cover image Lucha of the Night Forest

Lucha of the Night Forest

Tehlor Kay Mejia. Make Me a World, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-59-33783-66

Lyrical prose and fiercely characterized protagonists make up the heart of this propulsive fantasy adventure by Mejia (Miss Meteor). To support her drug-dependent mother and restless younger sister Lis in the corrupt city of Rabado, 16-year-old Lucha Moya uses her invisibility to hunt dangerous beasts in the nearby Bosque de la Noche. After her mother suddenly disappears on what Lucha assumes is another episode prompted by Olvida—an addictive drug that “steal[s] your cares, your worries, your memories”—empty cupboards force Lucha to pursue ever more dangerous bounties in the forest. The Ricos, who both run the city and supply Olvida, soon threaten to evict the sisters, and Lis volunteers herself for indentured servitude in the Olvida greenhouses. Lucha is forced to turn to El Sediento, a legend of the forest, who promises to give her the power to save her sister and destroy Olvida—for a deceptively simple price. Slight worldbuilding and uneven pacing are balanced out by high stakes, a lushly described Latin America–inspired setting teeming with dark atmospherics, and an unforgettable queer romance. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary. (Mar.)