In the new novel Maya and the Rising Dark, Maya thinks she’s a normal girl living in a normal neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. Then she learns that her father has magical powers, and that he’s been using them to guard a veil between the everyday world and a world of dark magic. When he goes missing, Maya learns she has the same powers. She must use them to save her father and fight the Lord of Shadows, who’s trying to cast our world in darkness.
Rena Barron wrote the book. As a child, she spent summers on the South Side of Chicago, and she wanted the story to reflect the city she knows. “There was such a sense of community there,” she told TIME for Kids. “We all knew each other, and we all looked out for each other.” The characters in the book do the same, protecting and helping Maya on her adventure.
“I hope that people enjoy the overall journey that Maya faces,” Barron says. “She goes from the safety of her community to facing her fears with bravery.”