Shakti is used to being the new girl at school.
She and her two moms have moved more times than she can count. With her unborn baby brother on the way, Shakti hopes her family has found its forever home in Amherst, Massachusetts, and that she can finally make friends.
On her first day of seventh grade, she meets Xi, and they bond over their shared passion for manga (and pizza with mayo). But the three meanest girls in school—Harini, Emily, and Kelly (aka HEK)—are determined to make life miserable for Shakti and her new friends.
When Shakti and Xi discover HEK casting spells in the woods, they fear what might happen to the other kids at school. Drawing on ancient Indian magic, Shakti seeks the aid of Durga Ma to stop HEK. But instead, Shakti accidentally conjures Kali Ma, the destroyer—Durga Ma’s dangerous twin. Kali Ma punishes HEK by transforming them into monsters and curses the entire town.
As more and more people begin to fall ill, including one of Shakti’s moms, will Shakti be able to harness her own strength, power, and empathy to save those she loves—and put an end to all the hate?
Interview with Style Weekly Richmond
"Fiercely courageous characters and a gripping narrative further elevate this exhilarating fantastical adventure." – Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Vibrantly illustrated by Ali, Sindu’s debut graphic novel braids Hindu mythology with the importance of family and friendship, creating an accessible book that will be of interest to many readers." – Rebekah J. Buchanan, School Library Journal
"This trim graphic novel offers all the right elements of magic, school struggles, and family negotiations to satisfy young readers." – The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Ali’s luminous, expressive, jewel-toned illustrations steal the show, highlighting the broadly diverse cast and supernatural happenings...Sindu’s protagonist lives up to the meaning of her name, “energy of the universe,” as she learns lessons about anger, balance, courage, and compassion. Powerful and enthralling." – Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Shakti
"A bright, fierce, beautiful book centering the power of friendship, family, and self-acceptance. I wish I could've been friends with Shakti when I was a kid." — Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Mine and Camp Scare
"I loved this magical journey Shakti, her friends, and her family took me on. Such a fun and compelling depiction of girl power!" — M-E Girard, Stonewall Award winning author of Girl Mans Up and Then Everything Happens at Once
"A bold, big-hearted—and breathtakingly beautiful—book that casts its spell from the start.
Our titular heroine, the unstoppable Shakti, is named for the magic woven into the universe, its energy—one which we may all call upon. And she lives up to her name. Being yourself and fighting for what you believe in can be a harrowing, heart-wrenching, as well as heart-quenching quest—and, in Shakti’s case, even mean putting your life and the lives of those you love at stake. But with a little courage, conviction—and a commitment to compassion—you just may find home and safe spaces in unexpected places and people, in family born and found, all along the way.
And in your own magic.
SJ Sindu brings her gift for bewitching page-turning prose, on vivid display in her adult writings, to her first journey into middle grade/graphic novels—and with poetic panache. Partnered with Nabi H Ali’s resplendent and riveting art, this creates just one dilemma for the reader: Shakti is both a page-turner and page-yearner. The pacey plot will have you flicking forward fast…but then, time and time again, scrolling back: to slow down, sink in, and savour the stunning visuals.
Transporting and timely. Feminist, diverse, inclusive—and universal.
Pure magic." — Tanuja Desai Hidier, author of Born Confused and sequel Bombay Blues