Pahua and the Soul Stealer

Pahua and the Soul Stealer
Age Range
Release Date
September 07, 2021
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Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Lori M. Lee's middle grade debut about a lonely Hmong girl who discovers she's a powerful shaman warrior in this fantasy inspired by Southeast Asian mythology.

"I love the adventures Pahua has in this book. I also love the sense of humor, the clever plotting, and the fantastic cast of characters. But most of all I love Pahua: her courage, her kindness, and her love for family."--NYT best-selling author Rick Riordan

Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood--whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can't be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt's old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother's return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother's soul before it's too late. Little does she know she'll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . .

With its unforgettable characters, unique nature-based magic system, breathtaking twists and reveals, and climactic boss battle, this story based on Hmong oral tradition offers everything a fantasy lover could want.

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2 reviews
Inspiring tale of embracing your uniqueness and fighting for those you love
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Pahua Moua doesn't exactly fit in with her classmates. Her closest friends are her younger brother and a cat spirit that no one else can see. When she gets the chance to make new friends, she accidentally unleashes a powerful spirit who steals her brother's soul. Attempting to channel her shaman aunt's abilities, she tries to summon the spirit and convince it to give her brother's soul back. Unfortunately, her efforts not only fail but actually make the situation worse. Now, Pahua and her new reluctant ally only have a handful of days to save her brother, all while evading demons and dragons determined to capture her.


-The theme of accepting and embracing who you are: Pahua knows she doesn't fit in at school, and after she meets Zhong, a kickbutt shaman warrior in training, Pahua notices only the ways she doesn't measure up. As her journey continues and reveals startling secrets about her identity, Pahua learns that heroes aren't always eager-to-fight warriors. Sometimes, heroes are those who see the truth in others and are loyal to those they love.

-Miv: Miv is Pahua's best friend and cat spirit. Like many cats, Miv is sassy and excellent at delivering one-liners. He pushes Pahua out of her comfort zone at times but still clearly loves her and wants to protect her.

-The spirit world- Lee does a fantastic job creating a layered, sometimes creepy, sometimes awe-inspiring spirit world where Pahua and Zhong go in their quest. The scenes in the spirit world are full of high emotion and high action, from the reveal of Pahua's identity in the middle of a sleeping curse to intense existential questions with tree spirits.

Filled with heart, friendship, and bravery, PAHUA AND THE SOUL STEALER proves that heroes don't always follow the same blue print.
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