Review of Dealing in Dreams

Dealing in Dreams
by Lilliam Rivera
High School    Simon    328 pp.    g
3/19    978-1-4814-7214-2    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7216-6    $10.99

Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) presents an action-filled dystopian novel about loyalty, power, and losing and finding oneself. Nalah, a.k.a. Chief Rocka, is the leader of the all-girl gang Las Mal Criadas, which owns the streets of Mega City. Worn out from a life of gang fights, nights at “boydega” clubs, and trading sueños (an addictive manufactured tab), she dreams of the chance for a different path. This includes living in Mega Towers, an exclusive and luxurious address for a chosen few, most notably Déesse, leader of Mega City. In order to earn her way up to Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to Déesse by looking into the mysterious and threatening Ashé Ryders gang. She takes off on a “hellish journey” to find answers, along the way questioning her life and everything she thinks she knows about Mega City. Rivera weaves a story of self-discovery, blood relations and chosen families, substance addiction, and race into her sci-fi tale, including details from Afro and Indigenous Caribbean culture and history, showing resistance and survival — and blasting it to the future. A dystopian mixtape of boldness, sisterhood, and questioning the status quo, channeling the ethos of the novel and film The Warriors and the comic mini-series Curb Stomp, this book leaves readers wanting more of Nalah and Las Mal Criadas.

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Sujei Lugo

Sujei Lugo is a former elementary school librarian at the University of Puerto Rico Elementary School and currently works as a children’s librarian at the Boston Public Library, Connolly Branch. She is a doctoral candidate in Library and Information Science at Simmons University, focusing her research on anti-racist children’s librarianship.

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