cover image Each of Us a Desert

Each of Us a Desert

Mark Oshiro. Tor Teen, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-25016-921-1

Honesty, the weight of caregiving, and the space between absolution and compassion span deserts in this tender, postapocalyptic Latinx fantasy. As cuentista, restless Xochitl, 16, takes the village of Empalme’s confessions and spills them to the desert and Solís, the departed sun god who scorched the earth in punishment generations ago. When a roaming warlord plots massacre in Empalme, she breaks a cuentista’s strictest law—to magically forget confessions—and runs. But the warlord’s daughter enlists Xochitl’s help to return her home, where another cuentista can dispatch Xochitl’s powers—a journey through shining and ruined desert cities, shape-shifting beasts, hidden poetry, and an ever-unfolding, uncomfortable truth. In a storyteller’s cadences, #OwnVoices author Oshiro (Anger Is a Gift) maps a sincere journey through nuanced struggles: the weight of pain, how hope and complicity feed immigrant exploitation, and breaking flawed social cycles. While not always deft in handling complex moral territory, this ambitious, organically Spanish-studded examination of trauma stays adventurous and accessible, resulting in a grace-filled, loving declaration of human value and worth. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Sept.) [/em]