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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Review: 'All the Crooked Saints'

All the Crooked Saints
By Maggie Stiefvater
YA Fiction
October 2017
ISBN: 978-0545930802

Being a saint isn't easy, as too many members of the Sorio family know. There's not only the granting of miracles, there's the aftermath when the recipient has to figure out what the miracle means and what to do for the second miracle to take place. Because it takes both miracles before a pilgrim can move on.

For the saint and family, that means not interferring lest their own darkness appear. When a new pilgrim seeking a miracle, and a young man who just wants a truck to start a business, show up at the Sorio outpost in remote Bicho Raro, Colorado, in the 1960s, it's going to be harder for all of the Sorios to not become involved.

In Maggie Stiefvater's magical new novel, All the Crooked Saints, the Sorios have known for generations that helping a pilgrim get to the second step of a miracle, after the saint performs the first miracle, is dangerous to the pilgrim and themselves. As a result, their little settlement is overrun with pilgrims who haven't found the solution, from a bride whose dress is covered in butterflies and who weeps rivers of sadness, to twins entangled by a snake, to a padre with a animal head.

But Pete and Tony, the new guys in town, set in motion changes that cannot be stopped. Pete has a hole in his heart but it is an organ filled with kindness and determination. He works harder than anyone, and falls in love with the desert. The desert, in return, loves him back. Tony is a DJ making a name for himself but cannot bear being stared at any longer. He is in search of a miracle.

The current saint is quiet Daniel. His two beloved cousins are Beatriz, the tinkerer who works mechanical wonders, and Joaquin, an amateur DJ and weaver of tales. The trio drive through the desert at night so Joaquin can broadcast via the pirate radio station Beatriz created. The station exists in the back of the truck Pete was promised by a distant relative.

Although miracles that finish the quest of pilgrims are in short supply when the novel begins, the meeting of the determination of Pete and Tony with the traditions and family heritage of the Sorios results in a story filled with magic realism, hope, love and problems that were decades in the making. Stefvater has a beautiful way of using hyperbole to create the world of the Sorios, to enrich the characterizations and to make everyone's quest meaningful.

The novel is marketed for teens, but it is a one that anyone who loves fables and family stories should miss. All the Crooked Saints is a beautifully elegant story that can make a reader's heart ache, and sing.

©2017 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Review and reprinted with permission

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