All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
What I love about magic realism is how the realistic aspect of the story pulls you in and allows the arising magical qualities to become so much more believable. All the Crooked Saints takes place in 1962 in southeastern Colorado in the fictional town of Bicho Raro. Here the Soria family has the ability to perform miracles.
But there are phases of the miracle, and the first miracle is not the end of the journey. The person often gets stuck midway, (like we do in life). In limbo, the person retains strange characteristics, like the giant man who towers over buildings and a girl whose tears continually rain over her. The Soria saints are forbidden to help the “pilgrims” who must work through the rest of their miracles.
One of the best parts of the story: I love how the three Soria cousins, Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin, create a renegade radio station in the middle of the high desert, broadcasting their illegal signal in the dark of night. At first, the radio station serves Joaquin’s creative desire to be a DJ known as Diablo Diablo. But as time passes, the trio uses the radio to work their own miracles for the pilgrims living at Bicho Raro.
But it’s not only the pilgrims who confront darkness in their lives. Even the Sorias are faced with confronting their own darkness. This is a unique, magical story of three young people who break the taboo of helping others. In doing so, they experience the miracle of discovering themselves and where they fit in among the saints and pilgrims of Bicho Raro.
The author describes southeastern Colorado to the point the reader can feel the arid heat on his arms amid the floating scent of tangy sagebrush. Even more important—-in the skilled hands of Maggie Stiefvater, the characters spring to life, like flowers blooming in the high desert!
Follow me on Instagram: @lucindastein