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We Set the Dark on Fire Hardcover – 26 February 2019
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“We Set the Dark on Fire burns bright. It will light the way for a new generation of rebels and lovers.” —NPR
“Mejia pens a compelling, gripping story that mirrors real world issues of immigration and equality.” —Buzzfeed
Five starred reviews!!
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
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“With its achingly slow-burn romance and incisive examination of power structures, this is a masterfully constructed novel, made all the more impressive as it’s a debut.” -- ALA Booklist (starred review)
“A richly constructed world full of fantasy and diversity, with a mystery that will keep them guessing until the very end.” -- School Library Journal (starred review)
“This fierce, feminist novel throws memorable characters into a provocative set of circumstances, and the constant twists will leave readers yearning for the conclusion.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
”This well-crafted fantasy offers a mirror that reflects themes in our own difficult world, namely privilege, immigration, and individualism versus the common good. A queer subplot with sensual tenderness adds rich complexity to the story. Thrilling and timely.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, We Set the Dark on Fire burns with parallels to today’s biggest news headlines. Readers will walk away with thought-provoking questions to ponder, and the story’s ending will ignite further fascination. -- BookPage (starred review)
“Mejia’s debut creates a lush and beautiful Latinx-inspired world featuring complex female characters. With thrilling adventure, unexpected twists and a cliffhanger ending, readers will clamor for the next installment.” -- Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Mejia pens a compelling, gripping story that mirrors real world issues of immigration and equality.” -- Buzzfeed
“We Set the Dark on Fire is dystopian YA as you’ve only dreamed it could be. Mejia’s story is specific yet universal, intricate and vast; it’s fire and smoke and the phoenix rising from the ashes.” -- Tor.com
“With lots of action and palace intrigue, the novel is a page turner.” -- New York Journal of Books
About the Author
TEHLOR KAY MEJIA is a bestselling and award winning author of young adult and middle grade fiction.
Her debut young adult novel, We Set the Dark on Fire, received six starred reviews, as well as the Oregon Spirit Book Award for debut fiction, and the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award runner up honor for debut speculative fiction. It has been featured on Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books lists, and was a 2019 book of the year selection by Kirkus and School Library Journal. Its sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm, followed to continuing acclaim, while Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award Nominee Anna-Marie McLemore) was named to the American Library Association’s 2021 Rainbow List, honoring outstanding contributions in LGBTQIA teen fiction.
Tehlor’s debut middle grade novel, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, was published by the Rick Riordan Presents imprint at Disney/Hyperion. It received four starred reviews, and was named Amazon’s best book of 2020 in the 9-12 age range. It is currently in development at Disney as a television series to be produced by Eva Longoria.
Tehlor lives with her daughter, partner, and two small dogs in Oregon, where she grows heirloom corn and continues her quest to perfect the vegan tamale.
- Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books (26 February 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062691317
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062691316
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Item Weight : 441 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.07 x 20.96 cm
- Country of Origin : USA
- Best Sellers Rank: #354,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3,641 in Library & Information Science
- #5,606 in Children's Family, Personal & Social Issues (Books)
- #9,789 in Children's Fantasy (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from other countries
Meanwhile, a rebellion is simmering as the poor go hungry, but the rich have surplus food going to waste.
Dani must decide whether she will be a cog in the machine or rise up against the ruthless regime! With some romance added in to the mix as well.
Part of the magic of the story surely was the intricate and natural way in which it incorporated the sometimes hopeless present political and societal struggles in the world and managed to wrap them in fire, but also in hope and a gentle reminder that not everything is lost and dark always. In addition to that I loved and hated in equal measure the compassionate and empathetic way in which the story navigated the patriarchal and deeply sexist system the world was build on, not shying away from harsh realities like sexual and intimate partner violence, the psychological and emotional consequences of it, and the wide ranging effects it has on everyone living in that kind of society.
It made this a very hard book to read, and the ending wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. But at the same time it was the perfect book for me, left me even more emotionally invested than I thought possible and it stoked that tiny spark of hope in my chest that might not be entirely rational or even realistic, but felt wonderful nonetheless.
In many aspects, this is a very interesting book. There are a lot of Latino characters, the atmosphere is very "The Handmaid's Tale" style and the dystopic world created with all its political intrigues is very interesting.
I absolutely love that there's an f/f relationship HOWEVER the beginning of the love story of these two characters is too rushed and sudden. Moreover, the story in general is a little bit obvious: what should have been shocking revelations were actually things that I could predict chapters before.
Anyway, since the book ended with a cliffhanger, I will surely read the second novel.