Alebrijes - Donna Barba Higuera
A dark but beautiful dystopian/ post-apocalyptic novel that weaves in themes of cultural diversity and Mexican folklore.
In the ravaged wasteland of Earth, the unforgiving city of Pocatel stands, ruled by a tiered social system. Thirteen-year-old Leandro, a member of the Cascabel underclass, wants to escape and find a better life beyond the city's harsh walls, where danger lurks but where he might find freedom from tyranny. His punishment, transferring his consciousness to a Drone, grants him unexpected insights into the world around him and the hidden truths of Pocatel.
Even though it's aimed at middle-grade readers, this book could easily be regarded as a YA novel. It deals with social themes that are quite heavy for young minds, such as corruption, abuse, oppression, propaganda, racism, and cruelty. The main character is young but well-developed, mature, and relatable.
Because the author borrowed pieces of Mexican culture for the story, readers who don't speak Spanish might have a hard time understanding parts of the book. Even though it's in English, it contains an abundance of Spanish words and phrases. It might be easier for those who read the eBook version thanks to the dictionary options that many apps have, however, the audiobook might pose some difficulty.
Nonetheless, Alebrijes by Donna Barba Higuera is an excellent choice for lovers of dystopian and post-apocalyptic readers, no matter their age.
Review copy provided by RB Media @ NetGalley
Publisher: Levine Querido (October 3, 2023)
Hardcover: 416 pages