Fall Scavenger Hunt // Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball

I started my fall scavenger hunt early because I was in a spooky reading mood. The first one I completed was to read a book with a pumpkin on the cover and boy did I find the cutest pumpkin on the cover ever! It's a pet pumpkin named Squashy and he gets kidnapped! The first book in the Amelia Fang series has perfect fall vibes. I actually ended up reading another book right after this one with a pumpkin on the cover - Raising the Horseman by Serena Valentino but that was for a separate challenge. I wouldn't be surprised if I attempt to get to reading more pumpkins on the cover this fall since I've found a good many. But let's talk about this one, shall we?

Amelia Fang is NOT looking forward to her mother's - Countess Frivoleeta - Barbaric Ball which she hosts each year. She is always bored at the dance where there is no one her age to play with. Her friends, Grimaldi (a young grim reaper) and Florence (a yeti who does not like being called a Beast) never attend the ball. This year though, she is in luck since the prince of Nocturnia, Tangine, will be starting at night school and attending the ball with her. 

When the young prince arrives at night school she is chosen to show him around since her father, Count Drake the Third used to be best friends with the King of Nocturnia. Amelia is surprised to discover that Prince Tangine is not as nice as she expected. His mom, the queen, died tragically by fairy magic so all the adults are rather sensitive to his needs. They let him get away with everything. However, by calling her friend a beast repeatedly and stealing her pet pumpkin Squashy has gone too far! With the help of her two best friends, Amelia Fang will do everything to save Squashy even if it means getting on the prince's bad side. But why does the prince act this way and what secrets is he hiding from his past?

Positives: This is a cute read with spooky elements. The character designs are on point. I especially liked Grimaldi as a young Grim Reaper. I thought that having a pet pumpkin was such a great idea and added to the sweet factor in this book. Amelia Fang herself gives Prince Tangine the benefit of the doubt but doesn't back down when he hurts her friend's feelings or keeps taking whatever he wants. She is a very supportive friend and is open-minded about Prince Tangine's secrets. The butler ghost named Woo was such a funny character as well as the only adult that had Amelia's back.

Negatives: I'm just old so what I consider "boy humor" wasn't my favorite thing but it wasn't a deterrent. Almost all the adults let Tangine do what he wanted which I understood as a plot device but I would hope that Amelia's parents wouldn't let her pet get taken away or would attempt to say something. Amelia was outspoken so I feel like there should have been an attempt to make it more believable.

Final Thoughts: A cute, spooky read for kids who aren't into being scared. The illustration style was *chef's kiss* Some great takeaways of how to treat others kindly and accept people's differences. I am curious to see how the plot continues but I'm not sure about reading six more books in the series. Still, the second book would be worth the try.


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