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The Night Parade Hardcover – January 5, 2016

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5–7—A young teen learns to appreciate tradition and think more of others than herself after some unsettling interactions with magical beings. Nascent mean girl (or at least uncaring follower) Saki would much rather hang out with her—for lack of a better term—"friends" in Tokyo than accompany her parents and younger brother to her grandmother's tiny mountain village during summer vacation, but she has no choice. Almost immediately, she falls in with the wrong crowd, who goad her into a disrespectful act at her family's ancestral shrine, which, combined with lazy, uncaring preparations for the Obon ceremony, gets her in deep trouble with the spirits. Now Saki has three nights to undo the death curse she's brought down on her family. Her guides in the Night Parade include an untrustworthy four-tailed fox, a feathered tengu (a heavenly doglike creature), and a mischievous tanuki (a subspecies of raccoon dog) in the shape of a furry teapot. Saki has adventures of all sorts—funny, scary, dangerous, disgusting—and ultimately prevails, though not without whining, backsliding, giving up, and then starting over again and again. She is smug, sarcastic, and basically unlikable at the start but in the end is potentially nicer and more respectful, both of herself and others. VERDICT An entertaining mix of Japanese folklore and teen angst, suitable for larger collections.—Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library


"Wonder and imagination abound in Tanquary's debut, a fantasy set in a contemporary Japanese mountain village; filled with respect and admiration for cultural tradition, it evokes both Grimm's fairy tales and Miyazaki's films...Vivid details and realistic situations ensure accessibility, and subtle teaching moments are wrapped in wide-eyed enchantment. " - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"[A] marvelous original debut novel, inspired by Japanese mythology and spookily reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's terrifying "Coraline."" - The Buffalo News

"A suspenseful middle-grade fantasy debut evocative of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and classic films like Jim Henson's Labyrinth and Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away...This dark adventure serves as a terrific introduction to Japanese legends, with the weird and wondrous on full display.
" - Shelf Awareness

"An entertaining mix of Japanese folklore and teen angst" - School Library Journal

"This adventurous story perfectly mixes Saki's tech-savvy tendencies with ancient Japanese customs, nicely illustrating the connections between the past and the present." - Bookish.com

"Tanquary excels at creating a world where both Japanese beliefs and cosmic mythology are real and co-exist" - TeenReads

"This has significant shades of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, and it will appeal especially to readers with an interest in adventure stories and Japanese folklore." - Booklist

"This story will be a hit for those who are fans of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, with its interesting characters and creative plot" - School Library Connection

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492623245
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492623243
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I would like to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

Unfortunately this book was not for me. It held a lot of promise from the blurb and cover… but I found it a rather slow paced and long winded tale that took a long time to actually get on with the story.

To give it to the book some positives – as it deserves them – I did love the setting, story concept and plot. It was well written and painted a vivid picture for the reader. It was just a slow read for me.

I do wonder if the fault lay with this particular reader? As much as I enjoy YA work… perhaps this was a little too young for me and that is where the main fault lies? Then again, I can’t see my almost eleven year old enjoying the book either as the paces was very slow and I feel she would grow bored of it and not finish. I could be wrong, but to me the slow pace really killed it for me.

From the amount of positive reviews others have given this book, I really do feel I just didn’t gel with it as much as I hoped and do hope others get more out of it if they choose to read it.

Would I recommend this book to others? Possibly. Because of the unique setting and theme I know a lot of young girls my eldest daughter’s age who might like to give it a read as they enjoy a lot of the old Japanese tales. But I would worry they would give up half-way through as it takes so long to get anywhere… so not too sure.

Would I buy this book for myself? Sadly no. It held a lot more promise than what it actually delivered. I commend the author and publisher for producing such a unique tale… I just wish it wasn’t so sluggish in its pace.

In summary: A well written, if not slow paced story. Possibly better suited for a younger mind as the setting, plot and descriptions deserve a big thumbs up. This book was just not for me.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saki behaved the way I’d expect a 13 year old girl to act, when dragged out into the middle of nowhere and forced to leave her friends behind. Which is to say, she was an almost unlikeable little brat. Which while realistic, wasn’t much fun to read about. Luckily, once the curse came into play, she started to grow up a bit.

I loved the kitsune the best of the three spirit guides Saki met. And I liked the tanuki the least. Which was kind of amusing because the kitsune tells Saki that everyone likes the third spirit (the tanuki) the best once they’ve met them. I didn’t dislike him, I just liked the kitsune and the tengu better.

I also really liked Saki’s grandmother. Her parents and brother didn’t speak to me one way or the other, but the grandmother made me wish we’d gotten to know more about her. The various spirits Saki meets were interesting, and I loved that there were a number of different types. From Kappa and Ogres, to objects that had been around long enough to earn themselves a soul.

I liked Saki by the end of the book, and I’m glad she managed to make a human friend. Though I do wonder what happened with her friends back in Tokyo. There was a plot thread that never did get resolved there.

There were a lot of Japanese folklore and myths that came to life in this book. Nothing I hadn’t heard of before, but I’m also a folklore addict. For those of you who aren’t, there will most likely be quite a few things new to you in this book.

3.5 Stars

(cross-posted to my blog)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautifully told story of a young girl who gets caught up in a Japanese legend. Reminded me a bit of Spirited Away to begin with and then took off in another direction. Would love if she wrote another book about Saki and her new friend, Maeda. The artwork by Alexander Jansson is beautiful, as usual.
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Format: Hardcover
Review based on advanced reader copy received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What I think I enjoyed most about this book is the imagination that went into it. This is something I would like to recommend to my friends' children (only because I don't yet have my own!) because it's smart and thoughtful and ultimately has a good message without feeling preachy.

Saki (middle-grade) is forced to spend several days during her precious summer vacation in the village where her grandmother lives, preparing for the annual Obon ceremony (honoring the dead), rather than with her friends in her big-city Tokyo. She is, as expected, sullen about the retreat, spending the time with her family, and being without good signal on her cell phone. Looking for any way to have some real fun during this antiquated ritual time, Saki agrees to go with several local kids (typical troublemakers) to her family's property and dishonors it in an attempt to prove both her bravery and her coolness. Saki unknowingly invokes a death cure and opens the door to the spiritual world.

In the nights that follow -- the nights of the Night Parade -- Saki is guided by various spirits, meets good and evil spirits, and learns a lot about the village, the importance of the rituals and honor, and herself.

I thought Saki was written beautifully. She is a complex character, accurately depicting that pre-teen/teen angst, apathy, anger, care, and innocence all at once. She is frustrating and endearing and ultimately tries to do the right thing. I like that the path was not easy, that things were not always what they seemed, and that little efforts made big differences, both good and bad.

The book is pretty and soft and gentle, while addressing big and hard and deep issues.
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