Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've meant to read this for so long and finally did thanks to the publisher, Soho Press, via Netgalley. Assadi was recently honored by the National Book Foundation as one of their "5 Under 35" authors of acclaim.
The settings (Sonora Desert and later New York City) are vivid and the two female friends growing into women are connected to the landscapes in a number of ways. Either one of them or the place might be cursed, because other teens start dying in their community. Ahlam, the daughter of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father, has dreams/visions that feel like clues.
There are elements that to me give away that this is a debut novel from a writer with an MFA program influence - extraordinary drug use for one - but it is stronger and more captivating than most novels in that vein. I liked the multiple timelines and storylines and the focus on the parents at times. The biggest strength is the sensory writing.
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