ISBN 978-0-545-93080-2 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 7-12
The Storia family has a special gift: they perform miracles for pilgrims. The gift has evolved into something of a curse over the years, however, as it comes in two parts. The first miracle makes manifest whatever darkness that haunts the pilgrim, but to dispel the darkness, the second miracle must be performed by the pilgrim alone, without the aid of the Storias. As a result, pilgrims who can’t manage their second miracle linger on their property: a lecherous priest with the head of a coyote, a moss-covered man who can’t escape his malaise, a woman who can only repeat what is said to her, among others. Three teen Storias are determined to break this curse, believing that there must be a way to help the pilgrims without putting themselves in danger. Stiefvater’s lyrical, sure-footed, and often humorous prose guides readers through lengthy expository passages that personify the setting of this atmospheric tale of magic and romance. While Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin are arguably the main characters, this isn’t a story where readers linger in any one perspective; instead, readers follow the fates of various Storia family members past and present, pilgrims, and one young man, Pete, who is neither Storia nor pilgrim and yet is instrumental in saving them all. With rhetorical finesse that continually surprises and delights, literalized metaphors that aptly reveal distinct yet common human foibles, and teasingly insightful bits of philosophy salted throughout, this is perfect for readers who loved Law’s Savvy (BCCB 9/08) a few years ago and Acioli’s The Head of the Saint (BCCB 2/16) a few months ago, and will be moving into Alice Hoffman and Gabriel Garcia Márquez in the future.