Lia Park and the Missing Jewel -- Asian Middle Grade Fantasy Novel Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I get to share with you a new middle school fantasy novel. It is the first book in a series and is being released on May 3rd. Since the main characters are Korean it is also a perfect book to pick up for Asian Pacific Island American Heritage Month. The book is Lia Park and the Missing Jewel by Jenna Yoon. It is recommended for ages 8 to 11.

From the Publisher:

Perfect for fans of the Storm Runner and Aru Shah series, this thrilling middle grade fantasy follows a young girl who must venture to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King in Korea to save her parents from an evil diviner spirit.

Twelve-year old Lia Park just wants to fit in. Her parents work with a mysterious organization that makes them ridiculously overprotective. Lia’s every move has been scrutinized since she was born, and she’d love to have the option of doing something exciting for once. So when she gets invited to the biggest birthday party of the year—and her parents say she can’t go—Lia sneaks out.

But her first act of rebellion not only breaks her parents’ rules, but also an ancient protection spell, allowing an evil diviner spirit to kidnap and ransom her parents for a powerful jewel that her family has guarded for years. With just the clothes on her back and some very rusty magical skills, Lia finds herself chasing mysterious clues that take her to her grandmother’s home in Korea.

From there, she has to make their way to the undersea kingdom of the Dragon King, the only person who knows where the powerful jewel might be. Along with her friend, Joon, Lia must dig deep and find courage to stand up for those who are weak—and become the hero her parents need.

From Me:

This book is so fun! It starts out with Lia being a kid who is upset because her magic hasn't shown up and it should have. She is trying to figure out how she is going to be a normal--non-magic kid. However, while being a normal kid, she sets in motion a series of events that brings brings her into the magic world and where she discovers her magic and so much more. It is a story about friendship, family, honor, and discovery. It is also just a fun story that has you wanting to read more. 

The magic is fun, and the twists and turns make it even more interesting. The characters are well developed, and kids will definitely relate to Lia wanting to fit in and her rebellion from her strict parents. The book creates a magical world within our real world and shares some culture from Korea. Throughout the book Lia is forced to find herself and her strength. It is truly a story about becoming oneself. I hope you will check it out. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series to see what Lia does next!