Cover Image: Reclaim the Stars

Reclaim the Stars

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Member Reviews

These stories by Latinx authors spanned sci-fi, contemporary fantasy, and high fantasy and often drew from the authors' respective cultures. I did not read all of the stories (there were several authors who are known for being anti-Indigenous) but I enjoyed most of the stories I did read. The speculative elements were almost always well-integrated. My favorite stories were Eterno by JC Cervantes, Color-Coded by Maya Motayne, Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno, and River People by Yamile Saied Méndez.
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I enjoyed these stories!  The break up of three parts made it a little more understandable, however I wonder if that's the reason I compared stories that where in the same section.  

There where some that I very much enjoyed (Tame the Wicked Night by Zoraida Cordova!), but some that I wish were longer and more fleshed out.  I think some of them can stand to be full novels in their own right vs this shortened version of what we received.
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I've recently discovered that I love short story collections, so when this one came up, I couldn't resist giving it a go, and boy am I glad I did. I do wish it had less of a "young adult feel", though I do still love YA. The collection was really interesting and, as always with this type of work, some stories I lvoed and others I could have done without. Tame the Wicked Night, Reign of Diamonds, and Creatures of Kings were definitely my favorites, but I still found myself entertained by most of the stories here. Despite them all being different, they still flowed together rather nicely and made for a really unique and exciting collection.
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Reclaim the Stars is an anthology of seventeen unique science fiction and fantasy short stories that are all rooted in Latin American mythology, language, and existence. I have featured three select pieces from the different sections of the collection that highlight the wide variety of settings, relationships, and magic systems at play throughout. I personally recommend them all because they are unforgettable and left me hoping for more.  

“Even with telescopios, no one could have seen through the swirling atmosphere that I was still breathing. They could not have seen the shape of Ignacia’s lips, how many times she said my name.”
The first piece within Reclaim the Stars, “Reign of Diamonds,” is a beautiful introduction to the Latin American-inspired sci-fi and fantasy stories that await. With a wonderful mix of detailed storytelling and realistic characters, I was rooting for a happy ending from the first page. Anna-Marie McLemore weaves together a literal star-crossed love story as the heroine must fight to the death to maintain her family’s control over the La Ruta interstellar trade route. However, it will not come easily as her rival is another woman who has become more familiar than an enemy kept close. 

“Reign of Diamonds” was possibly my favorite story in the collection, partially because of the undeniable queer representation. Mainly, though, it’s because of the way that McLemore seamlessly integrates the futuristic and cosmic storytelling with the very realistic, central romance between two brokenhearted but ultimately warring women. Spanish is also intermixed with great care, so that English-only readers, like myself, are able to understand. This ultimately grounded the relationships and worldbuilding beyond the science fiction elements. I found myself constantly returning to this sapphic, galactic Romeo and Juliet with a much happier ending.

“Panic urged me away, the usual reaction to the cursed foam that was slowly pouring from her eyes and ears, surrounding both of us in a bubble of rotten clouds.”
If the women in your family are cursed to rot from the inside out with every lie, and the men are destined to never love, how can you live any semblance of a normal life as a nonbinary person? Gabriel carries with them the generational, maldición eterna, which began when a female ancestor was forced by her family to lie and deny her love for a goddess. This fantasy story is based in the real world, allowing Gabriel’s mother and father to have freedom of choice and love far away from their family’s whispering ocean shore and the cloying stench of relatives pretending to accept you. 

This piece entitled “White Water, Blue Ocean” by Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez primarily explores traditional familial expectations, and how for many young queer people, your very identity can break apart those relationships. Gabriel’s relationship with their father is a particularly bright spot in this story. Gabriel’s mother’s family holds the curse, and Gabriel’s father can sympathize with not fitting in with the dysfunctional family. The lore within Pérez’s story is very well integrated between the trauma, but I will warn any potential readers that Gabriel is deadnamed and intentionally misgendered by their family multiple times. It is overall a realistic (and magical) examination of the repercussions of ancestral lying and broken family dynamics.

“This is the story about the boy who would unleash an ancient power for the sweet sin of a banished god’s love.”
The final story of the anthology, “Tame the Wicked Night,” by collection editor Zoraida Córdova is an interesting fusion of historical fiction, Latin American mythology, and transformative romance. Aurelio Saturnelio becomes the head of his family’s house when his older brother goes to war. With his immense abilities to influence the growth of plants, he finds more solace in nature and with the animals around him than with any other human. When Aurelio must enter the deadly Midnight Mountains to slay a beast called the wicked night as penance for rejecting a marriage proposal, he is met with a fascinating monster-woman, who is perhaps the true love that Aurelio has been searching for.

I chose to include this concluding piece from the anthology because it encapsulates the magic, romance, and self-identity that each story within Reclaim the Stars searches for. Aurelio and the monster goddess, Solana, quickly fall in love because they are able to relate to each other as outcasts. I really enjoyed the unique dynamic of a man willing to leave his entire world behind for the one woman who makes him happy. The writing is superb with quick and funny dialogue and very detailed depictions of the fictional country. Zoraida Córdova’s final story echoes back to her introduction about the impossible magic that readers once believed in through beautiful Latin-American stories of love, violence, magic, and healing.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Writer and Editor, Kayla Chandler
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This is a great selection of SFF short stories from Latinx authors - I really loved the range of worlds and styles within. I found it a bit jarring to jump from world to world, but that was a "me as a reader" problem, not a problem of this book. I love Cordova's work and this book is no exception. What an excellent collection!
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“For many people in Latin America, and those living in the diaspora, science fiction and fantasy is the now. Communities ravaged by climate change. Myths that live in our islands and rivers and seas. Violence that leaves the imprint of ghosts through generations and into the future. And yet, when it comes to our literature, there are a million stories that have yet to be told. Let’s start with these seventeen.” — Zoraida Córdova

Split into three sections (To the Stars, The Magical Now, and Other Times, Other Realms), Reclaim the Stars is full of young adult speculative fiction from the Latin American diaspora. 

I allowed myself to DNF the one story I really didn’t vibe with, and otherwise had an average rating of 3.45. My absolute favorite story was This Is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro (despite my deep dislike of his 2021 Each of Us a Desert). 

Rounding up to 4 stars  because I enjoyed many of the stories.
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An absolutely wonderful collection of short stories! I think I have figured myself out here — I need a collection of stories, centered around a theme or idea, but by different authors. I like the variety this type of collection offers — not just with the authors, but also with the styles and approaches varying from story to story.

Córdova has gathered together an offering that spans a variety of ways to tell a space-fantasy story, a magical realism story, and a fairytale. The diverse representation was refreshing — from authors and characters. I wish I could have made Reclaim the Stars last — at least I have already purchased the hardcover for myself. These were almost all absolute winners and it's hard to choose a favorite.
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This is a fascinating collection of science-fiction stories, the likes of which I've never read before. Each one is filled with culture and language that I'm unfamiliar with, yet none of it was too difficult to sift through. 

The trouble I had was with the language used, which I believe was Spanish. Most of the time, it wasn't a problem because the author gave context to the language. But a couple of the stories didn't and I ended up spending time trying to figure out what the characters were saying to one another. It isn't a bad thing that Spanish was included in these stories: it's actually amazing and awesome that it is. It prompts more readers to become interested in the language and cultures associated with it. As an English speaker with knowledge of German, it took me out of the story at times and I struggled to get back in. However, I highly recommend that people read this book no matter what their language or background. I would also recommend using a translator for some moments, though.

The plots of the stories themselves are all phenomenal. I love the massive amounts of creativity that went into them and I wish that they were all longer. As with many short stories, I find myself wanting more character, more development, and bigger plots. I'll be checking out some of the other works by these authors in the future, hoping for longer adventures.
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I'm a fan of short stories and am always thrilled to see what will tie the theme of the collection together. This one has some of my favorite authors and I was not disappointed to read any of them. 

Nothing lagged or felt out of place. If you're looking for soft things or exciting things you'll find what you're looking for here.
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RECLAIM THE STARS is a wonderful anthology with a line up of consistently good quality stories that are both delightfully entertaining and culturally significant. The genre blend of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction do more than just entertain, they give the reader something to reflect on long after the reading is over. "Creatures of Kings" by Circe Moskowitz was the standout story for me and I would love to read a full novel based on it. Overall it's a great collection that I highly recommend.
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A very excellent collection of stories that draws the reader into each new world and keeps them there, engaged as the snippet of that story plays out. I love and hate anthology and short story collections for how short of a window we have to get to know the characters and worlds that we are introduced to. I almost always find myself wanting to learn more, to see more of that setting, to hear what happens next—but then we have to move on to the next story where I am drawn in again. But even though the time allotted is small, it is still so incredibly fun to see these parts of a larger design, as though catching a glimpse of someone through a coffee shop window. You won’t see them again, but you know they exist, and they are in your world.

It was really great to see stories from familiar and new authors (I’m especially excited I finally got to read something from Circe Moskowitz, whose debut I’ve been anticipating for years!) and see familiar writing styles bring forth new and exciting things (thinking especially of Nina Moreno, whose voice is so recognizable and lovely and I *loved* her story in Reclaim the Stars).
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley)

A nice collection of stories. Some I enjoyed more than others and wished they were longer!
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Overall, this was a solid anthology with mostly positive stories that I would definitely recommend. I liked the variety of sci-fi and fantasy, the different settings, and the different cultures. Several of these stories had good diversity as well. I would definitely look up several authors who were new to me! I’ve included some notes about each story below, as well as some general rankings for how I felt about them..

To the Stars: this section was mostly sci-fi

Reign of Diamonds - Anna-Marie McLemore
This was very short, but I liked this a lot. We have two rival princesses set to duel to the death, but they love each other. It ended how I hoped, which I liked! I was intrigued by the worlds and powers and thought that this blended sci-fi and fantasy elements in a fun way. I would read a full book about this. Enjoyment: high

Flecha - Daniel Jose Older
This was pretty well written, and I liked the general premise. This has some found family vibes with the main character and her partner/friend. There were definitely some high stakes and deals with finding out rough things. I liked the tie in with some folklore elements of the hunter god. I would read more to see the aftermath of this and what comes next. Enjoyment: middle-high

The First Day of Us - David Bowles
This was basically a high school but in space with some sci-fi tech research that seemed interesting. There was representation for polyamory and non-binary characters. This was somewhat interesting and cute, though I didn’t love the second person tense. This was mostly a story of a relationship forming. Enjoyment: middle

The Tin Man - Lilliam Rivera
This was really weird and kinda sad. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting after some sort of disease, and the main character is the only survivor nearby until something appears. I felt like this was just rather melancholy and didn’t like it much. Enjoyment: mid-low

This Is Our Manifesto - Mark Oshiro
This can be summarized mostly as “Oh damn.” I felt satisfied with this as a story. It deals with wrongful incarceration of teens and is all about trying to right wrongs, protest against racism, etc. This felt powerful and had some good diversity here with LGBTQ and Latinx characters. I would also read a full story of this. Enjoyment: high

The Magical Now: this section was more of an urban fantasy type of vibe

Creatures of Kings - Circe Moskowitz
This was an interesting idea but kinda sad in some ways. It’s almost like not truly living until death. There’s a somewhat neglectful mom not telling her daughter about her heritage, and another character makes some rather terrible choices, but this story was alright. Enjoyment: mid - low

Eterno - JC Cervantes
This was a second story about death, but I definitely liked this more. It’s about a sort of reaper who takes the dark in people but falls in love. It’s rather tragic but sweet, and I felt like the idea of these Eternos was interesting. Enjoyment: high

White Water, Blue Ocean - Linda Raquel Nieves Perez
Interesting idea of family curse where they can’t lie without a visual/olfactory tell. This deals with families not understanding or accepting those who are different. Content warnings for deadnames and family members using them repeatedly. This didn’t quite click for me though I can appreciate what it was going for. Enjoyment: mid-low

Leyenda - Romina Garber (set in Wolves of No World series)
I was really excited to return to this world. It’s very gender based with women being witches and men being werewolves, but Zaybet is trying to make a difference. She wants to enact change for women in society to have a bigger role and more of a say/the same rights as the men. I loved that she has water powers! Really liked her as a character too. This reminds me that I definitely need to read book 2. Enjoyment: highest

Color-Coded - Maya Motayne
Liked this idea! Here, there’s the “change” where teenage girls’ hair color changes indicating that they will develop powers. I liked the idea of the magic colors, especially because that seems fun to play around with. The story ends on a pretty abrupt note though, and I would have liked more to it. Enjoyment: high

Magical Offerings - Nina Moreno
A bit strange - I’m not entirely sure what happened but it was kinda interesting? I liked the gator and the putt putt course renovation. I guess this is generally about finding a home for yourself? Enjoyment: mid or mid-low

Other Times, Other Realms: this section is mostly high fantasy with some urban fantasy

Rogue Enchantments - Isabel Ibañez
Graciela inherits her grandmother’s stall in the market and wants to sell her enchanted art supplies, but other people aren’t happy that it was given to her instead of someone else and want her out. I actually really enjoyed this story and was a fan of the types of magic at the market. There’s magic art (I wish I had this) and things like enchantments to keep your plants alive forever, wooden figures that come to life, and more. I liked Graciela overall too - she seems good natured and tenacious. I also liked that the dead attend the market at night. Enjoyment: highest

Sumaiko y La Sirena- Vita Ayala
Definitely a darker tone here with men trying to take advantage of women who work for them, but I really liked how this turned out. I enjoyed the connection with the sea and La Sirena - it reminds me of selkies with not being able to return without the skin/scales. I enjoyed the romance here and wanted them to be together. Suma just wants to be free, and I can definitely sympathize with her. Enjoyment: high

River People - Yamile Saied Mendez
This involves immigrants from Ireland to Argentina (I think?). Malena can hear ghosts and the river god and is warned that something bad will happen to her family. I enjoyed her trying to stop this, even when her own brother tells her she’s just a woman, what can she do? She is willing to do what it takes to keep her family safe. I really liked her overall and her connection with the river. She and her family are just trying to make a life for themselves and have to overcome hardships, but some family members have adapted to their new lives while others haven’t. Enjoyment: high

Moonglow - Sara Faring
This was weird and confusing, and I’m not entirely sure what happened. I would describe this as more magical realism (which generally doesn’t work as well for me). We have a family where the father has kicked them out to live with his mistress instead. I liked some of the resolution, but it’s very odd. Content warnings for abortion. Enjoyment: low

Killing El Chivo- Claribel A. Ortega
A story of rebellion and vengeance. There are three sisters with powers who try to overthrow a dictator creature. This was also a little confusing, and I’m not sure I really felt much for this. Enjoyment: mid-low or low

Tame the Wicked Night - Zoraida Cordova
This had a somewhat abrupt ending, but I guess you can fill in the gaps/use your imagination (though I would have liked to see where this went). I enjoyed the story and romance, and I liked the idea of having magic for growing plants and how the darkness wasn’t what it initially seemed. This was predictable in terms of where the romance went, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that our main character is a male and that he does not want to marry someone he doesn’t love and ends up setting off on a quest since that feels like a bit of a gender flip here of this type of story. Enjoyment: mid-high

My video review can be seen on my booktube channel (around minutes 25:31-34:26 of this video):
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I tend to avoid short story anthologies because I feel like once you get a feel for the characters and stories it’s over. 17 fade to black endings where I am still wondering what happened next. Despite that, I really enjoyed most of these stories. This anthology introduced me to authors I would not have looked at otherwise

Favorites Included 
The Tin Man by Lilliam Rivera - She was already on my TBR but this bumped her up. I loved this story
This is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro - I would have never read him probably but I loved this short.
Creatures of Kings by Circe Moskowitz - this put this author on my radar I loved this story and she has a Graphic Novel out that i’m interested in checking out
White Water, Blue Ocean by Linda Raquel Nieves Perez - Fellow Plus Size Afro Boricua Non Binary! I loved their story and look forward to reading more by them
Leyenda by Romina Garber - This story felt more complete to me although I was curious about what happened after it ended when the true Leyenda found her brujas
Color-Coded by Maya Motayne - This was a fun story about how when girls turn of age their hair turns colorful colors and they then have some sort of magic power, the ending felt like a more complete story but I was also reading Girl On Fire and a similar thing happened w her mom in that GN that also goes unexplained so i'm a little tired of the mom who went missing dropping in suddenly trope.
Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno - was a complete story and I enjoyed it though it was a little - too perfect too happy at the end.
Sumaiko Y La Sirena by Vita Ayala - Loved this story and also felt like a complete story.

Overall I really enjoyed these short stories.
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I don’t usually go for short stories but when I saw that they were all written by Latinx authors I knew I had to read this book! 

The stories were all so different but at the same time diverse and with loads LGBTQ+ representation, which made the experience even better. From space princesses to sirens, I was just really impressed with how unique and entertaining they all were, and found myself wanting to read more about these characters and wishing they were more than just short stories!
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This review is based on an advance reader copy of the book that I received through Netgalley. 

The idea of creating a collection of Latinx authors was so interesting to me and made me want to read it. Latin America has tons of stories that are waiting to be told and I anticipated to love this.

The mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, and history was lovely for certain stories. Oftentimes I could notice the history within the stories and the questions/commentaries that it made me think of and reflect on. Although the anthologies are wonderful, the controversies behind some of these authors made it difficult to enjoy the entire book. 

I still have my favorites from this book which I've highlighted to no end. The most standout of the stories was Reign of Diamonds by Anna-Marie Mclemore which involved fighting princesses in space. I could probably explain in more detail, but that would take the fun out of someone hopefully reading it and finding out for themselves.
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A very well done collection of stories!

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for providing me with an arc for an honest review.
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Reclaim the Stars is a spectacular collection of short stories written by Latine authors, mostly from the diaspora. From sci-fi to fantasy, you will be able to find varied stories that will probably stick with you for a while.
For this review, I will be reviewing each story individually. As always, these ratings are mainly based on my enjoyment:

- Reign of Diamonds by Anna Marie McLemore (4 stars): A wonderful, tension-filled story featuring two princesses who face each other on the intergalactic battlefield to fight for their lives, and their love.

- Flecha by Daniel José Older (3.5 stars): A story of remembrance and longing for something that was lost forever.

- The First Day of Us by David Bowles (N/A)

- The Tin Man by Lilliam Rivera (3 stars): Being the only human left on Earth, a girl comes face to face with a bot that carried a message that would change her life forever.

- This is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro (4 stars): A story of revolution, we see how a group of prisoners revolts against the oppressive prison system in space.

- Creatures of Kings by Circe Moskowitz (5 stars): A wonderful fantasy debut, a girl who has always felt in between worlds and cannot die discovers a dark family secret. It was so atmospheric and I kinda need a full novel now because this world sounds so interesting!!!

- Eterno by J.C. Cervantes (3.75 stars): Urban fantasy is back with this story featuring an angel and a tale of forbidden love.

- White Water, Blue Ocean by Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez (5 stars): Another amazing debut featuring a story of intergenerational trauma and family curses with a dash of magic. It’s set in Puerto Rico and that filled me with joy, and it lowkey made me cry various times.

- Leyenda by Romina Garber (4 stars): Set in the same world as Lobizona, this is a tale of strength, feminism and not being afraid to go against the rules. Loved this character and her resilience to not give up, even if she had to go down a route that others wouldn’t consider.

- Color-coded by Maya Motayne (4 stars): Amazing world-building and a beautiful story of what we do with those things we inherit. The cliffhanger almost ended me. I need a full novel ASAP.

- Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno (4 stars): Swamp tree boyfriends and a lovely relationship between a grandpa and his granddaughter, this is a wonderful fantasy debut for contemporary author Nina Moreno!

- Rogue Enchantments by Isabel Ibañez: (N/A)

- Sumaiko y la Sirena by Vita Ayala: (5 stars): CULTURAL RESET this story was one of my favorites because it has mermaids on the eastern side of Puerto Rico, very close to the town I call home. Sumaiko and la Sirena won my heart and I will forever love them. I NEED A WHOLE SERIES!!!

- River People by Yamile Saied Mendez: (4 stars): Another one of my favorites, it talks about immigration, about what families leave behind when they move to another country, and how it affects them. It also talks about the importance of keeping ecosystems alive, as well as the magic that lives in the nature of our countries. I wanted to slap some sense into one of the characters, but thankfully I didn’t have to.

- Moonglow by Sara Faring: (N/A)

- Killing el Chivo by Claribel A. Ortega: (5 stars): An iconic story in which three sisters plan to take down a goat dictator who is destroying their island, inspired by the real-life events of the Trujillato in the Dominican Republic with Rafael Trujillo. Very sad but satisfactory ending, I would have punched that mf in the face if given the opportunity.

- Tame the Wicked Night by Zoraida Córdova: (5 stars): What a marvelous story to end this anthology. Zoraida always creates mythologies and magic systems that fascinate me, and this story with a gender-bent Hades and Persephone dynamic was not the exception. I need a full trilogy with a movie adaptation thanks.
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4.75/5 stars

OH my goodness. This collection of short stories is utterly breathtaking.

Goodreads synopsis:
Reclaim the Stars is a collection of bestselling and acclaimed YA authors that take the Latin American diaspora to places fantastical and out of this world. From princesses warring in space, to the all too-near devastation of climate change, to haunting ghost stories in Argentina, and mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean. This is science fiction and fantasy that breaks borders and realms, and proves that stories are truly universal.

Authors include Daniel José Older, Yamile Saied Méndez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Mark Oshiro, Romina Garber, David Bowles, Lilliam Rivera, Claribel Ortega, Isabel Ibañez, Sara Faring, Maya Motayne, Nina Moreno, Vita Ayala, J.C. Cervantes, Circe Moskowitz, Linda Nieves Pérez, and Zoraida Córdova.

As I said, I am astounded by how incredible these stories are. I’m currently taking a creative writing class and writing short stories myself, so I found myself reading critically on accident - and yet, I still fell head-over-heels for these stories, enveloped over and over again into tales of magic, empowerment, magical creatures, sacrifice, mythology, love and loss. I found every story surprising, engaging, and unique; I’ve never read anything like these stories, which I imagine can be at least partially credited to their purpose: to show the world a whole new side of magical tales in ways they’ve never been told before. And that’s beautiful. I’m so honored to have been able to experience these stories and to have learned more about what magic lies in other places on the globe.

*I received an e-arc of Reclaim the Stars from Wednesday Books and Netgalley; all opinions are my own. It was published February 15th, 2022.*

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It’s absolutely zero secret that I love anthologies and collections. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins, and Meet Cute by Jennifer L. Armentrout are some of my long-time favorites, and Reclaim the Stars has moved right up there into the ranks.

I sat down a few weeks ago with this RECLAIM THE STARS, and despite my busy work schedule and the hectic rush to get caught up on my TBR, it has taken up so much headspace between then and now. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly made this a hit for me, but it’s safe to day there’s a lot going for this book. Not only were each of the stories beautifully written and compiled, but they were brought by well-loved authors who each brought something brilliant to the table.  Each story had a vibrant and distinct voice, and together they worked so well in this collection. There was so much love poured into this work, and it was evident in every page and story in this book. I’m beyond excited to see a collection like this published, with stories that take Latin American diaspora and turn them into something magical.

I’m absolutely not done with reading collections of stories like these, so here’s hoping to many, many more like this in the future!
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