cover image Wild Dreamers

Wild Dreamers

Margarita Engle. Atheneum, $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-665-93975-1

Seventeen-year-old Ana and her mother live in their car in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a rewilded military outpost. Most of her botanist mother’s government salary is being allocated to locating Ana’s disappeared father. While walking through the park one night, Ana encounters a puma, as well as a Cuban boy named Leandro, whose service dog, Cielo, helps him manage panic attacks, which have become more frequent since his family’s dangerous journey to the states via boat. Though Ana leaves before they can exchange numbers, Leandro’s transfer to a new high school, and a serendipitous job offer for Ana’s mother, ensure that their paths cross again. Distinctive verse by Engle (Wings in the Wild) portrays Ana and Leandro’s alternating perspectives to fully immerse readers in this sweetly rendered romance, adding depth to the teens’ parallel journeys. Additionally, sections titled “Cielo the singing dog” contribute levity to serious moments. It’s a heartwarming and inspiring eco-centric read that addresses timely issues such as conservation of wildlife and emphasizes the importance of people’s connecting to nature—and each other. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Humphrey, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Apr.)