Beasts of Prey by Ayana Grey follows sixteen year old Koffi as she tends to the beasts of the notorious Night Zoo in an attempt to help pay off her family's debts. It also follows Ekon, a would be warrior who just wants to prove he can be who everyone thinks he should be. And even a bit from a 3rd POV, Adiah. I loved that this book both political intrigue, forbidden magic, and a friendship that slowly blossoms on the page.
I love how fierce and determined Koffi is. She is willing to go to whatever lengths possible to free her family. And sweet bean Ekon, whom I'm pretty sure has underlying/undiagnosed OCD or anxiety, just wants to prove himself.
Ayana Grey's debut novel is definitely one I hope to see in schools and libraries. It is filled with hope and adventure and magic that everyone needs in their lives.
There are trigger warnings that you should definitely check out before picking up but I do highly recommend giving it a chance.