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

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

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“A Touch of Gold” is a retelling of the Greek Mythology story of King Midas. The story focuses on the daughter of Midas, Kora, and the curse her father accidentally gives her. Kora is somewhat of a legend in the castle, concealed by most until a thief steals some of her father’s cursed gold. With Kora’s connection to the cursed pieces, she goes on a seafaring journey with the charming young Duke Aris and his hired crew of pirates.

Kora is the main character and the daughter of King Midas. I was honestly not her biggest fan in the beginning. I found her to be indecisive and just muddled as a character. As the story progressed she began to grow on me. She was a sheltered character with a distant father and no real friends aside from her cousin. But I truly felt like she had some of the best character development and by the end, she became a great character.

Why you might like reading A Touch of Gold

 

The Twists and Turns in the plot

The romance was huge in the first half of the story. I’m not the biggest instalove fan, and so I was a little wary of whether I’d like this book or not. But about halfway through the book, the romance takes a turn and it was surprising to me. The turnaround was one of my favorite parts of this book, and I think that’s when I really started to enjoy “A Touch of Gold”

A Touch of Gold ticks a lot of my favorite boxes: Magic, sirens, curses, and pirates. But what is so fun about this book is that it’s not bogged down by one specific trope. It’s a fun mix of a light fantasy YA story.

 

The Character Relationships.

My favorite scene in the whole book was between Kora and Hattie. A high-risk scene, Kora, and Hattie work so well together and it was just brilliant. The two characters, who I was most wary, have this one scene that was so great, it made me love them even more.

Hattie also has a great relationship with Rhat. He acts as a great foil for Hattie and constantly keeps her on her toes. It was fun to watch Hattie come out of her shell and learn to love adventures.

 

A Touch of Gold ticks a lot of my favorite boxes: Magic, sirens, curses, and pirates. But what is so fun about this book is that it’s not bogged down by one specific trope. It’s a fun mix of a light fantasy YA story.

I read A Touch of Gold during my reading slump of 2018. I didn’t know much about it at the time of reading, but I really enjoyed it. The ending felt a little rushed but overall this standalone was fun and unpredictable. I was surprised by many of the twists and turns.

A Touch of Gold is perfect for fans of Daughter of a Pirate King and Song of the Current.

           ⭐⭐⭐⭐