cover image We Light Up the Sky

We Light Up the Sky

Lilliam Rivera. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0376-3

Three Latinx teens must team up to protect Earth and stop an alien invasion converging on a post-Covid-19 Los Angeles in Rivera’s (Never Look Back) thought-provoking, genre-savvy work of speculative fiction. When a cadre of aliens known as the Visitors lands on Earth, Fairfax High students Pedro, Luna, and Rafa barely exist in each other’s orbits. Well-dressed Pedro appears self-assured but struggles with a difficult home life; bright and popular Luna carries deep, still-raw grief; and quiet transfer student Rafa tries not to reveal that his family is unhoused. But when one of the Visitors takes on the likeness of Luna’s dead cousin, the three must work together to warn their city of the latent alien threat and keep each other safe. Told in the third person and following the three teens’ perspectives, Rivera grounds the novel in its setting—a vivid, fully realized alternate version of Los Angeles—and in the precision of her young protagonists’ struggles and truths. Sharp social commentary, on-point humor (“I’m not mentally prepared for this part of the dystopia”), and a tender exploration of grief add heart and depth to a novel that’s just right for fans of Attack the Block. Ages 13–up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary. (Oct.)