Xochitl is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enigmatic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.
Her one desire: to share her heart with a kindred spirit.
One night, Xo's wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town's murderous conqueror. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match . . . if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.
"I have been trying to find words that envelop my feelings for this book into a cohesive sentence, but since that could take years—this book is a stunning, incredible journey showing the ways that storytelling is an integral part of life."—Buzzfeed
“This book is a prayer, and it also feels like a warning.”—NPR
“Oshiro deftly weaves an intricate, allegorical, and often gory tale within a post-apocalyptic desert setting that readers will feel so viscerally they may very well need to reach for a glass of water. A meditation and adventure quest offering solace to anyone bearing an unfair burden.”—Kirkus Reviews
"The writing, akin to an atmospheric, novel-length poem, seamlessly weaving in Spanish and matter-of-fact queer representation, is beautiful to read. Contemplative teens will appreciate this meaningful story about human existence."—Booklist
“A cross between Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s We Set the Dark on Fire, this haunting story will stay with readers just like the stories Xochitl has kept.”—School Library Journal
“A sincere journey through nuanced struggles: the weight of pain, how hope and complicity feed immigrant exploitation, and breaking flawed social cycles. This ambitious, organically Spanish-studded examination of trauma stays adventurous and accessible, resulting in a grace-filled, loving declaration of human value and worth.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
We met the others at nightfall on the western side of Empalme, past the square and beyond the well. It was where Julio and his men had made their camp over a month ago. We ignored them as we passed, but I could see them watching us as we went by,...
Listen to an Excerpt from the AudiobookDownload MP3
Tor Teen Presents: Empathy Over Stigma
An intimate and candid conversation on mental health representation in YA, featuring authors Mark Oshiro (author of Anger is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert), TJ Klune (author of The Extraordinaries), and Lauren Shippen (author of The Infinite Noise and A Neon Darkness).Share This