Hearts of Fire and Snow

Bloomsbury YA. Jun. 2024. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781547610044.
Gr 9 Up–This cowritten novel brings to life an Aztec story of two lovers who lost each other centuries ago, reuniting in the present day. Gregorio Chan wakes with no memory of who he is, although he remembers many other things. He is apparently the heir to a wealthy Mexican scion of industry. In truth, he is the reborn Captain Popoca searching a millennium for his lost love, Princess Iztac. His guardians have transferred him to a new school in Reno, NV, at the start of his senior year in order to meet two potential candidates who might be her. Blanca Montes is the heir to a local business empire under the care of her strict godfather. She passionately advocates for solutions to local environmental problems, despite pushback from her toxic boyfriend and godfather. Once the two meet, they form a strong connection, working together to take control of their lives. Told in alternating chapters, the plot grinds to a halt for much of the book with repetitive inner turmoil and interjected confusing past lives. Readers will struggle to suspend any disbelief at the oddly phrased dialogue and strong emphasis on AP curriculum projects that are far too advanced for what most high schoolers actually tackle in such classes. The romance is sadly forced rather than fated and the villains are so easy to spot that they lose all sense of menace. What feels like a strong short story labors as a novel.
VERDICT Choose instead Aiden Thomas’s The Sunbearer Trials or Lani Forbes’s The Seventh Sun.

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