This books is as unrelenting as the abuse endured within its pages. Its equal parts Shirley Jackson, Charles Dickens and Angela Carter. This beautifully written suburban gothic is cut through with shards of magical realism and propped up by the sympathetic voice of the protagonist. It surveys the laborious nature of trauma and the dissociation required to cope.
Is it fate that intertwines 17-yr-old Xochi and 12-yr-old Pallas, or is it simply kindred spirit? On the night of the Autumn Equinox, they cast a playful spell and summon two eerie, green forest children - "Water Babies" in Native American lore - but these creatures do more than cause vivid dreams. Told from multiple POV's (including a bookstore cat!) with interludes in verse and oral storytelling, Keil's debut is a lush, magical novel of first loves and found family.
A delightfully dark "New Adult" read for fans of Francesca Lia Block, Sherman Alexie, and Hayao Miyazaki.
If Haruki Murikami had been born in Mexico and raised in southern Texas, this is the book he would have written. It's futuristic and hallucinogenic look at that region gives us a unique and welcome lens to view the border.
After her mother's suicide, Leigh and her father struggle through their now-greyscale world. When a great red bird deposits a box of family mementos on her porch, Leigh knows undoubtedly that this bird is her mother. She journeys to Taiwan and dives headfirst into the trauma of her family's past, but the weight of old grief and of new memories compounds. A moving portrait of finding oneself again after tremendous loss.