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Publisher's Summary

When a powerful desert spirit kidnaps her sister, Cece Rios must learn forbidden magic to get her back, in this own voices middle-grade fantasy perfect for fans of The Storm Runner and Aru Shah and the End of Time

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas - humans who capture and control criaturas - consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime. 

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself - while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family - and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

©2021 Kaela Rivera (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

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  • Overall
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Gripping Intense and Soulful

An amazing story to listen to with my 9 yo daughters. Magical, suspenseful and intriguing, we couldn’t wait to listen to each chapter’s twists and turns as the story (and expert narrator) spun a unique tale of loyalty and love where the protagonist and her unlikely new extended familia chooses to set aside prejudices, biases and stereotypes all for the sake of hope for a better world.

13 people found this helpful

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We all loved it

I listened to this with my kids (10,8 &6)
We all really enjoyed it. If your kids get scared easily it might be a little scary.

12 people found this helpful

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I need more of these characters!

I truly enjoyed this book. It's beautiful, magical, heartwarming, and at times rather dark. But in the end, it was bright and delightful, with characters I want to spend much more time with. I'll be listening to this book again for sure, I'm delighted to hear there will be a sequel.
Not only was the story riveting but the narrator was fabulous. 5 stars from me all around.

9 people found this helpful

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incredible story

this was a wonderful story. it combines all the good in a book. conflict between good and evil, friend and foe and light and darkness. this book made me feel strong and want to be a better person.

8 people found this helpful

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A gorgeous performance and gripping tale

Almarie Guerra absolutely outdoes herself narrating this book, bringing to life rich, emotional characters and tense, gripping stakes and pacing!

7 people found this helpful

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fun for the whole family!

I listened to this in the car with my kids (7&12) we all loved it!

6 people found this helpful

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Entertaining

I got this story for my daughter and found I really enjoyed listening to it with her. It's entertaining and the narration adds to the story telling.

5 people found this helpful

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  • MK
  • 10-25-21

Great story… but… the abuse isn’t ok

Here’s the thing… I loved the story. Loved the creativity. Loved the mythology. Did NOT live that CeCe’s mother somehow made the fact that CeCe’s father hit CeCe in the face leaving a large purple bruise ‘okay’. As strong as Cece is, she ends this novel happily heading home to her drunk, cruel, abusive father, and weak, timid, accepting mother. After fighting the dark criatura, and finding her inner strength, it’s all ‘well, hey it’s ok that dad hit me… he was drunk…’ was disappointing at best and irresponsible of the author at worst.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Imaginative Story

I listened to this with my daughter and it was amazing! We loved to read a book that mixed elements of our culture and language. We hope the author writes a sequel!

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Powerful because of the values and truths it reveals

I am an adult and I loved this story. It’s wholesome without being cliche, and portray values like honesty, friendship, kindness, and love in a world that is none of those things. The main character’s love and acceptance of her family despite their sometimes serious faults is so refreshing. She is brave and looks further than stereotypes to see the true value in others, even when they are rejected by everyone else.

When I am dealing with a lot of stress in my own life, I seek out books exactly like this. Wonderful story; great for young people especially.