Praise for Each of Us a Desert: “Oshiro leaves mouths parched with their second novel.... The writing, akin to an atmospheric, novel-length poem, seamlessly weaving in Spanish and matter of- fact queer representation, is beautiful to read. Contemplative teens will appreciate this meaningful story about human existence.” — Booklist “A sincere journey through nuanced struggles: the weight of pain, how hope and complicity feed immigrant exploitation, and breaking flawed social cycles. This ambitious, organically Spanish-studded examination of trauma stays adventurous and accessible, resulting in a grace-filled, loving declaration of human value and worth.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review "I have been trying to find words that envelop my feelings for this book into a cohesive sentence, but since that could take years — this book is a stunning, incredible journey showing the ways that storytelling is an integral part of life." - Buzzfeed, Best YA Speculative Fiction of 2020 “This book is a prayer, and it also feels like a warning.” – NPR, Best Books of 2020 “Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.” —Kirkus Reviews “A cross between Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire, this haunting story will stay with readers just like the stories Xochitl has kept.” — School Library Journal Praise for Anger is a Gift: The Mary Sue's "18 Books You Should Read in 2018" Hypable's "Most Anticipated Queer YA Books of 2018" Bookish's "Spring 2018's Must Read YA Books" BookBub's "21 Biggest Teen Books for Adults Spring 2018" “A passionate and promising debut.” — Entertainment Weekly " Anger is a Gift is an explosion of fury and revolution. Mark Oshiro's beautiful and brutal debut proves that not only can anyone be a hero, but great change comes when the heroes work together."—Adam Silvera, New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End"Raw, unflinching, and full of heart. Anger is a Gift is a masterpiece." —Marieke Nijkamp, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before I Let Go “ Anger Is a Gift should be required reading in high schools everywhere.”—Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky and City in the Middle of the Night “A masterful debut rich with intersectional nuance and grassroots clarity, Anger is a Gift is hella precious, hella dope.”— Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Powerful and timely debut novel." — Publisher’s Weekly “Part sweet love story, part social justice commentary, this title begs to be read. Give this to fans of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give.”— School Library Journal, starred review "Anger Is a Gift, and so is Oshiro's arresting, nuanced work."— Shelf Awareness, starred review
Honesty, the weight of caregiving, and the space between absolution and compassion span deserts in this tender, postapocalyptic Latinx fantasy. As cuentista, restless Xochitl, 16, takes the village of Empalme’s confessions and spills them to the desert and Solís, the departed sun god who scorched the earth in punishment generations ago. When a roaming warlord plots massacre in Empalme, she breaks a cuentista’s strictest law—to magically forget confessions—and runs. But the warlord’s daughter enlists Xochitl’s help to return her home, where another cuentista can dispatch Xochitl’s powers—a journey through shining and ruined desert cities, shape-shifting beasts, hidden poetry, and an ever-unfolding, uncomfortable truth. In a storyteller’s cadences, #OwnVoices author Oshiro (
Anger Is a Gift) maps a sincere journey through nuanced struggles: the weight of pain, how hope and complicity feed immigrant exploitation, and breaking flawed social cycles. While not always deft in handling complex moral territory, this ambitious, organically Spanish-studded examination of trauma stays adventurous and accessible, resulting in a grace-filled, loving declaration of human value and worth. Ages 13–up. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Sept.)
Gr 9 Up—In a future where the world is mostly dry desert after La Quema burned everything, Xochitl is counted on in Empalme to pass on the truths confessed to her by the villagers to the god Solís—an essential task that must be done to keep dark truths from manifesting as dangerous pesadillas. Exhausted from the heavy burden of this ritual and beginning to question her role as cuentista, a role she never chose and does not want to spend the rest of her life doing, Xochitl makes the drastic decision to keep a story her friend gave to her—a story that could have dire consequences for Empalme. This act sets off a chain of events that cause Xochitl to abandon her duties as a cuentista and leave Empalme, and which entwines her destiny with that of Emilia, daughter of Julio—a dangerous man who brings death with him everywhere he goes. As Xochitl and Emilia embark on their journeys, their separate searches bring their destinies closer together. Exploring the world outside Empalme, Xochitl begins to question everything she thought she knew about herself, the world, and about Solís. VERDICT A cross between Lois Lowry's The Giver and Tehlor Kay Mejia's We Set the Dark on Fire, this haunting story will stay with readers just like the stories Xochitl has kept.— Selenia Paz, Harris County P.L., Houston
Frankie Corzo narrates the story of Xochital, the cuentista of her remote village. She has the magical ability to accept people’s stories of guilt and wrongdoing and purge them into the desert, effectively cleansing them. An unexpected and jolting confession leaves Xochital questioning her role, and Corzo’s gentle narration fits Xo’s introspection as she plans to journey across the desert for answers. Corzo fluidly shifts from English to Spanish and back in this atmospheric audiobook, adopting a leisurely pace that allows listeners to savor the setting, poetic language, and slow-burn romance. Corzo creates distinct voices for a variety of casually queer Latinx characters. This meditative listen shouldn’t be missed. A.K.R. © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
NOVEMBER 2020 - AudioFile
What does it mean to come into your own power by letting go of it?
The villagers of Empalme devoutly pray to Solís, the feared higher power who unleashed La Quema, or fire, on humanity for its ills of greed, war, and jealousy. As the village cuentista, Xochitl listens to and receives the villagers’ stories into her body, clearing their consciences, preventing the manifestation of their nightmares, and releasing them to Solís in the desert. Having diligently played this role since childhood, she is now a deeply lonesome 16-year-old whose only comfort comes from cherished poems. Worn weary by her role, she leaves on an odyssey in search of another way to exist. In their sophomore novel, Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. It is a world parallel to ours, rife with Biblical references and the horrific traps that Latinx immigrants face while seeking better lives. Xochitl’s first-person, questioning narration—interlaced with terrifying cuentos that she receives on her journey—is the strongest voice, although secondary and tertiary characters, both human and mythical, are given a tenderness and humanity. All main characters are Latinx, and queer relationships are integrated with refreshing normality.
A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.