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The Lightning Queen

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,249 ratings  ·  278 reviews
Nothing exciting happens on the Hill of Dust, in the remote mountains of Mexico in the 1950s. There's no electricity, no plumbing, no cars, just day after day of pasturing goats. And now, without his sister and mother, eleven-year-old Teo's life feels even more barren.

And then one day, the mysterious young Esma, who calls herself the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, rolls into to
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Scholastic Press
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Jennifer Daniels Yes. It reminded me of The Princess Bride, where the grandfather was reading a story to the grandson. In this case, the grandfather was talking about …moreYes. It reminded me of The Princess Bride, where the grandfather was reading a story to the grandson. In this case, the grandfather was talking about when he was a kid and his friendship with Esma.(less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,249 ratings  ·  278 reviews

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[T]here in the dapple moonlight, with creatures warm and breathing, and lightening passing between the places our skin touched, we told each other all the things that best friends share."

The joy of having a best friend for life - one who loves us just as we are, in spite of all our weirdness and imperfections. Isn't that what everyone desires? Someone who will treasure our eccentricities, guard our secrets, delight in our successes, share the sorrow of our failures, and encourage us to stand t
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-wish-list
One of the best books I have ever read. The story was just so special and different from all the integrity books that I have read. The characters were amazing and I loved Esma, Queen of Lightning! The Romani culture is so amazing and I love how it intertwined with the Mixteco's. I loved how they healed each other in a way that I've never read about. I can't even stress how amazing this book is. 100 out of 5 stars.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is stunning.

I'm forming a terribly bad habit here, but review to come later. Still recollecting my thoughts, and it's so much harder to write about something you loved the most.

Until later, a quote:

And I screamed, at first wordless, open mouthed screams. Dozens, maybe hundreds that Id swallowed over the past year. Then, when I was all screamed out, words formed, words for Esma. "I will see you again. And one day, I will save you, too."

Everyone go and pre-order this book because it's breathtakingly gorgeous.

The story shifts between the 1950s and 2010s as Teo tells the story of his forbidden friendship with Esma, the Gypsy Queen of Lightning, to his grandson.

Check out my full review on!
Ryan Loveless
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read in a day and then dreamed about this book. Then daydreamed about it. It did things to my emotions.
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about Gypsies (Romani people) and indigenous Mexican people, with characters you care about. Even the minor characters have depths and grow during the book. The Lightning Queen alternates between the 1950's in Mexico and the present day in Maryland.
Mateo lives in MD, but in the summer he travels to Mexico with his mother to visit his grandfather Teo who lives in a rural village. His grandfather asks Mateo to help him, and then tells the story of his childhood friendship with a Gyp
Leah Waters
This is one of my all time favorite books, and it always will be.

Not only are there gorgeous, poetic writing, comfortable pacing, fascinating cultural details, wonderfully developed characters, and a beautiful story line, but there's also messages that make The Lightning Queen a life-changing book.

I was full on tears-running-down-cheeks crying twice.

Because Esma and Teo's friendship is so pure. They love each other, and are always there for each other even when they're far away. They have very
Kat Drennan-Scace
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, 2015

Wow! A really beautifully written story of friendship in rural Mexico. Not something I would normally pick up, but the lovely folks at Scholastic sent me an advanced copy and I fell in love with the cover. Basically, it's the story of an unlikely friendship between a gypsy and a Mexican grandson of a healer. It's told in two sort of narratives, as if the grandfather is telling his grandson about his childhood friend. By the end, you're rooting for them to rekindle their friendship.
It seems like
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a magical story. Resau does a masterful job painting a beautiful picture of the world the reader jumps into every time they open the book. Topics covered are death, friendship, sickness, stereotypes, and family constellations.
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books, 2015
This review is for the audiobook edition.

The Lightning Queen starts out in modern times with a modern American boy, Mateo, visiting his grandfather, Teo, in Mexico. The grandfather asks the boy for his help with something, then proceeds to tell his grandson the story of his loyal friend, The Lightning Queen, a gypsy girl he met over 50 years ago. The Lightning Queen's name is Esma, and she claims to have been struck by lightning, which gave her special powers. It is predicted by the gypsy girl's
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I was so lucky to get my hands on a review copy of this electrical gem of a read - I'm a big Laura Resau fan and her latest work does not disappoint! As always, I learned about new cultures, in this case indigenous Mexicans and Romani. Enjoyed the vibrant characters, funny animals, and the magical landscape she describes so beautifully. The friendships between characters are heart-warming - a great read!
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fortune teller binds Teo, a young Mixtec, to Esma, the Gypsy Queen of Lightning and their connection turns into an enduring friendship. Part Bless Me Ultima meets Stargirl, this is a haunting love story that captures the beauty and mystery of the Rom people and the Mixtecs in the remote mountains of Mexico.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Loved it. Cannot speak highly enough of this book. A real treasure. Meanspiritedness is overcome by kindness in the story. All ages can enjoy this, although the intended audience is middle school. Interaction between two diverse cultures, lots of wisdom and excellent storytelling.
I predict an award winner.
Alexa Hamilton
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tween
I have a great love for Laura Resau, whose writing is always lyrical, descriptive and sensitive to a myriad of issues. This is a sweet book about a small town in Mexico and traveling Romani who come through, and it highlights friendship, family and a little bit of magic!
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I haven't enjoyed a young readers' this much in a long time! Multi-cultural, multi-generational story of what happens when a young Romani girl rides into a small village in 1950's Oaxaca Mexico with her family in their brightly painted gypsy caravan. Sweet, fun, magical! Highly recommended!
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After a long day, I was feeling rather depressed about the state of things in my life. I decided to finish reading this book and was quickly enveloped with such magical storytelling. I could travel in the world Laura Resau paints with her words for eternity.
Sylvia Patience
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another beautiful and haunting book by Laura Resau, one of my favorite authors. I love the magic elements, combined with historical and cultural details of two previously maligned cultures.
Elaina Gilbertson
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!! I recommend this to everyone. I couldn't put it down!
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A treasure of a book. Believable characters, lyrical writing, and a mystery left unsolved until the final pages. Highly recommended!
Erica Ravenclaw
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bea15-swag

No spoilers and colorful language abound! I received this ARC from the publisher...three years ago... in exchange for an honest review. Better late than never?

The Lightning Queen is a whimsical getaway for the spirit, and a delight for the heavy hearted. Let this beautifully written tale of friendship take you away and soothe your weary soul. Esma and Teo will sweep you into 1950's rural Mexico where a young Mixtec boy and an electric Gypsy girl paths collide, forever altering their lives.
Maci Dierking
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely enchanting. Gypsies, healers, fortunes and forever friends. A beautifully magical coming of age story. It was so fun reading about the different cultural traditions, food and more. I bought this completely on a whim and it is now one of my all time favorite books. So sweet and heartwarming!!
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For this trimester’s one-pager, I decided to read The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau. It is a fantasy book with 303 pages. The Lightning Queen is a story about an old man named Teo telling his grandson Mateo about how his life changed while living in the Hill of Dust, a small, yet beautiful village in Mexico. He tells Mateo the story of how he met a girl he was bound to by destiny. Her name was Esma, the Gypsy Queen of Lightning. When Teo, a Mexican healer’s apprentice living in the Hill of Dust ...more
Set in Oaxaca, Mexico in the 1950s and then in present day Oaxca and Maryland, this is a lovely story of romance and understanding and how life's possibilities can save us. Eleven-year-old Teo spends his days tending the family's livestock and dealing with the loss of his sister who died the previous year. With a mother who is absent in all ways other than being physically present and a father who died years ago, Teo is barely hanging on. When Esma, the Queen of Lightning, enters his life along ...more
THE LIGHTNING QUEEN by Laura Resau tells the captivating story of a friendship that bridges the Rom and the Mexico Indian cultures.

In this poignant story that weaves together historical and contemporary tales, an old man shares with his grandson the story of growing up in the remote mountains of Mexico and his encounters with a young gypsy girl. Inspired by true stories, this fascinating multi-cultural tale of friendship will draw readers into the world of mid-20th century Mexico.

Librarians will
Isabella M
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The lightning Queen is an amazing book about a Mextico boy, Teo, and a gypsy girl, Esma. On the night that the two meet each other, Esma's grandmother tells of a fortune about the two children. The fortune says that the two will be friends for life, and they will save each other in hard times. They face many obstacles, but their friendship stays alive.

I recommend this book to anyone. The book is very symbolic, bringing everything together. It shows that distance doesn't matter in a friendship, i
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
It seems particularly relevant right now to read a story set mostly in Mexico, a country being painted by the US government as a country of criminals and parasites, about people treated as criminals and parasites--indios and Roma. And what a wonderful story it is! A story of the magical transformative power of compassion, friendship, and love. A poetic, musical story that dances through time and space, charged with a lightning love of people and language. By the end, I was firmly convinced that ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, middle-grade
THE LIGHTNING QUEEN is one of the best books I've read this year. By turns beautiful, funny, sweet, and mesmerizing, it tells a unique tale of two marginalized cultures--and two fiery-spirited children from those cultures--that form a lifelong bond. For kids and adults alike, I can't recommend this engaging story highly enough. All of Laura Resau's books are compelling reads, but this one may well be my favorite.
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-reads
This is one of the most magical and beautiful books to listen to! The story is about the Mixteco in rural Mexico, and the traveling movie shows the Romany people brought to them. Such a truly wonderful story of friendship and love. The choice of the readers for this was perfect! I highly recommend listening to this and anyone can enjoy this book!
Avondale Middle
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and enriching, The Lightening Queen captured my soul and captivated me as a reader. I was unable to put it down. I especially enjoyed how Laura Resau researched and wove all of the elements of her story into a narrative that will continue to linger in my mind.
Such a beautiful and magical story that leaves you thinking and questioning...all in a good way. Plus there's a 3 legged skunk, what more could you want? Here's a full review I did of this story: ...more
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I'm the author of the young adult novels The Queen of Water (with Maria Virginia Farinango), Red Glass, What the Moon Saw, The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook , The Jade Notebook, and the middle-grade novels Star in the Forest and The Lightning Queen. My most recent novel, Tree of Dreams, was released in 2019 with Scholastic. I grew up in Maryland, then moved around for ten years (as student, E ...more

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