To Read or Not to Read?

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

Note: I received a free galley of The Night Parade from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this copy of The Night Parade, a middle grade novel about a sullen young girl who ends up having to battle the forces of darkness and grow up along the way, many months ago. And after finally getting around to reading it I’m not entirely sure I should have bothered requesting it. I don’t mean to be harsh but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

The Night Parade sounded, and was, interesting enough. Saki is a somewhat bratty, spoiled little girl who gets roped into visiting her grandmother. She thinks the old traditions are boring which leads her into quite a bit of trouble. So over the course of three nights, and with the help of three magical guides, she has to lift a curse.

Now there were moments and characters that were cute and funny and there were some good lessons learned along the way but there was just something off about this book for me. Some of it may have been lost in translation. Not that the book was originally written in a different language, as far as I know, but with how very important Japanese culture was throughout the novel. I did understand quite a bit thanks to context clues and having picked up things from other shows and books. And it was a good learning experience, I did look up quite a bit of things as well, but then an actiony part of the book would have unfamiliar terms and I’d be bumped right out of the fantasy realm to pull out my phone and use a Google search. When it comes to magic on it’s own I can suspend belief but when it’s a real cultural thing I want to know instead of imaging something wrong.

And more on the characters. Everyone, but especially the spirits, were written pretty well. (I never thought it would be so easy to picture an umbrella communicating with someone but surprisingly enough it was!) But some of the character’s quirks were just too much, with repeated tics that got to be annoying. And Saki took way too long to finally start to grow up though maybe it wasn’t really that long (the middle of the book kind of dragged.) It seemed odd that she was able to suspend her disbelief in magic far quicker than she learned to listen to her guides and not be so rude. That may have actually been my biggest issue, that I didn’t really like Saki. I understand that she’s a very young girl and in a tough situation but still…manners, young lady!

So all in all The Night Parade wasn’t bad, I’d just say I wasn’t exactly the target audience. I typically get along really well with Young Adult books because they translate well even for adults. I would recommend this for middle schoolers, just not for adults who like to read YA.


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