The Jumbies is a modern take on Haitian folktales about the strange creatures who inhabit the forest. Eleven-year-old Afro Caribbean Corrine attracts the notice of an especially evil Jumbie named Severine, who takes an interest in Corrine’s almost-magically delicious oranges. Readers will be chilled as Corrine’s formerly warm relationship with her widowed father turns to ice as Severine’s hold over her family grows. While slightly slow to build, the story’s pace gathers speed, concluding in an epic battle between the villagers and the various legions of Jumbies. The likable supporting cast is well-developed, all with distinct personalities and character arcs. Though plenty scary, The Jumbies is less gruesome than the similarly dark A Tale Dark and Grimm (Adam Gidwitz, Dutton, 2010). An author’s note provides information about the source folktales and the author’s Trinidadian upbringing. Review based on an ARC.
Mary Dubbs, Oakland PL