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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Book Review: All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0545930804/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=onderherose-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0545930804&linkId=7cf8629de2ab10136185c4223f113698
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Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.


Review:
I am a huge fan of The Raven Boys series, so I was really happy to see that Maggie Stiefvater had written a new book!  I was puzzled that there have been some mixed reviews of this book.  But I think it is because it is so very different in tone and subject matter from The Raven Boys books that some fans would be disappointed.  Not me!  I loved All The Crooked Saints.  It combines the Mexican tradition of magical realism with the angst of YA books to create a fable as only Maggie Stiefvater can achieve.


What I Liked:

Tone:
This book might make your head spin if you take what is happening literally.  This style is really done like a fable or tall tale.  It reminded me of the books of the wonderful writer Luis Alberto Urrea, who wrote The Hummingbird's Daughter.  Stiefvater uses the mysticism of Mexican culture to create a world of curses, miracles, with the manifestations of the pilgrims on outrageous display.  Are you troubled by lust?  Then get ready to sprout a wolf's head until you make peace with yourself.  Afraid of being looked at?  Just wait until you become twenty feet tall.  All the creative ways the author had of showing each person's issue was fun to see.

Characters:
The story centers around three cousins, Beatriz, Joaquin, and Daniel.  Each have different struggles, but all seem to be grappling with finding a balance between what they think their obligations are and what they really want to do.  I think this is one of the essential problems facing young adults.  Most teens will face a time when their wishes will clash with what their parents want them to do.  Making independent decisions about your life is an essential part of growing into an adult, and not easy if your parents object to your plans.  I love these characters and was rooting for them.

I also enjoyed the adult characters, and their struggles (I'm going to be brutally honest here and state that I don't remember all their names, and I have already returned the book to the library!).  I especially liked the the comparison between the marriages of Beatriz's parents and of her older sister, Rosa's.  Rosa is newly married and seems terrified about the long-term prospects of married life when she sees how her parents interact with each other after 30 years of being together.  Is this inevitable?  Is her marriage doomed to be so troubles after several decades?

Mexican Culture:
I love how the author showed the love, and dysfunction of a large Mexican family.  Being Mexican myself, I can attest to being as close to my cousins as I am to my siblings.  The strong personalities of the women, in particular, is a hallmark of large Hispanic broods.  I remember my grandmother as a woman who would not suffer fools lightly.  She had things to do, and you did not want to get in her way!  But with all the strong emotions also comes unbreakable bonds of love.  Stiefvater shows this so well in the relationship between Beatriz's estranged parents.

And the food...



What I Didn't Like:
                    
via GIPHY




                                                              

Rating: 




Release Date:  October 10th, 2017

Genre:  Magical Realism

Publisher:  Scholastic Press

Page Length: 311 Pages

Source:  Public Library

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This entertaining fable perfectly captures the Mexican culture.  Filled with symbolism and depth.  With it's focus on people of various ages, I would not necessarily consider this a YA book. 

 
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