Days of the Dead by Kersten Hamilton

 

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Arc provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

 

“Magic flows through Epoch, New Mexico. It seeps from the bones of Puerta de la Luna, a village that was hundreds of years old before the United States invaded Mexico and took this territory for its own.”

 

Days of the Dead is a wonderful book telling the complex story of a Mexican-American girl, Glorieta Espinosa, who lives in Epoch, New Mexico. She lives with her Papi and his new wife Alice, and her two children Lilith and Augus. She wants her Mamá’s ashes to be buried with the rest of the Espinosa in time for los Días de los Muertos. Unfortunately, her Tia Diosonita is the town’s patrona and condemned her Mamá’s suicide. This year, Glorieta has decided nothing will stop her from burying her Mamá’s ashes.

 

“My Tia Diosonita didn’t believe suicide was a sickness. She thought it was an unforgivable sin. Suicide was the reason La Patrona would not let me speak my mama’s name.”

 There are also immigration officers disrupting Epoch’s way of life. Father Francis, a priest at the town’s church, is helping refugees cross the border; however, not everyone is accepting of the new visitors. Every person in the town is deeply affected by the threat of the officers in their small town.

From the very beginning I was enthralled by Kersten Hamilton’s story about this remarkable little girl. While she was still grieving her mother’s untimely death, she easily accepted her new step-mother.  At least her Papi was happy again. And while everyone else just accepted that her mother committed suicide, Glorieta truly believed her she might not have. Glo wanted her mother to not be forgotten by her family.

 

“She could get a lawyer, try to immigrate legally, but even if she did, it would take twenty years for her case to make it to a judge. That’s how long the wait was if you wanted to emigrate from Mexico.”

 

Immigration played a bigger role than I knew, and it broke my heart. Immigration and border patrol officers were mentioned numerous times and it affects the main characters deeply. There is also a difference in how the topic is treated among most of the characters. Glorieta’s Papi called the visitors aliens. Father Francis used the word refugees. And Glorieta’s cousin, Mateo, was terrified his Tia would be taken.

Numerous times, Hamilton comments on how immigration was affecting everyone. Mateo was late to school for making sure his family was safe. Father Francis put himself at risk by smuggling immigrants into peoples’ houses. But this all culminated in the most tragic scene in Days of the Dead, when Glorieta is confused for an illegal immigrant. She is then forced to spend the night in a detention center before her Papi was able to get her out.  It was a scene that truly broke my heart because many people face these problems every day and I commend Hamilton for discussing in Days of the Dead.

Days of the Dead is a story the world needs right now. It is a story about family, immigration and facing our own fears. I 100% loved this book so much and I will bring as much attention as I can to it. You do not need to be a middle grade reader to enjoy Days of the Dead. This story is for everyone. Add this to your TBR pile come September 11,2018!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Trigger and content warnings loss of parents, immigration and deportation, suicide

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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