cover image All the Crooked Saints

All the Crooked Saints

Maggie Stiefvater. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-93080-2

In this lushly written tale set in 1962 Colorado, Stiefvater explores the complex and interconnected nature of desires, fears, and miracles via a Mexican-American family known for producing saints. Pilgrims come to the desert of Bicho Raro seeking cures to their woes, but the miracles they receive from the Soria saints are seldom what they expect. One winds up covered in moss, another only able to repeat what is said to her; these miracles are a “two-step process,” and it’s up to the pilgrims to unlock the meanings behind these transformations. When Daniel, the current saint, violates the Sorias’ greatest taboo, his family, including intellectual Beatriz and pirate radio deejay Joaquin, and the pilgrims of Bicho Raro must drive off the darkness that emerges. The language of legend and magical realism suffuse this sprawling and intimate novel; while the book’s tone is all its own and Stiefvater remains a summarily confident wordsmith, the setup, which sees a volatile family wrestling with unpredictable magic and forbidden romances, echoes her Raven Cycle books fairly closely. Dense, tricky, and thought-provoking. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)