I’m so happy because today I bring to you all my first ever stop in a blog tour! Also, it was such a great read and I’m so excited to share the review of this book!
This is the review of Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oswhiro, a blog tour organized by Colored Pages and you can see the rest of the schedule for the tour here. Also, this review is Spoiled Free so you can read without worries.
Let’s get started then:
Rating: 4.5 /5
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: September 15th, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+
From award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.
Xochitl 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 enigmatic 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 conqueror. 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.
“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.”
Okey, this book was a complete roller coster! It really went from 1 to 100 and then I did cry at some point… I mean, I had an expectation from this book but it was completely shattered, in a good way obviously, this read was something very different at what I’m used to, which made this so much more refreshing and easy to enjoy.
I haven’t read Mark Oshiro before and I was really surprised on how much I enjoyed his writing, from the descriptions, dialogues and how he mixed Spanish and English, which was one of the things I most liked about this book. As a Latin women myself, it was really nice and different to read about things I understood, from the mixed words and sentences in Spanish that would sometime appear while reading, to certain customs or reference that I would get.
(Also, I just want to point out how funny the mind works, at the begging I could point out the Spanish words that would appear, but at some point while reading I started to stop noticing. I just though it was something interesting)
‘’Cuando estoy solo vivo…when I am alone i exist for myself.”
The story begging with Xochitl, a 16 old girl, that is the ‘’cuentista’’ from her ‘’pueblo’’ (Si, I’m going to be mixing Spanish and English words like in the book.Yay Español!), which means that she takes people stories and then gives them back to ‘’Solis’’ the sun god, and later she forgets about them. Till one day she listens to a story that changes everything. And now, she travels through the desert trying to find the answer and the true of who she really is.
At the begging I admit I was a little lost trying to understand what was happening and how the world worked, but the story wrap me so quickly and everything started to made sense as the book went on and simply couldn’t stop reading.
Mark Oshiro world building is so rich and full of magic, fantasy, reference of mythology and full of details. Honestly, one of my favorite things to read while readings fantasy is the world the author creates, and I could have just spent hours reading about the world in Each of Us a Desert. Also, the story it self happens in dessert, and ghosh did I feel like a I was walking next to Xochitl that long hot hours under Solis(the sun god)! The descriptions and reference that Mark Oshiro uses really transports you inside the story.
For the characters, we have Xochitl our protagonist who has spent all her life living by the rules that the people of her ‘’pueblo’’ pined on her and as being everyone ‘’cuentista’’ or scape for their own problems, so she spends most of her life trying to please everyone else around her and keeping quiet about her own fears, because for Xochitl that is what is ‘’right’’ and how it is supposed to be. But now, for the first time, she is trying to find herself and maybe discover that there is path different for her than the one everyone told her. I could really relate to her her journey. I think Xochitl adventure in this book is a representation of a reality we all can relate, with questions and doubt that we all experience at some moment in our lives. Also, we get to know another characters that contribute to story, like Emilia, Elizondo, Manolito, Eduardo etc… that also have their own experience and journeys in book.
”What if I just stood up and left? What if I floated away, like una paloma, to be free? Would that be possible for someone like me?”
Also, I want to talk about the LGBTQ+ representation in Each of Us a Desert, I thinks it was really special reading about a society where everyone could be with who ever they want to be and people not even batting an eye about it. And, Xochitl and Emilia relationship through the book felt real and different at what I’m just to reading most of the time in other books where the sexuality of the characters is the main issue , but in this book it could be about something about more deeper and special.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book! The writing is amazing, full of great characters and just the whole story is worth to read, you may discover some things about yourself.
‘’Each of us a desert solitary and vast burned we stretch forever”
Now, if there’s something I love is finding new favorite quotes while reading and Each of Us a Desert has FULL of them, so I did try to make a short list to share with you all, but I may have failed.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
‘’And one day, you’ll get out of here, and you’ll change the world.’’
“This world of ashes cannot contain me….There ara no walls to stop me I am free.”
“I knew my decision was wrong, but it was still mine.”
“You always have a choice,” she said. “We often don’t like what one of the choices is, so we ignore it, pretend it is not there.”
“She loved the ways they survived in a universe that seemed so hostile and frightening.”
“I need to escape. I need to flee from my own pesadillas. I must find myself.”
“I was farther out in the desert than I had ever been, and each step was a choice, was a conscious decision, was an act of freedom.”
“Because while I missed home, I knew I had left for the most important reason of all: to become myself.”
“This was my decision. And I had never been so alive in my life.”
“If Your creation was perfect, then why do we do such imperfect things?”
“I would rather make another terrible decision than live knowing that I hadn’t tried.”
“Maybe our belief is what gave it all power, what shaped our reality for us.”
“For the first time in my life, I feel alive. I feel like I can choose who I want to be every day.”
“We all decided to come on this journey,” she reminded me. “You get to decide how to end it.”
“We chose to be something different. And now look at us: we thrive.”
“We are the stories we tell one another.”
“I don’t know what we are. I only know what we can be.”
Mark Oshiro is the author of Anger is a Gift (Tor Teen), winner of the 2019 Schneider Family Book Award and nominated for a 2019 Lammy Award (in the LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult category). Upcoming novels include Each of Us a Desert (Tor Teen), a YA Fantasy novel out September 15, 2020, and The Insiders (Harper Collins), an MG Contemporary with magical elements out Fall 2021. When they are not writing, crying on camera about fictional characters for their online Mark Does Stuff universe, or traveling, Mark is busy trying to fulfill their lifelong goal: to pet every dog in the world.
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know all your thoughts in the comments.