PRE-ORDER: Middle Grade Fantasy 'Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls' by Kaela Rivera

Filled with great friendships, a hilarious voice, and a strong fantasy element from an underrepresented culture, Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls is an action-packed sister story based on Mexican folklore that handles complicated issues like abusive parents and unhealthy relationships with nuance and sensitivity, allowing readers to engage with the subjects without being overwhelmed.


By Kaela Rivera

On Sale: April 13, 2021
$16.99 - Ages: 8 to 12

Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime. 

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey. 

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

Author Kaela Rivera still believes in the folktales of her Mexican-American and British parents, but now she writes about them from the adventure-filled mountains of Utah. She was raised to believe in will-o’-the-wisps and el chupacabra, but even scary stories couldn’t stop her from reading in the isolated treetops, caves, and creeks of Tennessee’s Appalachian forests. When she’s not crafting stories, she’s using her English degree from BYU–I as an editor for a marketing company (or secretly doodling her characters in the margins of her notebook). 

Her biggest hope is to highlight and explore the beauty of cultural differences—and how sharing those differences can bring us all closer.


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