26 Oct / Ballad & Dagger [Outlaw Saints, Book 1] by Daniel José Older [in School Library Journal]
Lee Osorio bestows Daniel José Older’s newest series with an outstanding first volume – hopefully signaling further perfectly tuned duets. Once upon a time, the Caribbean island of San Madrigal was home to “that particularly wonderful mix of humanity … Sefaradim, Santeros, and pirates” as well as Indigenous peoples, European Jews, and freed West Africans. But the island sunk during a hurricane, scattering its inhabitants to Brooklyn.
Fifteen years later, high school junior and piano prodigy Mateo lives with two aunts (one corporeal, the other ghostly). His musical dreams get suddenly waylaid when, according to prophecy, he’s identified as one of “three initiated, fully awakened children of the original spirits” and the trio – when found – will raise and restore Madrigal. Alas, the vicious detractors can’t agree.
Verdict: Osorio is a powerhouse of diverse voices – good, bad, desperate, vile – amplified by his Latinx fluency.
From the introduction: For the latest audio roundup, we turn to titles inspired by fairy tales and mythology, each published in 2022. Rewriting, adapting, subverting the familiar has long been a popular literary trope – who can argue with universal appeal? Cinderella, especially, continues to be an evergreen favorite, appearing in multiple stories, often in surprising permutations. Read (and listen) on!
Readers: Young Adult