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by David Bowles & Guadalupe García McCall

Pub Date: June 6th, 2023
ISBN: 9781547609895
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Lovers separated by time fight for their lives.

Calizto and Sitlali are not from the same world: They may come from the same place, but they’re living centuries apart, pursuing completely different lives, and struggling with their own battles. In 1521 in the city of Tenochtitlan, Calizto is fleeing from pursuit by colonizing Spaniards when he throws a sacred shell, a moon conch, into the sea. In 2019, Sitlali is walking along the beach when it washes up at her feet. Sitlali’s father has left, and her mother passed away years ago; now her Abuela Lucía has died too. Forced by gang activity to quit her job and threatened by a young man who wants to force her into marriage, Sitlali decides to cross the border from Mexico to the United States in hopes of finding her father. Although all of Calizto’s family died in the recent plague, he’s accompanied by Ofirin, a Yoruba man formerly enslaved by the Spaniards whom his father rescued. Sitlali and Calizto start to communicate in Nahuatl and Spanish as the conch connects their thoughts. Calizto learns from Sitlali what the future brings, and the two fall in love. Although the premise is interesting and the worldbuilding is solid, the narrative moves slowly, and the characterization makes it difficult to understand why the two main characters connect so deeply with each other, keeping readers from fully investing in the story.

A clever concept not quite fully realized.

(historical figures, gods and legendary figures, maps) (Fantasy romance. 14-18)