Rivera, Lilliam

We Light Up the Sky

(2) YA Latinx teens Pedro, Luna, and Rafa attend the same Los Angeles high school but exist in different social orbits. Pedro is a well-known (but not well-liked) kid who uses social media to get the validation he doesn't receive at home. Luna is a popular girl who hides her feelings of grief and loneliness after the devastating loss of her beloved cousin Tasha to COVID-19. Rafa is a new kid who lives under a highway ramp; he has a fierce love of family but otherwise keeps to himself as a survival mechanism. Their disparate lives merge when an eerie teenager who looks exactly like Tasha arrives and begins wreaking murderous havoc on the city. When the (real) teens learn that "the Visitor's" appearance is the precursor to a wide-scale alien invasion, they must decide how to save a world that never seemed to want to save them. Rivera's (Pura Belpré honoree for Never Look Back, rev. 1/21) complex characterization and artful dialogue bring to life a near-contemporary world on the precipice of annihilation. Issues of racism, homelessness, and policing make this pre-apocalyptic novel feel especially relevant. Third-person narration alternates among the protagonists, providing a variety of perspectives. Fans of alien invasion novels grounded in the real world, such as Dow's The Sound of Stars and Yancey's The 5th Wave (rev. 5/13), will enjoy this engrossing story.


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