Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Author: Karla Valenti
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Mexican MC and characters
Recommended For…: middle grade readers, fantasy, magical realism, Mexican mythology and lore
Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Genre: MG Fantasy
Age Relevance: 8+ (poisoning, scary moments, death, grief)
Explanation of Above: The MC is poisoned by a scorpion at one point in the book, but is ok. The book shows a character’s death and the grief after it. There are also some scary moments, including a moment with a spider.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: It is the hottest hour of the hottest day in Oaxaca City when Life and Death walk into town, ready to begin a new game of Lotería. But first, they need a pawn, a child whose fate will be determined by the winner of the game: a long and prosperous life or an untimely death. Fate finds this child in a robin-egg blue house, tucked beneath a massive jacaranda tree. And so, the game begins.
Every card reveals a new twist in Clara’s fate: a tree, a scorpion, a fateful arrow, a mermaid, a deer, a treacherous rose. But Clara knows none of this. All she knows is that her cousin Esteban has vanished, and she’ll do whatever it takes to save him, travelling to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas in her search. And although it seems her fate was sealed as soon as the cards were dealt, Clara just might have what it takes to shatter the game and choose a new path.
Review: I loved this book! It was a fun read that reminded me a lot of Coco. The book is Mexican Mythology and Lore inspired and had so much culture in it as well. The book is also very informative and offers a ton of information in the back about the card game that is played throughout. The book is also very adventurous and younger children who are just beginning their fantasy reading journey would love this book. The book had well developed characters and world building as well.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book is that the POV switching was a bit confusing for me as the voices were not that different, but it was still a fun read.
Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!