cover image Dealing in Dreams

Dealing in Dreams

Lilliam Rivera. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7214-2

In this dystopian novel by Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez), 16-year-old Chief Rocka leads her five-girl crew Las Mal Criadas, one of the violent all-female guardian gangs that keep order in Mega City, a metropolis still recovering from an earthquake that occurred generations ago. Rocka’s mother died when she was young, and her father and sister disappeared soon after, so the LMC is her only family. After losing a public match at the request of Déesse, Mega City’s leader, Rocka is asked to lead the LMC outside of the city into Cemi Territory to infiltrate the Ashé Ryders, a group that may pose a threat to Déesse’s society. The discoveries that Rocka and her crew make there will challenge their notions of how cultures should be organized. Rivera’s women-led metropolis may seem just at first, but later chapters reveal the society’s subjugation of men and strictly binary view of sexual identity, along with its citizens’ state-sponsored drug reliance. Rivera showcases multiple intricate character arcs and details several societies through impressive worldbuilding; young readers drawn to complex action novels that challenge conventions will find this read rewarding. Ages 14–up. [em](Mar.) [/em]