Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Saint Death 
Author: Marcus Sedgwick 
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 
Source: Publisher 
Published: April 25th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he's stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo's help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death--and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.

Photobucket


“Don’t worry where you’re going; you will die where you have to.” 

This is a book that took me not only out of my reading comfort zone but far from my comfortable home with its central air and cozy reading chair. It took me to the border city of Juarez, a place where drugs and human trafficking are everyday life for its residents. This is a story of poverty, desperation... and selflessness. It’s where I met Arturo, and it’s where I’ll never forget him.

Arturo and Faustino grew up as close as brothers, but Faustino disappeared one day without a word to Arturo. Now, nearly a year later, he’s back; and he needs Arturo’s help. Faustino is now a part of the city’s most violent drug gang, and he has stolen $1,000 from the narcos in hopes of smuggling his girlfriend and their baby into the United States. Arturo is an expert at the game Calavera, and Faustino’s plan is to have Arturo win back his money for him.

Though it took a couple of chapters for me to really get into this story, I quickly became invested in Arturo and completely riveted by what transpires for him over the course of a day as he risks everything to help his friend. The scariest, most heart-pounding moment was when he was playing with the small amount of money he had to his name... and he began to win. What happens next is for readers to discover.

This is not a pleasant comfort read that will leave you in high spirits; but it is a timely, eye-opening, and unique young adult novel that will stay with you long after you put it down. Filled with cultural references and Mexican folk religion, Saint Death is both educational and thought-provoking. This is the kind of story that raises both awareness and empathy, and I’m very glad to have read it.

“This book is about other stories that occur over there, 
across the river. 
The comfortable way to deal with these stories is to say 
they are about them. 
The way to understand these stories is to say 
they are about us.” 
                                                                            – Charles Bowden 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales

  

20 comments:

  1. I don't usually read stories like this one but I've accepted an ARC with the same idea recently and I really hope it'll end up good like you did for this one. Great review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope it will too, Vanessa, and I highly recommend this one, as well. Thanks so much! :)

      Delete
  2. That is an amazing cover! This book would definintely take me out of my comfort zone as well but sometimes those end up being the best. So glad you enjoyed and wonderful review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I adore the cover! It fits the story so perfectly. You're absolutely right, and it did end up being an incredible book. Thank you, sweets <3

      Delete
  3. This author is always hit or miss with readers it seems. I have yet to try his stuff. This one captures my attention in that you say it is outside your comfort zone, thought provoking and educational. I am curious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems this particular book is, as well. This is going to take an audience who cares about the things that are happening in other countries as well as our own. I still haven't stopped thinking about it and about Arturo. I'm so glad I read this, and I believe you would appreciate how different this book is from other YAs.

      Delete
  4. It can be hard to read out of our comfort zone sometimes. But a book that builds our empathy is definitely worth it! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like a book that will really stick with you.
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It truly was worth it, Jess. A very unique and thought-provoking story. :)

      Delete
  5. wow I did not realize that this is a YA till the end, it seems like a darker read for a YA. I don't always mind books that take me out of my comfort zone. I find them hard to read but I always end up enjoying them, oddly enough lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darker and so very powerful! I'm the same way, Lily. This one surprised me, and I realize I need to push myself to read more books that aren't my usual fare.

      Delete
  6. While I have never tried this author, you do have me very curious and it sounds like it has some dark, realistic elements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was my first book by this author, but I will definitely be reading more of his work. I think you would appreciate the message in this one -- so good!

      Delete
  7. I like the eye-catching cover. And thanks for your review...interesting. I will be reading this as it intrigued me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a great cover. Thank you; it's a very unique and mesmerizing story.

      Delete
  8. I kind of love that cover. Sounds like a great story, and something more people should read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too. It fits the story perfectly. It really is, Christy, and I hope they will.

      Delete
  9. I like the eye-catching cover and the story premise sounds interesting. Thanks for your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I highly recommend this story.

      Delete
  10. I have not read this author before or this genre but I do love the cover> Your review has me wanting to read this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cindy! It's such an important book. Heart-breaking but intriguing.

      Delete

Thank you for stopping by our blog! We don't participate in blog tags, and this is an award-free blog; but we do love making new bookish friends. Happy Reading!