I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by Colored Pages Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here.
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.
Title: Each of Us a Desert
Author: Mark Oshiro
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.
You Can Find This Book At:
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Thoughts and Themes: I don’t know if I have any words to describe this book and how beautiful it is. I loved so many parts of this book but my favorite thing was how this book was written. I liked that the book was written as a prayer to Xochitl’s God and how you got to see that relationship change through the course of the book. This part of the book felt like going home to me and felt familiar to me. It is hard to describe how much impact this book has and how connected I felt with the story. I feel like this is one of those books where everyone who reads it is going to read a different story and get something different from it and I think those are the best books.
My favorite part about this book is the discussion about the truth and when Xochitl finds out the truth. I thought it was beautiful to see her struggle with what the truth it and try to figure out what was true, what she knows or what other people were now telling her. I thought it was good to see how the truth could change her relationship with Solis and how she struggled with what that would mean. I liked seeing that there isn’t one “right answer” when it comes to faith and belief systems, and how there can be multiple truths that don’t cancel out each other.
I also liked that the main focus of this book is Xochitl finding her place in the world and realizing that she is not defined by what she can give to others. I liked watching as she discovers that there is more to the world than taking on others pain and suffering, and how she can learn to also feel for herself without losing the community aspect that being a cuentista gave her.
Characters: I thought that everyone you meet throughout this book added a lot to the story whether they were there for a few pages or the majority of the book. I liked getting to know Xochitl throughout the book and hear about her relationship with others. I also enjoyed the introduction of Emilia to the book and how that affected Xochitl.
While the love story between Xochitl and Emilia isn’t the main focus of the story, I also thought that it added to the story. I liked that their relationship was slow and subtle throughout the book. I thought it was great to see how their growth as individuals contributed to the growth of their relationship with each other.
Writing Style: This book is written in many different formats, you get the perspective from Xochitl as she talks to her God, Solis, you get some poems included throughout the story, and there are stories from other people being shared with Xochitl and Solis included as well. I liked that this book included so many different forms of writing and how all these forms worked with each other to tell the story.
I recommend this to those of you who enjoy books with interpersonal growth and character development.