PURA BELPRÉ HONOR WINNER
BEST OF THE YEAR
New York Times · Kirkus · Booklist · Chicago Public Library
The follow-up to Newbery and Pura Belpré Award-winning The Last Cuentista
For 400 years, Earth has been a barren wasteland. The few humans that survive scrape together an existence in the cruel city of Pocatel – or go it alone in the wilderness beyond, filled with wandering spirits and wyrms. They don’t last long.
13 year-old pickpocket Leandro and his sister Gabi do what they can to forge a life in Pocatel. The city does not take kindly to Cascabel like them – the descendants of those who worked the San Joaquin Valley for generations.
When Gabi is caught stealing precious fruit from the Pocatelan elite, Leando takes the fall. But his exile proves more than he ever could have imagined -- far from a simple banishent, his consciousness is placed inside an ancient drone and left to fend on its own. But beyond the walls of Pocatel lie other alebrijes like Leandro who seek for a better world -- as well as mutant monsters, wasteland pirates, a hidden oasis, and the truth.
From Donna Barba Higuera, Newbery and Pura Belpré Medal-winning author of The Last Cuentista, comes another novel to astonish us and create a whole new imaginative world, that holds a mirror to our own.
7 STARRED REVIEWS
★ “An instant classic.”
—School Library Journal (starred)
★ "Breathtaking… A ferociously epic and beautiful middle-grade dystopian novel.”
—Shelf Awareness (starred)
★ “Combines humanity and technology with imaginative splendor.”
★ “This heartfelt adventure signals hope for humanity, even in the aftermath of darkness.”
★ “High-stakes adventure… Beautiful, imaginative writing fills this dystopian sf novel. Though it exposes cruelty and corruption, it raises up storytelling, culture, and kindness as stronger yet… A wondrous addition to any collection.”
★ “This stellar speculative narrative explores themes of identity across circumstance, centering an adolescent without structural power working to protect family and community.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
★ “Higuera brilliantly balances the heaviness of a dystopian future of a ruined Earth with her own blend of science fiction and Mexican folkloric elements once Leandro leaves his human body… Leandro and his unflinching dedication to an uplifting view of humanity that will spark engagement from the first page and linger in the minds of readers well after they finish the novel.”
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred)
“With its social and environmental commentary, this fast-paced and imaginative novel tackles issues of deception and control and leaves one with a sense of wonder that a single flap of a wing or a solitary voice can bring about unimaginable change.”
[STAR] “An instant classic.”— School Library Journal (starred)
[STAR] “This stellar speculative narrative explores themes of identity across circumstance, centering an adolescent without structural power working to protect family and community.”— Publishers Weekly (starred)
[STAR] “This heartfelt adventure signals hope for humanity, even in the aftermath of darkness.”— Kirkus (starred)
[STAR] “High-stakes adventure… Beautiful, imaginative writing fills this dystopian SF novel. Though it exposes cruelty and corruption, it raises up storytelling, culture, and kindness as stronger yet… A wondrous addition to any collection.” — Booklist (starred)