cover image The Immortal Boy

The Immortal Boy

Francisco Montaña Ibáñez, trans. from the Spanish by David Bowles. Levine Querido, $17.99 (176p) ISBN 978-1-64614-044-2

Two stories told in parallel converge tragically in this poignant dual-language YA novel set around Bogotá, Colombia. After a seemingly fearless boy stops a group of kids from tormenting her at an orphanage, Nina decides “to catch him and make him my friend.” There’s just one problem: the mysterious “Immortal Boy,” whom “bullets can’t kill,” prefers to avoid others’ company. Elsewhere in Bogotá, five siblings live in a single room, fighting to keep themselves fed and safe until their father’s return. But when one of them, 13-year-old Hector, is accused of stealing and loses his job, he seeks help from an untrustworthy source, with dire consequences. The novel, told in both first and third person, presents Montaña Ibáñez’s original Spanish text alongside Bowles’s adept English translation. While depictions of extreme poverty and implied gun violence may prove triggering for some readers, the stark beauty of Montaña Ibáñez’s narrative will give those who pick it up much to contemplate. Ages 12–up. [em](Mar.) [/em]