Death's country

R. M. Romero, 1987-

Book - 2024

After drowning and making a deal with Death for a new life, Andres Santos starts over in Miami where he forms a polyamorous triad with Renee and Liora, but when Liora ends up in a coma, Andres and Renee embark on a journey into the underworld to retrieve her spirit and reunite it with her body before it is too late.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult New Shelf YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Romero, R. M. (NEW SHELF) Checked In
Novels in verse
Fantasy fiction
Young adult fiction
Queer fiction
Atlanta, Georgia : Peachtree Teen 2024.
Main Author
R. M. Romero, 1987- (-)
First edition
Physical Description
340 pages ; 21 cm
Ages 14&Up.
Grades 10-12.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Andres, a boy in Brazil full of bravado, once came face to face with Death herself and made a dangerous bargain, and as a result, when he moves to Miami, he's quiet, withdrawn, and wounded, carrying dark secrets. A guitar called Ariel, gifted by his philandering father, is his only consolation--until he meets Renee and Liora. Lured by the siren song of the girls' love for each other, Andres cannot resist the dancer and photographer's invitation to join them, and shortly thereafter, they are an inseparable triad. When Liora suffers an accident, they find her late one night connected to an IV, mother standing guard. Renee and Andres employ ancestral magic to cross into the underworld and bring Liora back from the edge of death, though Andres is reluctant to see Death again. In her polyamorous take on Orpheus and Eurydice, Romero writes in dreamy verses that draw on current events and pop culture. Like a good cover song, this will strike a chord in older teens with a fondness for the classics.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Brazilian 16-year-old Andres Santos loves his new life in Miami Beach, where he makes music instead of picking fights, can escape his parents' arguing now that they're divorced, and can forget the life-saving bargain he made with Death after a drowning accident. Most exciting, however, is his budding friendship-turned-romance with Renee and Liora, the "mermaid girls" he met on the beach. After Liora is hit by a car and lies comatose in the hospital, Renee hatches a radical plan: she and Andres will go to the Underworld to save their girlfriend. Though he's uneasy about his previous bargain, Andres agrees, and the duo venture into a vivid purgatory full of ambivalent and malevolent specters and animal spirit guides to face the mysterious Prince in the dark who holds the key to Liora's freedom. Employing action-oriented and descriptive verse ("Sorrow stole the stars above it/ and the streets are paved with tears"), Romero (A Warning About Swans) pulls loosely from Dante's Inferno as well as Latinx, Judaic, Greek, and Afro-Caribbean mythologies to craft this surreal queer polyamorous love story. Renee cues as Latinx and Liora reads as white. Ages 14--up. Agent: Rena Rossner, Deborah Harris Agency. (May)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

"We were a fractured pair / when we were meant to be / a trio": Two teens descend into the underworld to rescue their lost love. Andres Santos, from São Paulo, Brazil, once "wore two faces…the jaguar and the prince." Furious and cruel, he took whatever he wanted--until the Tietê River nearly took his life. Face to face with Death, terrified that he had wasted his life, Andres made a desperate bargain: something he hates (his anger) in exchange for something he loves (a debt that Death will one day come to collect). Armed with a new guitar, Andres starts fresh in Miami, where he's swept away from the tempestuous relationship of his Cuban mami and Brazilian papi by Liora Rose (who's cued white and Jewish) and "ruby-haired" Renee Delgado (who's Cuban American). Neither Liora nor Renee knows of the shadow that Andres left in the underworld, but they have secrets of their own. Their fairy-tale bliss comes to an abrupt end with a car crash. Andres and Renee have one chance to save Liora, but to do so, they must brave the abyss. Joined by a boy named Virgil, the characters in this reimagining of the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice confront their regrets, insecurities, feelings for one another, and dreams for the future. Spun with allusions to mythology and literature, Romero's novel in verse ensnares hearts and imaginations through vivid and memorable poetic craft that captures the ache and complexity of love. An alluring and lyrical journey. (Verse fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.