Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

HarperCollins. Apr. 2021. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062947550.
Gr 5 Up–Cecelia Rios does the unthinkable by freeing a dark criatura from the grips of her village. Criaturas have long plagued the residents of the Tierra del Sol desert. Forewarned by her Mama, Cece knows that criaturas were creatures born from the dust and the words of the Great Namer, which aim to harm humans. Shadowed by betrayal and shame, Cece deems herself weak, believing the town whispers that water smothered her inner fire. But when her sister Juana is kidnapped by the criatura, El Sombreron, Cece grapples with a decision that rivals her Mama’s beliefs. Her powerful choice unearths secrets of her family’s past and leads Cece down a forbidden path. Confronted with her fears, Cece forms unexpected alliances while battling a foe unlike any criatura: herself. Set against the Tierra del Sol backdrop, intertwined with rich Mexican folklore and culturally infused language, this is a brilliantly unveiled coming-of-age story not for the faint of heart. Rivera cultivates a valiant heroine unafraid to follow her heart and stand against the norm. With a captivating story line and adversaries lurking between the pages, readers will remain engrossed as fantasy mingles with the real world. The engaging plot unravels with twists and turns, keeping readers on edge even after Cece’s revelation.
VERDICT Courage, determination, and unwavering love are the foundation of this debut; a much-needed addition to public and school libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing