When Dmitri, an eleven-year-old bird watcher and math whiz,
loses his mother to breast cancer, he is taken in by Mrs. Martin, an elderly
white woman. Unaccustomed to the company of kids his own age, D struggles at
school and feels like an outcast until a series of unexpected events changes
the course of his life.
First, D is asked to tutor the school’s basketball star,
Hakeem, who will get benched unless his grades improve. Against the odds, the
two boys soon realize they have something in common: they are both taunted by
kids at school—Hakeem because he is a Muslim—and they both have a crush on Nyla,
a beautiful but fierce eighth-grade army brat. Then Nyla adopts D and invites
him to join her entourage of “freaks.” Finally, D discovers a mysterious
injured bird and brings it home from the park.
D is stunned when the strange bird speaks to him, revealing
herself as a guiding spirit that has been held hostage by ghost soldiers who
died in Brooklyn at the start of the American Revolution. As Nuru’s chosen
host, D must carry her from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in lower
Manhattan, but the ghost soldiers won’t surrender their prize without a fight.
With the help of Hakeem and Nyla, D battles the Nether
Beings who lurk underground, feeding off centuries of rage and pain. But it
takes an unexpected ally to help the trio reach the ship that will deliver the
innocent souls of the dead back to Nuru’s realm.
An urban fantasy infused with contemporary issues and
historical facts, Ship of Souls will keep teen readers gripped until the
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