All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater

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I was blessed enough to read an ARC of Maggie Stiefvater's newest book, All the Crooked Saints (to be published in October), and I was not disappointed. It takes place in the middle of a desert in 1962, a place where real miracles happen at the hands of the Saints of the Moria family. These miracles physically change the pilgrim who comes to receive it in order to teach them a lesson mentally.

This well crafted magical realism sweeps you into their world and its strange characters. Now, it's debatable who the main character is as it focuses on several characters, all of them quirky and lovable. There is strong familial love between the Morias, there's new romantic love, forbidden love, love fizzled out and renewed, and found love between lost pilgrims that make you ache for these characters. I also love the theme of self reflection, learning, and change Steifvater shows with all these characters and their miracles, even Saints themselves changing views. The fact that the Moria family is from Mexico and clearly not white is pretty cool, too. Another thing I noticed were kind of Vonnegut-esque techniques like short vignettes of characters that seemed almost irrelevant but added to the world building and a somewhat detached tone.

My only critic is that this detached tone makes it hard to really feel for these characters at first. It does make them sound intriguing but it takes a lot more time and effort to feel their emotions through their actions more than the narrator's words. But overall, this was a really cool book with interesting concepts (miracles at the hands of what seem like ordinary people in an ordinary world), characters (emotionless Saints and wolf-headed priests), and wholesome themes (change and growth for the better, learning, helping, and love). - Teen reviewer T. Lo Check Our Catalog

© 2011 Thomas Crane Public Library

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