cover image All of Us with Wings

All of Us with Wings

Michelle Ruiz Keil. Soho Teen, $18.99 (360p) ISBN 978-1-64129-034-0

In this lyrical contemporary fantasy set in postpunk-era San Francisco, a young woman comes of age while serving as a live-in governess to a 12-year-old whose family is in a popular rock band. Biracial Mexican-American Xochi Madrid, 17, hitchhiked to San Francisco to escape past trauma and the man who sexually abused her. Now caught up in the lifestyle of a freewheeling, polyamorous household, Xochi grapples with her lack of direction, her reluctant attraction to 28-year-old band member Leviticus, and her responsibilities to his daughter, and her charge, brilliant Pallas, who’s rebelling in her own way. Amid this, a playful spell gone wrong accidentally summons two supernatural children who seek vengeance on anyone who has harmed Xochi. Keil’s atmospheric debut conjures up a setting both seductive and dangerous for her diverse cast of flawed characters. Following a number of supporting characters—including Peasblossom, a knowledgeable bookstore cat—Keil plays with prose and imagery, interweaving the dreamlike language of Francesca Lia Block with a Latin-American sensibility. The frank inclusion of sexual exploration and drug use adds an extra level of maturity to this thoughtful story about trauma and vengeance, adult decision making, and recovery. Ages 16–up. Agent: Hannah Fergesen, KT Literary. (June)