Shakti is used to being the new girl at school. She and her two moms have moved more times than she can count, so she hopes they will call Amherst, Massachusetts their forever home. 

On her first day of seventh grade, she meets Xi and they bond over their shared passion for manga (and pizza with mayo). There are three mean girls in school, Harini, Emily, and Kelly (aka HEK), and they are determined to make life miserable for Shakti and her new friends. 

My favorite part of this graphic novel was learning about Durga Ma and Kali Ma; it was so fun how there were educational interludes to really educate the reader. I thought the themes of friendship and family, and dealing with bullying, were so well done. And I loved how Shakti found a sense of community in this new town. 

The art was expressive and so beautiful, and I loved the vibrant colors. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a magical story woven with Hindu mythology. 

SN: mayo on pizza? Yuck.
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Beautifully illustrated graphic novel that uses Hindu mysticism and magic to teach kids the importance of empathy, self-control and family ties. Bonus point for the depiction of a beautiful queer and multi-ethnic family too!
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WOWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!! First of all, I highly recommend this middle grade graphic novel!! It's a must read. Between the Tamil representation, queer parents, well explained and inclusive magic system, and gorgeous illustration style, this book blew me away. 

Before I mention this next bit, I want to mention that I am North Indian and so my perspective will reflect that. I loved the depiction of Durga Ma and Ma Kali so much!!! Often in North India, hinduism often brings the men to the front, with the women acting mostly as divine counterparts. (We do celebrate the goddesses however not as much as in South Indian) I appreciate how in Tamil culture Durga and Kali are cherished and beloved in their own right and power. 

I highly recommend you read this and read reviews by Tamil and South Indian readers!!!!
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Absolutely loved this graphic novel. The inventive story and vibrant illustrations will engage and delight young readers. This title will appeal to a wide variety of students and is perfect for reluctant readers as well.
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Shakti was my most anticipated read of this year and it did not disappoint!! As a Tamil-American fully in their 20s, there is nothing like reading a middle grade graphic novel and feeling so held. This book was written and illustrated by Tamil icons, SJ Sindu and Nabi H. Ali, which is extra special to me🥺

Shakti draws upon the stories of Durga Ma and Kali, to create a world with witches and different types of magic. As someone who grew up in a Hindu household, it was amazing to see all the details in this book and experience the world building. We follow our main protagonist, Shakti, as she learns the powers of her ancestral magic to save her school and town she just moved to. This book sensitively touches on bullying, making friends, crushes, moving, middle school, and spiritual practices. I also enjoyed the many iterations of queerness in this book❤️

I have so much love for this book & the creatives who poured their heart out to put this incredible story out into the world.
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I received an e-ARC copy and could not recommend this graphic middle grade novel enough! Loved the story, the representation and uniqueness. I will be looking out for it on print!
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Shakti and her family move around a lot. It takes a toll on her having to make new friends. It's never an easy task and to have to start over and over again, it's just a lot for her. Her moms promise her that this will be a place they will be at for a while and encourage her to just try. She becomes friends with Xi and a few others who bond over being bullied by a group of girls they name H.E.K.. H.E.K. aka the mean girls, seem to be pulling strings and the teachers are their puppets. Shakti and Xi find out that H.E.K. have been casting spells over the school and want to take over the town in the same way.  Shakti, coming from a long line of folks able to invoke the goddess Durga Ma's powers, chooses to do just that to save the town. 

The artwork is just beautiful. I was hoping to learn Indian culture and I did. Durga Ma and Kali Ma were knew to me and the lessons learned through their introduction was greatly appreciated. Durga Ma being the epitome of femininity, power, determination, strength and protection is depicted as the more reasonable of the two even though she is also the goddess of war and destruction. Kali Ma being the goddess of creation, destruction and preservation was depicted as the more volatile of the two. Kali Ma seen as the goddess willing to do what others are not to protect is also seen as the most compassionate. 

Within Skakti, I see all of Kali Ma's attributes including the compassion. Shakti learns that although anger is not a negative emotion, holding on to it, not realizing that it is there or not acknowledging that it is there, can lead to a destructive path. She learns that through family she has ties to Durga Ma but that Kali Ma has chosen her and her sister and that she is not a bad goddess to have on your side. 

Overall, I really liked this story and as a result I want to learn more about these and other Hindu goddesses. Fun fact--Durga Ma is also known as Shakti. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me a review copy via Netgalley.
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Forgot to give feedback for this, but I read SHAKTI a while back and loved it! It's a witchy middle grade graphic novel about an Indian-American girl learning to use her ancestral magic. It was so cute and fun, while also dealing with bullying and holding/letting go of anger. The art was amazing and I loved the casual queer rep too. It comes out soon (May 23), so definitely keep your eye out for this one.
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Shakti has moved a LOT. She's used to being the new girl, though her newest school has more problems than usual. Shakti and her friends will need all their skills, magic and otherwise, to deal with the trio of girls running the school. 

Very fun, quick read that shows the power of intention and emotion while also humanizing even antagonists. The art is absolutely gorgeous.
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This was such a fun middlegrade graphic novel! I loved learning about the magic system alongside the usual trials and tribulations of school bullies and friendship struggles. I think this will be a very popular book amongst the age range it is aimed at.
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- you can’t go wrong with a good witchy, middle grades graphic novel about family and friendship!
- I loved the representation in this one! South Asian lesbian moms!!! I had so many students who would’ve seen themselves in this book, and I would’ve added it to my library in a heartbeat.
- I loved the magical system in this one. There’s so many interesting ways that this universe could be explored, and I really hope they’re sequels.
- I love the way light and dark or good vs evil/chaos was explored. This is such a key concept for this age group, and it was done really well!
- the illustrations were incredible! I’d highly recommend a physical book to really appreciate some of the larger spreads.
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Shakti by SJ Sindu, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali. HarperAlley, HarperCollins Children’s Book, 2023.  
Thank you HarperAlley for providing an e-book copy through NetGalley.  
Rating: 1-5 (5 being a starred review) 4.5
Genre: Fantasy Graphic Novel

What I Liked: Shakti is sick of moving from place to place because of her mom’s job. 
She has a hard time making friends normally, and moving only adds to the loneliness. So, when one of her moms gets pregnant and they settle down in Amherst, Massachusetts, Shakti hopes that this will be their permanent residence and that she can finally make some friends. Luckily, her prayers are answered when, on the first day of seventh grade, Shakti bonds with fellow classmate Xi over manga and weird food choices, and the two quickly become good friends. Unfortunately, she also catches the attention of HEK - the school’s meanest girl group - who decide that Shakti will be their new target for bullying. Xi comforts her as Shakti endures the teasing and awful words until she notices something strange about the school and its teachers. It’s like they are hypnotized to do everything HEK wants them to do and shun Shakti and her friends entirely. 

Suspicious, Shakti and Xi investigate and witness HEK performing dark magic to put the whole school under their spell. Shakti, however, is not helpless to their magic, because her own mom is a witch herself! Through ancient Indian magic, her mom teaches Shakti and Xi how to call on the powerful goddess Durga Ma to stop Hek, but warns about the goddess’s dangerous twin, Kali Ma - the destroyer. If Shakti uses magic out of anger, Kali will rise and proceed to ravage the world. Can Shakti summon the strength to call on Durga Ma and stop HEK’s plans, or will she succumb to her anger and unleash Kali Ma upon the innocent?

Shakti is a fun middle grade graphic novel featuring Indian (Hindu) magic, witches, family bonds, and friendship. Shakti is an understandable character with the drive to do what’s right but also the negative emotions that surround victims of bullying. Her moms, though strict, are loving and supportive, and only want the best. Xi is a great support for Shakti, helping every step of the way, even though they don’t have magic of their own. The illustrations are charming, the dialogue realistic, and the portrayal of Hindu goddesses and magic is fun to see. Throughout the graphic novel, Shakti will provide readers with informational blurbs, separate to the story, that explain Indian mythology, beliefs, and magic for those who want more context and want to learn more about the culture. Shakti and one of her moms is Indian, her other mom is African-American, and Xi is East Asian (Chinese). The rest of their friend group is diverse, and HEK is mostly white. 

What I Didn’t Like: Nothing!
Who Would I Recommend This To: Kids who like graphic novels, witches and witchcraft, and mythology, especially Hindu mythology. 

Review Date: May 2, 2023
Posted to Goodreads: May 3, 2023
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You know when you only intend to look inside a book and actually sit down to read it later? Yeah, that is what I thought I was going to do with this book. I ended up reading it when I should have been doing other things, because it grabbed me from the first page, and took me on a wild ride.

Shakti is the first born in her family, and because of that, she has been gifted with power from the goddess Durga Ma. There is magic everywhere, but having the goddess help you focus it, makes it work better and stronger. 

And in typical middle grade stories, there are bullies, and the teachers don’t seem to notice the bullies. But for once, there is a good reason for that. The bullies have used magic to make it so that the adults only see them do good things.

Shakti, who is new to the school, refuses to let them win, so she calls on the goddess, but on the dark side, because she is angry, and all heck brakes loose.

Beautiful illustrations. Fun, quick adventure. What more could you ask for?

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. This book comes out from Harper Collins the 23rd of May 2023.
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