Alebrijes by Donna Barbara Higuera

Rating: 5/5

What It’s About:

This is the story as it was told to me by Leandro the Mighty.

For 400 years, Earth has been a barren wasteland. The few humans that survive scrape together an existence in the cruel city of Pocatel – or go it alone in the wilderness beyond, filled with wandering spirits and wyrms. They don’t last long.

13 year-old pickpocket Leandro and his sister Gabi do what they can to forge a life in Pocatel. The city does not take kindly to Cascabel like them – the descendants of those who worked the San Joaquin Valley for generations.

When Gabi is caught stealing precious fruit from the Pocatelan elite, Leandro takes the fall. But his exile proves more than he ever could have imagined – far from a simple banishent, his consciousness is placed inside an ancient drone and left to fend on its own. But beyond the walls of Pocatel lie other alebrijes like Leandro who seek for a better world – as well as mutant monsters, wasteland pirates, a hidden oasis, and the truth.

Levine Querido

Thank you to Levine Querido and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book released on October 1, 2023.

The Review

Alebrijes is a book that doesn’t quite fit my normal reading choices. It is geared towards a middle grade audience and the genre falls under post apocalyptic/ science fiction. BUT I LOVED IT. I was reading the book any chance that I got! The premise is so incredibly unique and Donna Barbara Higuera wrote an amazing story.

The Mexican and Mexican-American influences is what initially drew me in. There are many elements similar to our own world and history that the reader can see. This broadens the appeal to a wider age range of readers. I was reminded of the history and treatment of migrant workers in the United States, segregation, forced assimilation, and racial injustice.

The group of characters in Alebrijes were wonderful to follow throughout the book. I felt a connection to a majority of them. This book is great example of an underdog story with the oppressed trying to survive and overthrow the oppressors. There were a couple of plot twists and reveals that surprised me (in a good way). The story’s pacing was steady and had good momentum. Oh..and I cried twice lol. Which is a big deal for me.

Alebrijes was a memorable read from beginning to end. There are many elements included in the story that would appeal to many readers.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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