Debut novelist Asebedo creates a broken world in need of a Fixer in rural Kansas, where the women are deemed cursed and unscrupulous men take advantage.
Like all women born in Cottonwood Hollow, Rome and her best friends, blonde lesbian Lux and Latina Mercy, were born with unique gifts. Said to have been caused by the jilted wife of an early settler, for most the gifts have come to be seen as a curse. “I’m supposed to be a Fixer, but it seems like everything I touch lately breaks to pieces,” laments white protagonist Rome. When Rome and her single mom face possible eviction from their small trailer and Lux faces abuse at home, a mysterious diary that leads to an equally mysterious treasure seems to be the answer for their problems. The girls soon discover that the true treasure is not the long-lost item the diary points them to but their relationships with one another and the women who came before them. Along the way they also learn that their curses may in fact be blessings in disguise. The plot is enjoyable on a purely surface level, but there is also an intriguing feminist message ripe for discussion among thoughtful readers. While the women of Cottonwood Hollow have amplified gifts, readers will likely see similar gifting at work among the many amazing women in their own lives.
A heartwarming story of intergenerational sisterhood. (Magical realism. 14-18)