We Set the Dark on Fire

Tehlor Kay Mejia. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-269131-6
In this debut starring Latina teens, Mejia spins a complicated tale of love, intrigue, moral compromise, and action, with a prescient sensibility that echoes current headlines and political issues. In an island nation divided by a wall, where tradition dictates that upper-class women marry out of duty and that every man has two wives, two school rivals are matched with the ambitious scion of a political family. Danielle Vargas, 17, has trained for years to be the perfect Primera, the ideal intellectual partner for her husband-to-be, while her friend-turned-foe, Carmen Santos, was born to be a Segunda, the passionate nurturer of the family. But the husband they must share, Mateo Garcia, is cold, domineering, secretive, and utterly uninterested in Danielle’s desire to help. When a revolutionary group uncovers her greatest secret—she’s from the impoverished side of the walled country and holds forged identity papers—they blackmail her into spying on the Garcia family. Even as Danielle becomes further embroiled in conspiracy and subversion, she and Carmen forge an unexpected and intense relationship. The first in a duology, this fierce, feminist novel throws memorable characters into a provocative set of circumstances, and the constant twists will leave readers yearning for the conclusion. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/17/2018
Release date: 02/26/2019
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-269133-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-290794-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-982610-63-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-982610-62-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-982610-64-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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