The Secret Language of Prairie Dogs

The Secret Language of Prairie Dogs

by James Villanueva
The Secret Language of Prairie Dogs

The Secret Language of Prairie Dogs

by James Villanueva


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"A slow-paced, culturally rich story." - Kirkus Reviews

Seventeen-year-old Santos Ramos is a curandero - Latinx shaman - living in desolate West Texas. When a mute boy crosses the border through a sinister smuggler, Santos finds himself fascinated by the voiceless teen.

Santos craves a more traditional high school life of parties, studying for the SATs, and writing for the school blog, but he was born with el don - the gift. People come to him for spiritual healing. Like his past Aztec roots, though, asking God for healing comes with the sacrifices of fevered charms, personal objects, snake venom, and even the blood of animals.

He struggles to keep his identity as el don from his All-American best friends, Maverick and Victor, who, like most of the town, are intrigued to know about the mysterious "Monster of Southland." The legendary hidden figure lurks at night, leaving behind a trail of animal carcasses as sacrifices.

Sixteen-year-old Dulcero Lopez and his younger sister emigrate from Honduras after witnessing the brutal murder of his parents, causing him to have aphasia and lose the ability to speak.

The two head north to the USA, where Dulcero is separated from her by ICE. Voiceless Dulcero is sent to live with his abusive uncle, Juan, who is a coyote and who he cannot pay for bringing him over. His only way out of this hell and to be reunited with his little sister is through the healing hands of Santos.

The end of his junior year has Santos questioning everything about who he is as a curandero while craving the freedom of becoming the teen he aches to be. When Dulcero arrives, Santos finds himself like the trailing dying light of a midnight star, falling - falling fast in love with the voiceless visitor who needs his healing hands.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781957864778
Publisher: Wild Lark Books
Publication date: 06/01/2023
Pages: 266
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Award-winning writer and educator James Villanueva, is the author of Remembering Slaton, Texas: Centennial Stories 1911-2011, published by The History Press, and the young adult novel Flick. He has been featured in several publications and magazines, including Texas Monthly, Latino Lubbock Magazine, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition, he has presented and been a special guest speaker for several writing workshops and conferences throughout the United States. The teleplay for his novel, Flick, was an entry in the Austin Film Festival.James serves on the Wild Lark Books Fund board, a registered nonprofit entity with the mission of making publishing accessible by providing resources to historically excluded - and thus under-heard - writers. He is also the director of the Wild Lark Books Young Writers Project, which hosts writing workshops for teens throughout the South Plains and will be used to create the anthology, The Trailblazer, Young Voices of the Texas Panhandle. James lives in Slaton, Texas, with his larger-than-life miniature dachshund, Oliver, and is busy editing his next book.
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