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Each of Us a Desert

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From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn a From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes. Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit. One night, Xo's wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town's murderous mayor. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match... if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down. Fresh off of Anger Is a Gift's smashing success, Oshiro branches out into a fantastical direction with their new YA novel, The Stars Around Us.


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From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn a From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes. Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit. One night, Xo's wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town's murderous mayor. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match... if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down. Fresh off of Anger Is a Gift's smashing success, Oshiro branches out into a fantastical direction with their new YA novel, The Stars Around Us.

30 review for Each of Us a Desert

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    I, personally, am a dessert [image error] | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram I, personally, am a dessert [image error] | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fadwa (Word Wonders)

    DNF @ 25% I just....am sad, you know? This was one of my most anticipated releases but it just didn't work for me. I loved the writing but I couldn't get a sense of who the main character is and the story was taking a long while to pick up so i just got bored 😭 i was feeling like it was putting me into a slump and I really don't want to start my month like that. Don't let this deter you though...might work for you better than it did for me! DNF @ 25% I just....am sad, you know? This was one of my most anticipated releases but it just didn't work for me. I loved the writing but I couldn't get a sense of who the main character is and the story was taking a long while to pick up so i just got bored 😭 i was feeling like it was putting me into a slump and I really don't want to start my month like that. Don't let this deter you though...might work for you better than it did for me!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    First of all, I want to thank Tor Teen for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest thoughts, celebrating "Latino Book Month" WOW, I'm really impressed by the quality, intensity, reality, and depth of this story, I think it will be one of those difficult reviews to write due to the emotional charge that this book gives me with its pages. There's so much that I could share with you about the book, but I'll try to give what I can without spoilers, throwing all my thoughts and First of all, I want to thank Tor Teen for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest thoughts, celebrating "Latino Book Month" WOW, I'm really impressed by the quality, intensity, reality, and depth of this story, I think it will be one of those difficult reviews to write due to the emotional charge that this book gives me with its pages. There's so much that I could share with you about the book, but I'll try to give what I can without spoilers, throwing all my thoughts and feelings here, so I hope it's understood. In summary, this book is a poem about the strengths and weaknesses of human beings. It's about overcoming fear & going in search of your own truth and your own destiny, I loved it, obviously! 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 You can find more of my reviews & other content on my blog A Book. A Thought. This story follows Xochitl, "la cuentista" of her village who one day, after a tragic and unexpected event, decides to go out to pursue the truth about her destiny and for this, she must undertake a dangerous journey across the desert. But their path ends up bumping into Emilia's, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town's murderous mayor, and together they'll go through hundreds of creepy and challenging obstacles to discover their destinies, and meanwhile, something magical begins to emerge between them. I loved it! Something really magical happened to me with this book, I knew that I would love it from the moment I started reading it, there's something in which it feels very captivating and unique, so it was inevitable for me to commit myself to the story and the characters. It's also super special for me due to the amount of Spanish I found in the story. If you're not Spanish-speaking, don't worry, the author makes everything understood perfectly anyway, but being Latina myself, it felts super nice to find a story that's so familiar and fluid in such a special way for you, you know? The plot is the most unique thing I've read in a while, and also something strange and difficult to explain, but I will try. In this book, as I mentioned before, we follow Xo, and she's a cuentista, which means that she has a special ability which allows her to retain people's stories and then deliver them to Solís (who's their god) and so allow these people to feel relieved and not be persecuted for their nightmares or past guilt, and after having delivered those stories Xo immediately forgets about them, but it does drain a lot of her energy which leaves her super tired until even make her sleepy for many hours. So this story focuses on this concept in a world where "Solís" has given this "privilege" to certain people, and they become the most important people in their villages, being a job or duty for life. On the other hand, even when everyone believes that being the cuentista is a great privilege, Xo feels drained by it, and after terrible situations, she begins to see it as a curse. Also, this "power" has been passed to her by her aunt before she died, which is why she has never had a real chance to be or do anything else, you know? And with all that comes this journey in which hundreds of magical, shocking, and supernatural things happen. In this book, we have a lot of magic happening all the time, even when they're atrocious situations because it's not a fairy tale, in fact, it's a very graphic, hard-hitting, and bloody book, so if you're an easily impressed person, I recommend discretion. I was so shocked when so many gory and brutal things begin to happen, I certainly didn't expect it, but I think it's the tone of the book and that scene remains throughout the course of it. So I could say that it's a survival story too, because the characters will have to face extreme climates under super scarce resources. In addition to the cuentistas, we also have other beings such as "Los Guardianes", "Los Sabuesos" and "Los Palidos" among others, who are represented in the form of animals (wolves, cats, bears) as well as in other humanoid forms. On the other hand, I can't fail to mention another kind of magic that occurs in the book and they are the relationships between each character, it felt so real to me, especially because there's a sub-plot in this story where Xo finds poems on the way and feels absolutely attracted to them for things that she still doesn't know and there's such a powerful message there of love and of super innocent and sweet energy. I think magic is also in everything the author shows us through small gestures. The writing style is wonderful, one of my favorite things about the book, it's easy to read but at the same time it's complex and poetic, and it fulfills with transmits all the feelings that the characters are going through, it's a story that although it focuses in fantasy you can feel its great power and strength in the realistic side. I can't wait to read more from the author to continue experiencing his unique style. In addition, the plot is told from Xo's perspective, but as telling everything that happened to Solís, which seemed like a great detail to me, as well as we also have small poems, which are beautiful. There's a female/female romance happening in the book and I adore it, especially since it's not 100% focused on it and it's not very heavy, in fact, it develops very naturally and is a slow-burn kind of romance, which I personally LOVE. I really enjoyed it, each scene of these girls interacting is wonderful, it's all super organic and perfectly imperfect. In addition to the romance, we have a lot of diversity, obviously, all the characters are Latinos, but we also have gay and lesbian representations, played in a very casual and natural way in these communities, which is great. The main character is Xochitl, and she's great! She's a super-strong young woman, she doesn't know it, though, because she has lived all her life in the same place and doesn't know much about life outside her village, but once she decides going out to discover, you can really see the inner strength that she has and a great conviction to find her truth. She has a super noticeable growth, she begins having many doubts about her life and what's true and what's not, and after facing so many obstacles that make her grow, we can see a different girl more determined and ready to decide for the first time for herself. I'm proud of the journey that Xo undertakes and above all, of her great growth and personal development. Emilia is amazing too, a super interesting character, she's the daughter of a ruthless man who goes village by village destroying everything, and at first, you don't know what her role really is, but when the character develops and we know her whole story, we can know the reason for her attitudes and decisions. I adore Emilia, she's a really kind soul, and she has gone through so many injustices that really breaks my heart, but also as Xo, she becomes strong and ready to show her true self. Then we have hundreds of characters that we know on our trip and others who live at each stop that the characters make, and although there's not much development of them, you do can appreciate their personalities and even feel connected to them and their lives. I want to mention Julio specifically because he's one of the most awful, evil and terrible villains that I've read in a long time, I really came to hate him, a ruthless man that dragged everything in his path for his desire for power . Then we have several wonderful and interesting souls that I will mention quickly like Rosalinda, Felipe, Manolito, Luz & Eliazar, all them AMAZING. The story takes place in the desert, so it's a fairly vast and desolate image that gives the story a lot of meaning in itself. We also toured villages and towns, desolate and ravaged by what was is called "La Quema". We also explore places underground, so the whole landscape is quite sad, but also very atmospheric and scary. This book, in addition to being wonderful because you go throughout a discovery journey and search for freedom, also discusses and questions many belief systems that these people have, and the characters are super confused because they've grown up thinking in a certain way and suddenly everything is uncertain and it seems that everything was a lie or that things aren't as they seem. I liked that this is discussed, as well as "realities are created by our beliefs" and that "we're shaped by the experiences that we live". The book forces the characters at times to challenge their biggest fears and is heartbreaking, but also eye-opening for them and makes the plot even more incredible. I think the blurb doesn't do the story justice, I don't think this is a simple romance, you know? This book is much more than that, it's self-discovery, it's facing the truth, it's fighting for your freedom, it's learning to put yourself first and be responsible for your decisions, and it's to grow and heal. It's wonderful and I'm very happy to have had the chance to read it. I know that maybe it's a disorganized review, but honestly, I couldn't explain all these feelings with words and do justice to the book, as well as it's a rather difficult and complex promise to explain in its entirety, even more without spoilers. But, I hope I've done my best and that you feel that desire to give it a chance because it's very worth it. It's a whimsical story and I would highly recommend it if you enjoy complex and weird storylines, but the best kind of weird, you know? I compare this story a lot with Seanan McGuire's stories, for some reason they resonate for me, and I remembered Middlegame a lot while reading this book for its original plot and its unexpected twists, but also for the whimsical and crazy of the stories and that power to make you addictive to them. I highly recommend it, and I hope you decide to give it a try as soon as it comes out on September 15th, 2020, I know you have to wait a little while but it's worth it, I promise. First Thoughts 05/17/20 LOVED IT! This is such an original, unique and shocking story, I really die for more people to read it in September when it's released and so everyone can enjoy it. It's heartbreaking but in the most beautiful way, It'is poetic and perfectly mixes an atmosphere of survival and horror, with deeper energy of love and personal growth.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adri

    CWs: Descriptions of graphic violence, injury, and death; allusions to animal deaths; instances of emotional abuse and domestic abuse. "We stretch ourselves: to fit within the roles we are given. To make ourselves look better to those around us. To convince one another that we are good people in a world so vacant. Each of us a desert." This is an ambitious fantasy novel that explores the power of stories—how we pass stories onto each other, how we hold stories in our hearts, and how our li CWs: Descriptions of graphic violence, injury, and death; allusions to animal deaths; instances of emotional abuse and domestic abuse. "We stretch ourselves: to fit within the roles we are given. To make ourselves look better to those around us. To convince one another that we are good people in a world so vacant. Each of us a desert." This is an ambitious fantasy novel that explores the power of stories—how we pass stories onto each other, how we hold stories in our hearts, and how our lives are the stories we tell ourselves and each other. Thematically, I found myself incredibly moved by this book. It calls to mind stories like The Deep by Rivers Solomon, in the sense that it's also about one person taking on a community's stories in the most literal sense. Like in Solomon's novella, Each of Us a Desert calls us to recognize that forgetting is not the same as healing, and that our obligation to ourselves matters every bit as much as our obligation to those around us. The magic and mythology surrounding cuentistas in this world is really well thought-out, because it emulates how a singular idea can exist across times and across cultures, but the manifestation of that idea or belief is rarely ever exactly the same from place to place. As Xochital travels further away from her home and the only way of life she's ever known, she's encountering people whose relationships to cuentistas are very different from her own, and that challenges this belief system she has always thought to be self-evident—a system dependent on her pain and her sacrifice. It's interesting to see how her faith is challenged and how these different beliefs can coexist without there being one "right way." Xochital's struggle is a universal one, I think, because she's trying to understand her place in the world and she's realizing for the first time that she doesn't have be defined by her role or her relationship to other people—that she is not only worth what she can provide to others. In her experience as a cuentista, her role is about being a fail-safe and maintaining everyone else's purity by cleansing them of their secrets and their stories. She has always seen contrition as a performance, and playing the part of cuentista doesn't leave room for her to just be a person with fears, and desires, and dreams. The stories she takes on literally take up space in her body, and she wants to reclaim that space and make room for her own stories for once. But there's also this community element of storytelling that I really appreciate, because we get to see that telling each other our stories makes them real, and gives people something to remember us by. So whether Xochital is taking on stories or giving them back to the desert, there is a feeling of connection and mutual transference there. I will say that this is not necessarily a plot-driven fantasy. The main conflict is interior conflict as Xochital is struggling to determine who she wants to be and where she sees her place in the world. So if you're not into gradually evolving, character-driven fantasies, this may not be for you. The bulk of the legwork is thematic and emotional, so that's something to keep in mind. I was also a little thrown off because the story did start off with a Big Bad, who was definitely a bit of a mustache-twirling type, but then they didn't end up playing a huge role in the story overall. It's one of those cases where I think maybe they're weren't truly needed in the story, because there's already a lot at stake, but that could just be me. All in all, I really enjoyed this story. It's a true journey in every sense of the word, and it really makes you want to see Xochital to the end of that journey. I'm excited to see where Mark Oshiro goes from here!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I loved this book. It was so beautiful. It’s difficult to describe the plot, so I’ll talk about everything else that I loved. This is the first book I’ve read by Mark Oshiro, and I adore his writing. It’s lyrical, atmospheric and utterly captivating, painting a vivid picture of this strange desert world with magical creatures, where danger lurks at every corner. I also liked how it here were numerous chapters about the lives of various side characters; this is an Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I loved this book. It was so beautiful. It’s difficult to describe the plot, so I’ll talk about everything else that I loved. This is the first book I’ve read by Mark Oshiro, and I adore his writing. It’s lyrical, atmospheric and utterly captivating, painting a vivid picture of this strange desert world with magical creatures, where danger lurks at every corner. I also liked how it here were numerous chapters about the lives of various side characters; this is an aspect of storytelling that doesn’t work in every book, but I thought it worked well here. The protagonist, Xochitl, travels far away from home, embarking on a journey to a faraway place. I loved her character; she was brave and kind, and I really enjoyed watching her struggling to break free from the person she was told she had to be. Her growth throughout the story was fantastic to witness, as she slowly realised her own worth and what she wanted from the world. The side characters she meets along the way were also excellent — all of them had their own backstories and distinct personalities. Furthermore, the slow burn romance between the protagonist and another female character was tender and adorable. This is probably one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. It’s not really an action-packed book — I would say that much of what happens focuses on Xochitl’s internal turmoil, as well as Emilia’s. But I hope that that doesn’t deter you, because I still thoroughly enjoyed the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    4.75* This is a book unlike any I've read before. It's also quite difficult to properly describe and review this book. I don't think I have words to do it justice. Mark Oshiro's writing conveys an atmospheric, beautiful, lyrical, magical post-apocalyptic desert world that had been burned by Solis (the sun god) in an event called "La Quema". Xochitl is a 16 year old cuentista of her village., who was given her powers when she was 8 years old. A cuentista is a storyteller, but instead of telling t 4.75* This is a book unlike any I've read before. It's also quite difficult to properly describe and review this book. I don't think I have words to do it justice. Mark Oshiro's writing conveys an atmospheric, beautiful, lyrical, magical post-apocalyptic desert world that had been burned by Solis (the sun god) in an event called "La Quema". Xochitl is a 16 year old cuentista of her village., who was given her powers when she was 8 years old. A cuentista is a storyteller, but instead of telling tales, they take people's stories of wrongdoings or sins, to basically absolve them. Xochitl takes the tale into herself, then goes out into the desert, and gives the stories back to the earth to go back to Solis. Certainly, I did not find this a very easy book to get through. There were times when I felt like I'm also stuck in the desert, with the heat oppressive and heavy. That's definitely a compliment to the author's skill. This is also a book that explores faith and fate. The power of words is shown, as the stories la cuentista take in are alive and can cause pain. There's also the power of the poemas that draws Xochitl. They're spread out in the desert written by an unknown poet. They gave shape and form to what she's feeling and thinking. Written as a long prayer from Xochitl to the silent Solis, we see the world open up to Xo as she ventures out of her village on a personal quest to escape the bound confines of her role as cuentista. From Xo's small village to a sprawling city to burned-out ruins, where arid deserts and steep mountains cross, this harsh but beautiful world is deftly painted by Oshiro's very talented pen. **Huge thank you to Tor Teen for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    Okay, so this is a little challenging for me to review. I LOVED the first half of it. Everything about it was pretty much perfect for me. It was well paced, beautifully written, thought-provoking, and fresh. Then the second half had much slower pacing, was less engaging, and philosophically went in a direction that I don't love. I fully admit the philosophical piece of it is a me thing and how it's going to land will very much depend on the reader. That said, what can I tell you about this book Okay, so this is a little challenging for me to review. I LOVED the first half of it. Everything about it was pretty much perfect for me. It was well paced, beautifully written, thought-provoking, and fresh. Then the second half had much slower pacing, was less engaging, and philosophically went in a direction that I don't love. I fully admit the philosophical piece of it is a me thing and how it's going to land will very much depend on the reader. That said, what can I tell you about this book that won't spoil it? Each of Us a Desert is an ambitious coming of age story set in a Latinx-inspired fantasy world. Quite a lot of Spanish is used on the page and the world feels unique. This is also a fantasy that wants to make you think and is more driven by characters and ideas than by plot, particularly in the second half of the book where the plot elements slow down significantly. The main character is Xochital, a queer girl who sort of functions like a magical confessor for her community (though it's more complicated than that) and it's a story about familial expectations, community obligation, and the challenge of discovering who you are and who you want to be, not to mention growing into your own ideas about faith and religion. The book is written in first person as a prayer to a deity, which is interesting and generally worked as a device in my opinion. Philosophically, this grapples with the problem of pain in the world and ultimately leans into the idea that (view spoiler)[ if there is a deity, they created humanity and then left them alone- watching without intervening. That is something that might resonate with some readers, and be uncomfortable or off-putting for others. I recognize the value of stories like this for some, but as a more spiritual person I didn't connect with the direction it took and because of the kind of book this is, (hide spoiler)] it definitely impacted my reading experience in a less than positive way. But like I said, this is going to be idiosyncratic. Overall, I found this to be a beautiful and thoughtfully crafted story that does get quite violent and dark at times. Content warnings include violence, murder, gore, mind control, emotional abuse, loss of a loved one etc. I would also recommend checking out this lovely own voices review from Adri: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holly (The Grimdragon)

    "A new sensation filled my belly, one that did not belong to any of the stories, but was mine and mine alone. Desire." Each of Us a Desert is the sophomore novel from Mark Oshiro. If this is any indication, Oshiro is a damn fine writer that will be around for a long time to come! Following sixteen year old Xochitl, a cuentista in the village of Empalme, Each of Us a Desert is a story about stories. Given these special powers at just eight years old, Xo listens to stories of the villagers, then lea "A new sensation filled my belly, one that did not belong to any of the stories, but was mine and mine alone. Desire." Each of Us a Desert is the sophomore novel from Mark Oshiro. If this is any indication, Oshiro is a damn fine writer that will be around for a long time to come! Following sixteen year old Xochitl, a cuentista in the village of Empalme, Each of Us a Desert is a story about stories. Given these special powers at just eight years old, Xo listens to stories of the villagers, then leaves them to Solís, the sun god, scattering them back to the earth. These stories are confessions that they will no longer need to bear the weight of, purging secrets from their lives, their bodies during the prayer ritual. The cuentista takes on the sin, yet once they return the story to Solís, it is forgotten. Except one day, Xo decides she doesn't want to give up a particular story. Rather, she ventures out of her village on a quest to save her people, her only companions are her thoughts & the magical lines of poetry she finds hidden amongst the dunes. For the first time in her young life, Xochitl is following her heart, her desires. But will the story consume her? "Each of us a desert, alone and vast." Each of Us a Desert is a post-apocalyptic fantasy coming-of-age story that is exquisitely queer, subverting the genre & the western gaze. The worldbuilding is vivid & atmospheric, taking place in a queernorm desert society with a diverse cast of characters, including nonbinary & Latinx rep, as well as a sapphic main relationship. I swear my little queer heart grew ten sizes while reading this! Oof. Mark Oshiro's writing is beautifully intense & tangible. Exploring themes of immigration, history & trauma, Each of Us a Desert is a brutal, achingly emotional novel. It's about overwhelming loneliness, grief, pain, sacrifice, love & support. It's that sense of isolation, when you feel like you never quite belong. It's about that little flicker of hope that one grasps onto, while searching for your place in this unpredictable world. Each of Us a Desert is the kind of book where I had finished & then immediately wanted to start reading again, so that I could find things that I had missed. CW: Violence, abuse, gore, visceral horrors. (Big thanks to Tor Teen/Tor Books for sending me a copy!)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Each of Us a Desert is told in the first person from Xochitl’s perspective, as she shares her own story back to Solís. Because she’s telling it to her god, reading it can feel like eavesdropping on a prayer, listening to secrets and musings that are too personal to even put into a journal. She talks about how her aunt passed on the role of cuentista when Xochitl was only eight years old and how unfair it is to have had her childhood ripped away. We also see Xochitl’s crisis of faith as she conti Each of Us a Desert is told in the first person from Xochitl’s perspective, as she shares her own story back to Solís. Because she’s telling it to her god, reading it can feel like eavesdropping on a prayer, listening to secrets and musings that are too personal to even put into a journal. She talks about how her aunt passed on the role of cuentista when Xochitl was only eight years old and how unfair it is to have had her childhood ripped away. We also see Xochitl’s crisis of faith as she continues to keep stories, learning that everything she’s been told about Solís and her role in town might not be true, and seeing how people treat her like a resource instead of a person. Full review: https://www.lambdaliterary.org/2020/1...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Thank you to Netgalley and TorTeen for an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. THOSE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS WRECKED ME. GOOD BYE Mini review for now: This book slayed me in the best way possible. Xochitl and her story was so immersive. The lore around the cuentistas was fabulous. There was a good amount of Spanish terminology/language, which will sound beautiful on an audiobook! I stopped several times to look things up since my Spanish knowledge is limited to like 5 wo Thank you to Netgalley and TorTeen for an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. THOSE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS WRECKED ME. GOOD BYE Mini review for now: This book slayed me in the best way possible. Xochitl and her story was so immersive. The lore around the cuentistas was fabulous. There was a good amount of Spanish terminology/language, which will sound beautiful on an audiobook! I stopped several times to look things up since my Spanish knowledge is limited to like 5 words, but I actually had a lot of fun doing this, it really expanded my knowledge. With an amazingly diverse cast and a sapphic love story, I fell in love with Each of us a Desert.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Each of Us a Desert gives us The Deep by Rivers Solomon, which I was here for since The Deep is one of my favorite books. Xochital is burdened with literally consuming the stories of her community to provide them with spiritual cleansing and healing. But by taking in these stories, there’s no space for Xochital’s own stories and feelings, and she sets out on an adventure to reclaim that space for herself. This is a beautiful coming of age story that reminds us that forgetting is not the same as Each of Us a Desert gives us The Deep by Rivers Solomon, which I was here for since The Deep is one of my favorite books. Xochital is burdened with literally consuming the stories of her community to provide them with spiritual cleansing and healing. But by taking in these stories, there’s no space for Xochital’s own stories and feelings, and she sets out on an adventure to reclaim that space for herself. This is a beautiful coming of age story that reminds us that forgetting is not the same as healing. There’s incredible world building, lots of magic, and a sapphic love story that I couldn’t get enough of. As a bonus, the audiobook is narrated by the incredible Frankie Corzo (who also narrated my fave, Mexican Gothic), and she truly brings these characters and this story to life. Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing an advanced listening copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Storytelling is a powerful gift passed down from generation to generation, in the oral or written tradition. When Xochitl inherits the cuentista gift she must cleanse her village when they need it but she starts to feel abused by their privilege. When a group of men come to take over her village and threaten their lives she decides to take action and starts a journey. With each new person we meet we hear their story. Oh the journey she befriends her enemies daughter Emelia and their relationship Storytelling is a powerful gift passed down from generation to generation, in the oral or written tradition. When Xochitl inherits the cuentista gift she must cleanse her village when they need it but she starts to feel abused by their privilege. When a group of men come to take over her village and threaten their lives she decides to take action and starts a journey. With each new person we meet we hear their story. Oh the journey she befriends her enemies daughter Emelia and their relationship grows. In this life, there are those people that are great listeners. And when you have a huge burden or anxiety or fear over something and you need to unburden yourself you unload onto them. You give them everything and feel so much better and you've given them all of those second hand feelings. But is this fair if you do it over and over with out letting them reciprocate. There are people that are empathic that will feel those stories like physical weights being placed on themselves while others might not even absorb your words. Each of us are alone in this world and each of us have our people. Each of us want to feel that our lives have meaning in this life and that we have purpose. This story is an poetic blend of Spanish and English, (luckily my kindle is equipped with a translator for the words I don't know). I found the narrative unique like it was a story directed solely to Solís. Which I then read the author's note and it was written that way. I definitely felt like I was in a desert the world felt so hot and dusty. I felt so tired from the journey like I had been on it. I will tell you the familial relationships of two men and two women and pronouns used of they was beautiful. I'm so used to divisive language, that having it just be common was refreshing. TW: Graphic violence, abuse, nightmares

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sofia S.

    3.5 stars!!! ------ Thank you to the publisher and Colored Pages Book Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Read this review on my blog! Maybe the most important thing to know before going into this book is that is it slow paced. Very slow paced. It is not the kind of book that has lots of ups and downs, lots of adventures where the "not knowing" is what keeps you turning the pages – not that there's anything wrong with books like that!! 3.5 stars!!! ------ Thank you to the publisher and Colored Pages Book Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Read this review on my blog! Maybe the most important thing to know before going into this book is that is it slow paced. Very slow paced. It is not the kind of book that has lots of ups and downs, lots of adventures where the "not knowing" is what keeps you turning the pages – not that there's anything wrong with books like that!! The beginning is slow. I am glad I kept reading it, but there was very little at the beginning that kept me turning the pages. Also, the writing style is very... different. This book is written as a story told to someone – in this case, Solís. I personally loved the writing style, although it did take me a hot second to get used to it and found it a little tiring at times. However it's a style I am not sure everyone will enjoy! As for the characters, I have very mixed feelings. I really liked Xochitl and Emilia – the main characters. Their relationship (although a bit predictable) was one of the biggest thing that kept me turning the page. Their romance was definitely not the most important part of the story and was kept at a minimum but I loved the little crumbs we did get – they were so valuable! The rest of the characters felt a little bit distant. I liked how they were important to Xochitl but not necessarily to the story in and of itself. Speaking of Xochitl, her character development was 10/10! Her development was more satisfying to me than the actual conclusion of the plot... or rather the lack of it? Yeah, I'm still confused about the end. (although I feel like we're probably meant to feel that way...?) This story is also very much a story about faith – the unconditional kind. I loved the way it was handled – can't say more because of spoilers, but I hope you'll go find out yourself 👀 Finally, I loved the amount of Spanish in the book. It made me feel at home, and worked extremely well in the story. Those poems in Spanish? *chef's kiss*. This, however, may come as an issue to readers who don't speak Spanish. I found that sometimes, the Spanish was not translated or explained, even when it was more or less vital to be able to understand what was going on (the poems were translated though! Which is really good because they're beautiful). Be prepared to read this with Google Translate at the ready! In the end, would I recommend this? Yes and no. I thought it was a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed the Latinx and sapphic rep. If you enjoy slow paced plots - please give this a try!! The writing will suck you in and the world will terrify you (but like in a good way). Also, Xochitl and Emilia (both together and separately) will win your heart!!! instagram | blog | twitter | *more* links!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    ‘You tell me your story, and I give it back to Solís. We are all cleansed by Them if we see the truth, believe the truth.’ Xochitl is la cuentista of her village, she takes the stories of the villagers and gives them back to Solís. Until one day she listens to a story that changes everything. Now she wanders the desert and tries to find her true self and her own story there. ‘Because while I missed home, I knew I had left for the most important reason of all: to become myself.’ Each of Us a Desert ‘You tell me your story, and I give it back to Solís. We are all cleansed by Them if we see the truth, believe the truth.’ Xochitl is la cuentista of her village, she takes the stories of the villagers and gives them back to Solís. Until one day she listens to a story that changes everything. Now she wanders the desert and tries to find her true self and her own story there. ‘Because while I missed home, I knew I had left for the most important reason of all: to become myself.’ Each of Us a Desert is one of the most beautiful written books I’ve ever read. Mark Oshiro created a unique story in an authentic written world and I loved every single page of it, even the afterword. I really can’t put my love for this book in words, but I’m so thankful to Mark that they wrote it. It was incredibly easy to get lost in this magical world, in all the wonderful stories Xochitl listens to, in every character that came across her way and in all the self-evident queerness. I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy of this masterpiece and hope, that many others will fall in love with this book, just like I did. ‘This world of ashes Cannot contain me There are no walls To stop me I am free.’ Thanks to Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Valentine

    I can't believe that one of my most anticipated read of 2020 turned out to be a painful 10-days long reading experience akin to slow torture. I just can't believe it. Let me start by saying this. This is, objectively speaking, a good book. It has an interesting and original storyline, that of a young girl forced to listen to her people's painful stories, no matter how sick it makes her feel. In general, the writing is pretty good: the worldbuilding is clear and nice, there's just the right amount I can't believe that one of my most anticipated read of 2020 turned out to be a painful 10-days long reading experience akin to slow torture. I just can't believe it. Let me start by saying this. This is, objectively speaking, a good book. It has an interesting and original storyline, that of a young girl forced to listen to her people's painful stories, no matter how sick it makes her feel. In general, the writing is pretty good: the worldbuilding is clear and nice, there's just the right amount of details in the descriptions, and you can really feel the passion and the love the author had for their book through their words. I was particularly touched by the general message of the book, that is of finding one's own path and not let people pour all their pain into you. I also think it's important to add that this book, having both queer and Latinx representation, is an extremely enjoyable breath of fresh air into the YA genre, and I absolutely adore that we get more and more diverse books nowadays, especially own-voices ones. That being said, this book just wasn't for me. I first struggled with a particular detail in the writing style. As I said, it's pretty good but the fact it mixed English with a lot of Spanish truly bugged me. I would have understood if some words had been in Spanish in the dialogues - it would have made perfect sense considering the settings - or if some expressions had been left in their original language, because they couldn't really be translated to English. What I didn't get was why even the descriptions had so many Spanish words - and more importantly, randomones. I would have understood names, places, customs, food... but using agua instead of water? Montanas instead of mountains? Pajaros instead of birds? I do speak a fair amount of Spanish, so I understood almost all the words, yet it made my reading extremely painful and jerky, as my mind couldn't help but stumble upon every Spanish word in the English descriptions. I just can't imagine how it must be for someone who doesn't know a single Spanish word: it's not as if you could stop every two lines to look up their meaning - but if you do, then you have all my respect. I hope I don't come as pretentious or anything, because I truly understand what the author wanted to do in merging the two languages - I'm just not sure it was the best idea to put it in a YA book for all to read, especially without any mention of it from the publisher. I do admit this problem with the writing style was what mostly made my read difficult, but after a while I wasn't really bothered by it anymore. Instead, I was truly dragging myself through the book - and it felt excruciatingly slow. The plot takes ages to start, and even then, it's too mild to really make you feel excited. I do think the publisher's synopsis is misleading: it personally led me to think the main character was exiled into the desert and then would meet a girl at some point, which isn't what happens at all. But even overlooking this, I just couldn't seem to care for the story. It felt slow and dragged, I just didn't get where it was going, and how the different characters were important to the plot. It just felt like a huge journey for not much at the end. Speaking of the end, it truly was the only thing that worked for me. While I was extremely bored and half brain-dead during the entire book, the ending truly woke me up and almost made me tear up. I wish the whole story had been like this: a frantic, quick-paced fantasy tale of pain and love and magic. Basically, the last few chapters embodied everything I had wished the book to be, and for once in my reading experience, it was a bitterweet but satisfying ending. So yes, I feel like a complete clown writing such negative review, because I do understand why so many people loved this book. It's magical and original, with beautiful diversity - everything I usually love. I just didn't really care for the plot or the characters, and the writing and the pace just left me puzzled and sleepy. It's only my personal experience, and I still admire the author for their work - I particularly recommend to read the acknowledgements at the end, they are truly poignant.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Margarita (margaritathedrink)

    I have so much feels but don’t know how to express this book. As a Latinx Queer person this was everything and more. I loved the prose, it was written so beautifully and had my emotions all over the place. This book was so intense and not what i was expecting at all. I was so captivated by this book and it just felt so special , i loved the f/f romance, i loved the characters and the magic. This is one review that i am having a hard time expressing in words or even explaining the book but one i I have so much feels but don’t know how to express this book. As a Latinx Queer person this was everything and more. I loved the prose, it was written so beautifully and had my emotions all over the place. This book was so intense and not what i was expecting at all. I was so captivated by this book and it just felt so special , i loved the f/f romance, i loved the characters and the magic. This is one review that i am having a hard time expressing in words or even explaining the book but one i highly recommend. Thank you Netgalley and Tor books for allowing me to read and review this book early.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    This is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve come across. From the dedication page to the acknowledgements sections I was in tears because of Mark Oshiro’s masterfully written piece of fiction. This novel is magic and extremely tragic and I literally can wait to have a finished copy in my hands just so I can read it again! I love this so much. A more thorough review to come ✨

  18. 5 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    ‘This world of ashes Cannot contain me There are no walls To stop me I am free.’ A beautiful, symbolic book on the stories we carry and the search to find oneself. I am not sure how to describe this book - I almost felt I was reading it in Spanish, given the number of Spanish words that aren’t translated. But once I moved past the initial irritation of not understanding, I became lost in it. This is a story of becoming and of finding love despite the desert in our hearts, not because of it. Xo is a c ‘This world of ashes Cannot contain me There are no walls To stop me I am free.’ A beautiful, symbolic book on the stories we carry and the search to find oneself. I am not sure how to describe this book - I almost felt I was reading it in Spanish, given the number of Spanish words that aren’t translated. But once I moved past the initial irritation of not understanding, I became lost in it. This is a story of becoming and of finding love despite the desert in our hearts, not because of it. Xo is a cuentista - a story-receiver who has to take all the stories that others carry in them before retching the emotions of their stories out to Solis, the sun that scorches them. But if she is only to receive everyone’s stories, who is Xo? And that’s her quest. It’s a quest that is fantastical, magical, and adventurous - at times, I felt like I was back on the Camino de Santiago, wilting in the heat, trying to find whatever I was looking for then. The actual adventure is only the backdrop - what’s really adventurous is the seeking, of being, of trying to find another without losing oneself. I was lost at times, not understanding everything, but really do I have to? Xo and Emilia didn’t understand everything either. But they were still there, seeking, finding, and realizing that sometimes, we reach the end only to find the beginning. “We are the stories we tell another.”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sofia (Bookish Wanderess)

    Each of Us a Desert is a quiet, introspective fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a very loose plot but with strong thematic elements. This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community from a very early age. She has the responsibility of listening and absorbing through a magical process the Each of Us a Desert is a quiet, introspective fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a very loose plot but with strong thematic elements. This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community from a very early age. She has the responsibility of listening and absorbing through a magical process the stories involving secrets, lies, deceit that produce feelings like guilt, sadness, resentment, and giving them back to the land so people can be forgiven by their god. If this process doesn’t take place, the stories manifest themselves as Pesadillas – monsters out of nightmares. At least that’s what Xochital has been told her entire life, and she has been struggling for a long time with this responsibility that she didn’t choose for herself. After something happens that changes everything, she leaves her town and in her journey to faraway places, she goes through a spiritual journey where she realizes that beliefs are based on stories that have been passed down through generations and those stories are interpreted in so many different ways across times and places and no one can be sure which interpretation is the truth. Throughout this book, Xochital has to come to terms with the fact that what she was told is binding and absolute truth may not be and she realizes that she has to choose for herself what she thinks is right. There’s also a very strong theme of community and this book explores the repercussions of what Xochital does for her community as a Cuentista because she takes the stories and leaves the people in her town feeling absolved of the guilt, and it’s almost like an easy way out. This book explores the idea that as long as we don’t face the truth and the consequences of our mistakes, there is no way to learn, grow, and heal as individuals and as a community. Mark Oshiro makes very interesting and unique writing choices in this book, which worked well with the story. This book is told from Xochital’s perspective as she tells her story to her god, and as she does, she questions them and challenges them. Another interesting choice is that whenever Xochital takes a story from someone else, there’s a short story interwoven into the narrative where she shares the confession that the other character just made. This choice works because it feels like you’re being told a secret and it’s hard not to feel intrigued and curious about what that other person did that has caused them to be consumed by guilt. Also, the way the author incorporated Spanish – which is very prevalent in the book- felt very organic and added a special element to the story. The author doesn’t give too many explanations about the world or the magic system, and while I do wish we got a bit more information, this choice makes everything feel very intriguing. There are so many captivating elements to this world: there are magical animals, there are masked villains that seemed like something out of a horror movie, there are magic poems, there’s a secret town under the earth where some horrible things happened and so much more. Also, this book is set in a very violent world, so people are killed in gruesome ways, they are mutilated, there’s a lot of detailed descriptions of corpses and a lot of other graphic depictions that are borderline body horror. Lastly, I think it’s important to clarify that while there is a sapphic romance that it’s not the focus of the book at all and it’s a very small part of the story. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the small moments between Xochital and Emilia.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bárbara

    Update:July 17th 2020 Quarantine really fucked with my mood because it took me a whole damn month to finish this. RTC. May 7th, 2020 (original comment) For some reason... NetGalley actually approved my request for a digital ARC of this book??????? Catch me slapping myself until release day because I don't believe this is actually a thing that happened to me. Update:July 17th 2020 Quarantine really fucked with my mood because it took me a whole damn month to finish this. RTC. May 7th, 2020 (original comment) For some reason... NetGalley actually approved my request for a digital ARC of this book??????? Catch me slapping myself until release day because I don't believe this is actually a thing that happened to me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    ✫erin✫

    i don't KNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! DNF. Hopefully, I can come back to this one. i don't KNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! DNF. Hopefully, I can come back to this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)

    ** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review.** TW: body horror, gore Mark Oshiro’s Each of Us a Desert is one of the most unique novels I have ever read with writing that will have readers pausing to bask in its beauty. Xochitl has been her village’s cuentista since she was a child. Her gift enables her to take the confessions of her people, freeing them of their guilt. In turn, Xochitl gives up these stories, forgetting their confessions an ** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review.** TW: body horror, gore Mark Oshiro’s Each of Us a Desert is one of the most unique novels I have ever read with writing that will have readers pausing to bask in its beauty. Xochitl has been her village’s cuentista since she was a child. Her gift enables her to take the confessions of her people, freeing them of their guilt. In turn, Xochitl gives up these stories, forgetting their confessions and returning them to Solís, a deity who watches over them. When Xochitl learns of a frightening secret, she is forced to set off on a journey to find answers. But the desert is an unforgiving place where travelers are confronted by dangers both external and internal. As Xochitl crosses paths with others and finds an unexpected companion in the unscrupulous Emilia, she discovers that the world is bigger and more complicated than she could ever imagine. Each of Us a Desert is more character-driven than plot-driven. Oshiro’s writing shines in their descriptions of the land, but also in the way they write Xochitl’s inner conflicts as she claws her way out of loneliness, grapples with her belief system, and finds solace in another. If you are looking for an introspective novel that will very quietly burrow its way into your heart, Each of Us a Desert is the one to reach for.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    DNF at 37% I really, really wanted to like Each of Us a Desert. Oshiro's debut, Anger is a Gift, was one of the best books I read this year so I was really hoping to love this one as well. Based on what I know my personal reading doghouses, I honestly think the issue was me and not Each of Us a Desert. Quiet books with slow plots just tend not to be my favorite. This book also has one of my top pet peeves -- when the book blurb gives away things that happen significantly into the book. I kept rea DNF at 37% I really, really wanted to like Each of Us a Desert. Oshiro's debut, Anger is a Gift, was one of the best books I read this year so I was really hoping to love this one as well. Based on what I know my personal reading doghouses, I honestly think the issue was me and not Each of Us a Desert. Quiet books with slow plots just tend not to be my favorite. This book also has one of my top pet peeves -- when the book blurb gives away things that happen significantly into the book. I kept reading to get to the part where Emilia finally joins Xochitl on her quest through the desert and it took until around the 30% mark for that to finally happen. There were some things about Each of Us a Desert that I did enjoy. There's a lot of Spanish seamlessly woven into Xo's narrative. I loved that it was done in such a way where non-Spanish speakers (or rusty Spanish speakers, like me) could still follow what was being referenced through context clues or, in some rare instances, side-by-side English translations. The imagery of the desert is incredibly vivid and really makes you feel like you're there, which was a great change from the winter weather outside. I swear this was a "it's not you, it's me" reading experience. Each of Us a Desert has a lot of promise and is definitely worth a try if you don't mind a slow-moving plot. Partial content warnings:(view spoiler)[graphic violence, death (hide spoiler)]

  24. 5 out of 5

    mari

    well ok. one of my favorite books ever. don't touch me i'm emotional that i'll never get to experience the first read of this book again. what a beautiful story that had many stories within it. i loved the main character's voice, one so reliant on the known but also craving an escape from the life she's been given. the idea of taking other people's stories, filled with their mistakes and lies and atrocities, to give to a god for forgiveness and protection was beautifully executed and absolutely m well ok. one of my favorite books ever. don't touch me i'm emotional that i'll never get to experience the first read of this book again. what a beautiful story that had many stories within it. i loved the main character's voice, one so reliant on the known but also craving an escape from the life she's been given. the idea of taking other people's stories, filled with their mistakes and lies and atrocities, to give to a god for forgiveness and protection was beautifully executed and absolutely moving. the stories xochitl receives throughout the books are sure to stay with me for some time. i can see where the writing style doesn't work for some, especially with the use of spanish for certain terms and the very classic fairy tale-esque prose. but i loved it. i was enchanted by this book from the first page, its magical story nearly impossible to put down. i am so sad it's over, but so happy to have gotten to know it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maëlys

    I have to say I'm really intrigued by this one. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can also find me on Youtube & Twitter ✨ I have to say I'm really intrigued by this one. ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can also find me on Youtube & Twitter ✨

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Content Warnings: animal violence, on-page graphic violence, injury, death, abuse (both emotional and domestic) Hauntingly poetic and unique, Each of Us a Desert was a book that grabbed me from page one. There were times when I just wanted to mark every single page because the writing style is amazing. “I believed in myself despite everything that told me not to. Is that really so bad?” The story follows Xochitl, a young girl that lives in Empalme, one of the small cities that came together after t Content Warnings: animal violence, on-page graphic violence, injury, death, abuse (both emotional and domestic) Hauntingly poetic and unique, Each of Us a Desert was a book that grabbed me from page one. There were times when I just wanted to mark every single page because the writing style is amazing. “I believed in myself despite everything that told me not to. Is that really so bad?” The story follows Xochitl, a young girl that lives in Empalme, one of the small cities that came together after the world was completely burnt. She is a cuentista, a person who is destined to take the stories from people and returning them to Solís, the god of this world. If she doesn’t take their stories, the guilt turns into a monster that can kill them once they get too strong. After years of taking the stories of everyone in the city, Xochitl is exhausted, but feels like there’s no way out of this life. This all changed when one story she takes shakes her entire being. Xochitl starts to wonder about her destiny, her own story… and decides to make a choice for herself for the first time in a long time. “I wanted it more than anything. To be free of these responsibilities and rules and expectations. I wanted my own life.” As she runs from Empalme, she confronts the reality that maybe everything the village has told her, everything the village believes, is a lie. Through her journey, she confronts many of her prejudices and the barriers other had raised for her. The story takes us through a journey with Xochitl, making us see how expectations from others tend to shape our lives and how we can discover ourselves when we break free from those chains. You can read about my thoughts on the book here

  27. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Each of Us a Desert is a story about sacrifice, responsibility, and stories themselves. Xochital is a cuentista, responsible for hearing people's stories and confessions and giving them back to Solis. Each of Us a Desert explores questions of our responsibility to our community as well as the confines of our own destiny. It's a story told not only in stories, but the confessions of c (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Each of Us a Desert is a story about sacrifice, responsibility, and stories themselves. Xochital is a cuentista, responsible for hearing people's stories and confessions and giving them back to Solis. Each of Us a Desert explores questions of our responsibility to our community as well as the confines of our own destiny. It's a story told not only in stories, but the confessions of characters and asking us if their confessions purge themselves of guilt? If their performances of regret or the act of speaking their stories into existence change their behaviors and future. Throughout Each of Us a Desert it feels like Xochital is speaking directly to us, not only because she's speaking to Solis, but also because of the way the stories she hears are passed onto her. Each of Us a Desert is intensely character driven, even though there is plenty of action, because it's focused on Xochital's quest to figure out her responsibility to her community and to Solis. Is she in charge of her own destiny? In the book, she figures out the truth behind not only the stories she takes on from others, but also the stories about her own powers. Not only is queerness normalized in the world, but the main character is also queer (and there's a sapphic relationship)! Each of Us a Desert is thought provoking, while delivering a story of discovery. It examines the ideas of religion, truth, and sacrifice. The writing style is stunning as Oshiro leads us through deserts, up mountains, and into the depths of the earth. Asking us if we are just all solitary deserts spread out among miles. It's also a book that emphasizes the importance of stories being told, our responsibility as a community to never forget, and the burden of carrying these weights alone. The stories that change us. Without which we become someone who doesn't understand the weight of regret. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexx

    This is hands down one of most beautiful books I've read this year. It was thought-provoking, honest, heart-wrenching, and I am so in love with the prose and the writing style of the author. (Also, I'm not gonna lie, I definitely could not hold back the tears anymore as I read the final pages of the book.) Highly recommended! Full review will be posted soon on my blog! Find me elsewhere: Instagram | Twitter | Blog This is hands down one of most beautiful books I've read this year. It was thought-provoking, honest, heart-wrenching, and I am so in love with the prose and the writing style of the author. (Also, I'm not gonna lie, I definitely could not hold back the tears anymore as I read the final pages of the book.) Highly recommended! Full review will be posted soon on my blog! Find me elsewhere: Instagram | Twitter | Blog

  29. 4 out of 5

    Enne

    2 stars I was incredibly excited for Oshiro’s sophomore novel, after having read and loved their debut, Anger Is a Gift a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the hype that got to me. Or maybe this book just genuinely wasn’t that good. I simply… did not care about what happened to any of the characters. None of them felt like they had a personality, I couldn’t care less about the romance and the plot started out very slow and then proceeded to be incredibly repetitive. It has been two weeks since I 2 stars I was incredibly excited for Oshiro’s sophomore novel, after having read and loved their debut, Anger Is a Gift a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the hype that got to me. Or maybe this book just genuinely wasn’t that good. I simply… did not care about what happened to any of the characters. None of them felt like they had a personality, I couldn’t care less about the romance and the plot started out very slow and then proceeded to be incredibly repetitive. It has been two weeks since I read this book and I couldn’t tell you one thing about it. It wasn’t memorable at all for me. The only reason this isn’t a one star is because I thought the concept of the world was really interesting, albeit not really explored to the extent that I wanted it to be.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarahi Flores

    Okay so this may be a fantasy novel but it is very beautifully written with such memorizing wording that makes you believe is a book full of poems. The combination of English and Spanish made it even better because it felt as if this is the type of reading I need to be reading. I enjoy having conversations in Spanglish because that's how we speak at home lol. It felts good to see that this is a normal thing for a bilingual person. The role of Xochital, the protagonist, is quite unique and pretty Okay so this may be a fantasy novel but it is very beautifully written with such memorizing wording that makes you believe is a book full of poems. The combination of English and Spanish made it even better because it felt as if this is the type of reading I need to be reading. I enjoy having conversations in Spanglish because that's how we speak at home lol. It felts good to see that this is a normal thing for a bilingual person. The role of Xochital, the protagonist, is quite unique and pretty interesting. Truth be told it felt like she was a priest listening to the confessions of the villagers. That's how I simplified it lol. The plot was in a way confusing in some parts in my opinion but the more I read it, the more it became clearer.This book makes you wanna think deeply in what you want for yourself. This may be fiction work but it feels something real. Thank you Netgalley for the arc. I definitely found this a wonderful read. Makes me appreciate the beauty of words. This is is 4 out of 5 star reading.

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