Review Blog

Jan 10 2018

All the crooked saints by Maggie Stiefvater

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781742767611
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Miracles. Music. A strange, lyrical and ultimately uplifting story All the crooked saints follows the fortunes of the Soria family, a family that has a saint who can perform miracles for the pilgrims who come to Bicho Raro. There is one catch, the pilgrims receiving a miracle have their darkness made manifest but then they have to come to terms with it before it disappears as a second miracle. In the Soria family are three young people who want to change things: Beatriz wants to be free to be an intellectual; Joaquin longs to be the Diablo Diablo of the renegade radio station that he comperes and Daniel, the current saint, wants to be with the pilgrim, Marisita, but is forbidden to help her with her darkness.
Stiefvater brings her highly original take on this story, which was slow to start for me, but as I became familiar with the family members and the pilgrims who wanted a miracle, it gained momentum and became a story that I think about often. Its message of darkness that people have and how they must overcome it alone by themselves will resonate with readers.
The three young main characters, Beatriz, Joaquin and Daniel are very engaging, and every person in the ill-fated Soria family is intriguing and captivates the reader's attention. The beauty of the setting - the starkness of the desert - gives the story much atmosphere and the reader is caught up in the tension of Daniel's disappearance into the desert and fear for his survival. Music too is so important to the plot ranging from the songs that Joaquin talking as Diablo Diablo sends out on the pirate radio station, to the lyrics that give back a pilgrim her voice.
All the crooked saints is complex and demanding, but fans of Maggie Stiefvater will not be disappointed with its rich themes of redemption and star-crossed romance.
Pat Pledger

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