Bicho Raro, Colorado, is a town where the people, particularly the Mexicans and Mexican Americans, are mysterious and magical. Strangers travel far and wide in search of the town where miracles happen or, alternately, find themselves in this town not realizing that they need a miracle. Stiefvater puts the three Soria cousins at the center of the narrative. Each cousin has their own propensity for miracles, but Daniel, the oldest, is the one with the power to perform miracles for strangers and friends. His cousins Beatriz and Joaquin struggle to form their own futures. This is an intensely character-driven narrative, and Stiefvater's use of magic realism is at times too dependent on commonplace Latinx stereotypes. For example, Beatriz is the archetype Latina vixen, or, in Stiefvater's words, "la chica sin sentimientos" (the woman without feelings). Still, this makes for a great opportunity for YA readers and educators to discuss how people of color get represented in literature as subservient, mystical beings, and it would pair interestingly with Anna-Marie McLemore's When the Moon Was Ours (2016). HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stiefvater is one of YA's biggest stars, and her first stand-alone since the Raven Cycle will demand lots of attention. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
In this lushly written tale set in 1962 Colorado, Stiefvater explores the complex and interconnected nature of desires, fears, and miracles via a Mexican-American family known for producing saints. Pilgrims come to the desert of Bicho Raro seeking cures to their woes, but the miracles they receive from the Soria saints are seldom what they expect. One winds up covered in moss, another only able to repeat what is said to her; these miracles are a "two-step process," and it's up to the pilgrims to unlock the meanings behind these transformations. When Daniel, the current saint, violates the Sorias' greatest taboo, his family, including intellectual Beatriz and pirate radio deejay Joaquin, and the pilgrims of Bicho Raro must drive off the darkness that emerges. The language of legend and magical realism suffuse this sprawling and intimate novel; while the book's tone is all its own and Stiefvater remains a summarily confident wordsmith, the setup, which sees a volatile family wrestling with unpredictable magic and forbidden romances, echoes her Raven Cycle books fairly closely. Dense, tricky, and thought-provoking. Ages 14–up. Agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary. (Oct.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 8 Up—Pilgrims travel to Bicho Raro, Colorado, for a miracle from the Sorias, a Mexican American family of saints who can "cure" people of their darkness. When the pilgrims' darkness manifests, they have to overcome it on their own. If the Sorias interfere, their own inner darkness takes over. In 1962, Bicho Raro is overrun by pilgrims who haven't been able to complete the miracle, and the current saint, David, has fallen in love with one of the pilgrims. He helps her and his darkness manifests. His younger cousins, Beatriz and Joaquin, are afraid to interfere because of the curse. But two visitors, including a handsome teen who catches Beatriz's interest, might be the key to helping the Sorias. The desert setting, intricate family dynamics, and the power of love and music resonate in this lush but often overwrought tale. Subplots distract from the core story and character development is often weighed down by the convoluted language. The rules of the family curse are laid down just to be broken and remade for the convenience of the plot. The influence of Latin American storytelling is woven throughout, and the family's ranch's name can be translated in Mexican Spanish as "Strange or Rare Insect." But it also has a more explicit translation in other countries. Also, the family is saved by the machinations of the ingenious (and possibly neuro-atypical) Beatriz, but she's inspired to do so because of her white love interest. VERDICT This title will be popular with the author's fans, but for readers interested in well-crafted YA magical realism, turn to Laura Ruby and Anna-Marie McLemore instead.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.
When Daniel Soria, the current saint of Bicho Raro, Colorado, violates the family's greatest taboo, Beatriz and Joaquin, along with the visitors, must drive off the darkness. - (Baker & Taylor)
When Daniel Soria, the current saint of Bicho Raro, Colorado, violates the family's greatest taboo, Beatriz and Joaquin, along with the pilgrims, must drive off the darkness. - (Baker & Taylor)
Three cousins who are members of an unusual family that possesses the ability to perform miracles are repeatedly sought out for their gifts while they struggle to establish free lives for themselves and navigate the fallout from miracles that happen in ways other than anticipated. By the award-winning author of the Raven Cycle series. Simultaneous eBook. - (Baker & Taylor)
From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family.
Here is a thing everyone wants:
Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.