Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space

Wednesday Bks. Feb. 2022. 432p. ed. by Córdova, Zoraida, ed. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250790637.
Gr 10 Up–Justice, prison reform, polyamorous love, feminism, toppling dictators, and other timely topics populate the pages of this collection of short stories set in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, magical realms, and distant planets. While the characters in each of these stories are children coming of age, the apocalyptic and magical settings force them to become wise before their time. “The Tin Man” puts Alida in the desperate position of either remaining on Earth where she has memories of her family or getting into an ark destined for unknown parts and beginning again. In “Killing El Chivo,” Yesenia, Zaria, and Milagros are left to fend for themselves under a dictatorship that kidnapped and killed their parents. The teens becoming adults in this short story have to grapple with the difference between justice and revenge, and how both still twist the survivors into something they don’t want to be. Yesenia learns that to destroy a monster, one must become a monster as well. “Leyenda” by Romina Garber revisits the domain of werewolves and witches, and in it, the main character, Zaybet, tackles patriarchal systems of oppression. In each of these entries a sacrifice is negotiated in order for the protagonist to evolve into a hero and a survivor.
VERDICT This collection is recommended for older teens due to the intimate nature of the various characters within the stories. A solid choice for YA shelves.

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