This book has so much heart. The magical realism element adds depth and creates a complex, yet fresh, metaphor with the word "alien". The story is a classic high school makeover-and-revenge plot. What sets it apart from other #ownvoices YA is the pansexual lead character, the trans love interest, the otherworldly best friend, and many unique small town dramatics. Think Miss Congeniality: the New Mexico high school Latinx edition.
This is a story of the impossible. "A" wakes up in a new body every day: male or female teen, the same geographical area, and never a body twice. That's 24 hours to have the least impact, to get through the day and have a neutral effect. That is, until "A" wakes up in the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend. Now "A" is going against better judgment to see her and kindle a relationship -- but at what cost? A beautiful, tender examination of gender amidst a variety of topical issues: mental health, first love, and biological family.
What's most striking about this story is how much you care. From the first page, I was entranced and had no real interest in doing anything else with my life until I got to the last page. The story follows three sisters who are being haunted by their late sister's ghost. And yet, it's also not really about that at all. It's about grief, sisterhood, survival and taking back power. Not to mention that the writing is such that it constantly leaves you in an aftermath of wonder. I'm positive I'll be thinking of the Torres sisters for years to come.
This books is as unrelenting as the abuse endured within its pages. Its equal parts Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens and Angela Carter. This beautifully written suburban gothic is cut through with shards of magical realism and propped up by the sympathetic voice of the protagonist. It surveys the laborious nature of trauma and the dissociation required to cope.
Is it fate that intertwines 17-yr-old Xochi and 12-yr-old Pallas, or is it simply kindred spirit? On the night of the Autumn Equinox, they cast a playful spell and summon two eerie, green forest children - "Water Babies" in Native American lore - but these creatures do more than cause vivid dreams. Told from multiple POV's (including a bookstore cat!) with interludes in verse and oral storytelling, Keil's debut is a lush, magical novel of first loves and found family.
A delightfully dark "New Adult" read for fans of Francesca Lia Block, Sherman Alexie, and Hayao Miyazaki.
If Haruki Murikami had been born in Mexico and raised in southern Texas, this is the book he would have written. It's futuristic and hallucinogenic look at that region gives us a unique and welcome lens to view the border.
After her mother's suicide, Leigh and her father struggle through their now-greyscale world. When a great red bird deposits a box of family mementos on her porch, Leigh knows undoubtedly that this bird is her mother. She journeys to Taiwan and dives headfirst into the trauma of her family's past, but the weight of old grief and of new memories compounds. A moving portrait of finding oneself again after tremendous loss.