Posing as cousins, Sarah and James hide their true feelings to survive among the itinerant jimadors cutting maguey in New Mexico. An accident forces them to flee to a Texas ranch called the Real Marvelous, but their usual con job starts to backfire, as if the ghosts of their past are finally catching up to them. A vein of superstition courses through the tale, cut with stark realities, raw descriptions, and plenty of grit. Mabry (A Fierce and Subtle Poison) doesn’t revel in the brutality and blood spilled, nor does she shy from their place in the reality of ranch life. The depth of Sarah’s despair as she is broken by the desert and the weight of her losses—her dead sister and James’s love, among them—is palpable in her narration, peeling back layers of her story through memories that shape her character and explain her relationships and reactions. But an abrupt twist of fate in the final pages leads too easily to a nearly happy ending, robbing the story of some of its magnitude. Ages 14–up. Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffmann & Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017 Release date: 10/01/2017 Genre: Children's
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