You will not be surprised to learn of the religious motif running through this book, but it runs deeper and stranger than you might expect. Stripped of its details, this is the story of a young girl coming of age. But, depending on what cliche you like, you know how important the details are. From the first sentence – “Please help me say the unsayable: My first life ended when my brother Sam committed suicide” – to the 11th-hour reveal, Cuba kept me off-engaged. Her protagonist, Sarah Pelton, becomes a “truth scavenger,” and I felt the same way as I read the book. This is a many-layered tale, and given my skimpy understanding of Mexican culture, I am sure there are even more layers than I recognized.

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