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“Pacing and timing set this alternate-world story apart: tension rises as political factions conflict and family trust dissolves, empowerment is hard to find and much, much harder to navigate, religion unwillingly provides narratives used to excuse economic injustice, a border wall looms higher in imagination (and fear) than in reality, and in the middle of it all, Daniela might - might - be falling in love, but is constantly confused by loyalties hiding behind other loyalties. The setting includes an apparently Latin American nation (not real), a religion (also not real), and queer teens (very real). But the stereotypes and glib fantasizing of popular dystopias are absent. The supposedly obligatory pointed allegory isn't there. The pressure to build a world like other worlds must have been enormous for newcomer Mejia, but the author doesn't cave to that pressure. That gives the book an exceptional power. It's a believable, frightening nail-biter of a coming of age story set in a time like our own, when the desire for justice and the desire for love conflict in the minds of young people everywhere.”Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
“We Set the Dark on Fire burns bright. It will light the way for a new generation of rebels and lovers.” —NPR
“Mejia pens a compelling, gripping story that mirrors real world issues of immigration and equality.” —Buzzfeed
Five starred reviews!!
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
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