The Last Cuentista

Donna Barba Higuera. Levine Querido, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64614-089-3
An aspiring young storyteller with retinitis pigmentosa discovers that she’s the only one who remembers life on Earth after waking up 380 years in the future in this suspenseful speculative novel. In the year 2061, a solar flare has altered the course of Halley’s Comet, putting Earth and its inhabitants right in its trajectory. Twelve-year-old Petra Peña, a resourceful Mexican American preteen who longs to follow in her cuentista grandmother’s footsteps and tell stories for a living, successfully boards one of the last ships off-world—as do members of a dangerous, cultlike group called The Collective. When Petra awakens centuries later at the ship’s destination, she quickly realizes that The Collective has wiped the memories—or lives—of her fellow passengers, and she must use her wits and Mexican folklore to protect the remaining humans and avoid the same fate. Through Petra’s gut-wrenching, tenderly crafted narrative arc, author Higuera (Lupe Wong Won’t Dance) explores how story can awaken empathy, hope, and even resistance in an audience. This is the work of a true cuentista: gripping, euphonious (“The wind carried it off far away into the stars”), and full of storytelling magic. Ages 10–14. Agent: Allison Remcheck, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/10/2021
Release date: 08/17/2021
Genre: Children's
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