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Saint Death

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,108 ratings  ·  255 reviews

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez - twenty metres outside town lies a fence - and beyond it - America - the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape

Kindle Edition, UK, 272 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Orion Children's Books
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Tara Weiss This book feels very, very adult, but it should not be kept from a mature teenager.

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  1,108 ratings  ·  255 reviews

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Emily May
On the top of the hill Christ himself stands with his arms outstretched, facing both Juarez, and, on the other side of the river, El Paso, in a gesture of brotherly love. It’s a misleading gesture. His arms are outstretched because he is nailed to a cross.

The first few reviews for Saint Death haven't been that great and I honestly wasn't expecting to find Marcus Sedgwick at his finest. But to say I thought this book was fantastic is an understatement - this book may be the best book I've rea
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
I can't escape it. I woke up this morning and it was the first thing in my mind. I do realize that I'm probably going to bore/offend/annoy some of you, but as much as I'm sorry about that, I can't stay silent.

 photo saintdeath1.1_zpswa9sfmml.png  photo yes_yes_but__08108_zpsswkpzf2q.gif

At first, I found that I didn't have much to say. Or perhaps I had so much to say and so little looking appropriate for this review at first glance - but maybe this is the mark of great books. Maybe there's something magical about a book that makes your thoughts whirl endlessly.
Lucy Banks
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nowadays it can sometimes seem as if most YA novels are forced to rely on eye-roll-inducing tropes or unrealistic insta-love stories to get people's attention, but whenever I find a gem like this I'm reminded of all the reasons I keep coming back to this genre. This book is technically aimed at teenagers but it never shies away from challenging topics or attempts to sugar-coat the brutal reality to make a more teen friendly story. It gives teens more credit than that. The reason I’m giving Saint ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars. Many books have a message at their core. Some of them execute this message well, keeping it subtle but intriguing. Sometimes, books such as this throw everything that makes a book good away in favor of symbolism.

(Wow, I am really enjoying these cheesy openers nowadays. Great.)

Yes, I'm on a tangent right now. Bear with me. What I'm getting at is that there's a wide spectrum being meaning and being generally interesting. And I think at places, this book just wanted to
"Remember this: every man has to find out for himself in what particular fashion he can be saved. I believe that. You just have to find out what it is you're looking for.”


Saint Death is a book that is...really hard for me to review.

Marcus Sedgewick is an author that I love. There's something about his books, something about his writing that's otherworldly. His stories aren't just compelling; they're imaginative and full of depth and importance.

This book is no exception.

Saint Death follows a
Evan Clark
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Short version: this book is brutal.

If Cormac McCarthy ever wrote a YA book, it would be this one. Desolate setting? Check. Horrifying and often meaningless violence? Check. Social commentary to be ignored at your peril? Super-check. The writing is spare as hell, the word count is marginal, and yet it's got the weight of a lead brick in a pillowcase. It might as well be called No Country for Young Men. I mean, damn.

Is it too brutal for teen readers? Well, no. In fact, the idea that teenagers sho
Melissa Stacy
Are you concerned about global warming, rising sea levels, and the global human migration problem that will result if/when every coastal city on earth disappears underwater?

Yes? Me too.

Do you believe teen/YA readers are also worried about global warming, rising sea levels, and the pending migration sh*tastrophe humanity faces due to human-caused climate change?

Yes? Me too.

Do you like to read stories set in Mexico?

Yes? Me too.

I expected that the 2016 YA contemporary novel, "Saint Death," would
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people die in Marcus Sedgwick books.

They might be murdered by loved ones gone mad, or killed by ancient Norse vampires. And so it is no surprise when people die in his latest book, Saint Death.

However, there are no mystical spirals of madness or viking vampires here. Instead you have the cold reality of life and death just south of the border, a culture that is fueled by poverty, greed, desperation, and founded on America's need for cheap goods and drugs.

This slim little book takes p
Rashika (is tired)
***This review has also been posted on Xpresso Reads

Saint Death is one of those books you are going to want to hurl across the room, not because you hate it but because its too painful. Or you could do what Joey does and put scary books in the freezer for another day. The release of the book is so timely and I hope that it will reach the hands of many because it is such an important book. Right now, the conversation surrounding immigration is one of the most politically charged ones. People fee
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review first appeared on Addicted to Media.

Located on the border of Mexico and America is Juárez, a town built on greed, corruption and death where corporations bleed people dry before the gangs sink their teeth into them. It is a town born of climate change and pollution, destruction and the pursuit of riches, where thousands of people live in shacks and water is a precious commodity.

What if this is the logical conclusion to the world we are creating?

This is the question Marcus Sedgwick as
"Remember this: every man has to find out for himself in what particular fashion he can be saved. I believe that. You just have to find out what it is you're looking for."

This is my fourth Sedgwick book, and he has yet to fail me so far. Like with his other renowned literary YA works (The Revolver, Ghosts of Heaven, Midwinterblood), Saint Death is the kind of novel that screams "Notice me!" to academic critics who dismiss YA as a genre incapable of being conceptual and complex. Saint Death is e
J. Taylor
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: and-so-i-cried
Always on his own terms, Arturo Silva, for those he loves.
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

What must life be like living in a poor neighbourhood? Every night your sleep is disturbed by gunshots, the people you know slowly disappear each time a gang raids the town, you live in fear for your own life. This is the concept international award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick explores in his latest Young Adult novel. Set in Anapra, one of the poorest communities in Mexico, Sedgwick delivers a story of pover
Cheryl M-M
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Somehow I missed the fact this is classed as Young Adult, and to be perfectly frank it doesn’t really belong in that sub-genre.

It is gritty, hardcore and it forces reality right down the readers throat. It was one of those books you finish and think ‘wow.’ At the same time you can’t really identify why. It is just a whirlwind of brash hard-hitting realism.

Faustino is looking for a way out of his slum existence. He is tired of being surrounded by uncertainty, violence and death. Each day is a str
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
disturbing but necessary read if you want a glimpse of how lucky you are and how unbalanced and corruot the world is
Grace P
4/5 Stars

Arturo was an honest yet frustratingly flawed character. No matter what he does, the odds seem to be stacked against him. I really appreciated his loyalty and commitment to get from one day to the next. Faustino was in an even more risky situation, but he, too, had been through a tumultuous childhood like Arturo. Both of them are just trying to survive, even if they choose different avenues to do so. Their friendship was complicated yet ran deep, prevailing through all that they went th
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to enjoy Saint Death since it’s about something very important. However, I felt like I had to drag myself through it (despite the events happening over a VERY short time period), and it was causing a book slump. It took me a handful of attempts just to get through the first few pages.
If you want a book that’s written in a very matter-of-fact way, you may like this book. But even when I was supposed to feel emotion, and KNEW I was supposed to be feeling emotion, it was just too
His books are, in general, too dark for me. I didn't really enjoy reading this, although it was actually a pretty quick read, and I definitely sympathized with the main character. Maybe because it was so hard for me to read (subject-wise), it came across as slightly didactic? I don't know. I do think that there are teens who will definitely like this one, and I don't have any problem voting yes for it on the first Cap Choices ballot, although it's hard to imagine that it'll be one of my top 20 i ...more
Gavin Abdollahi
“It is a wall that is being built. And these are the bricks in the wall: the drug gangs, the police of Mexico and of America, MIGRA, the DEA, the governments and politicians of these two countries. Then there are the biggest bricks of all. Companies; these giant corporations that are more powerful than anything, more powerful even than the countries where they operate. The maquiladoras here; they pay no taxes. None. They pay wages so low that even a job still means living on the poverty line. ¿A ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fucking motherfucker. Read this one for our mid-year mock discussion (Printzmas) and now I have a lot of feelings and I hate feelings. Full review to come.
Sid Nuncius
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I struggled with Saint Death. I have enjoyed some of Marcus Sedgwick's books very much, but I didn't think this one worked very well.

This is a story of 24 hours or so in the life of Arturo, a poor man who lives, as so many others do, in a makeshift shack near Juarez on the Mexican side of the border with the USA. Life is wholly dominated by two factors: drug cartels whose power means that there is effectively no law, so they murder, rob, rape and intimidate as they please, and the factories whic
Reuben Thomas
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to get into this book. I have problems with concentration and with some books, reading is just more challenging than others. I think possibly what made it pretty slow going at the start, for me, was the dark, serious tone, the choppy nature of the chapters/articles/blog posts and such, and the fluid mix of Spanish and English writing. None of this is a negative, it just meant that I couldn't easily read it non-stop the way I could, say, a simple, fluffy, chick lit book.
My mum
This is a book that will stick with me for awhile.

It follows the story of a boy named Arturo who is from a neighborhood in Mexico called Anapra, a poor neighborhood near the bigger city of Juarez. Arturo tries to help his friend Faustino who is in trouble from the drug gang in the city. It follows what Arturo goes through the next two days in order to help his friend. The reader does not only witness the fear and danger that folks live in due to the drug gang but also the realities of industria
Taylor Knight
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
This was a very interesting book. It was very serious and not really a book to read for fun, if that makes sense. The tone of this book very intense and I feel like it's more a of an educational read than something to read to relax. This book almost felt like the author's commentary on current events than a fictional story. And I really didn't mind that. It was very thought provoking.
I really loved the writing style and I'm definitely interested in the author's other books because of the writing
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A hard book, but so worth it. Plus I love the cover. :)
Benenden School Library
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At the front of this book is an epigraph by the American journalist Charles Bowden:
This book is about other stories that occur over there, across the river.
The comfortable way to deal with these stories is to say they are about them.
The way to understand these stories is to say they are about us.

Saint Death is a novel set on borders: the borders between Mexico and North America, between reality and imagination, and the fine line between right and wrong.

The young Faustino has “borrowed” some mon
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

This is not a happy book, and to be fair, I’m a little unsure why I requested it in the first place, since I’m usually not too keen on reading ‘realistic’ stories (the world is depressing enough as it is). Well, no: I guess I requested it because I like Marcus Sedgwick’s stories, also I met him briefly at a book festival and he was definitely a cool guy. So, yes, I guess there’s that.

And, anyway, I enjoyed the story. Though I should’ve guessed i
Eleanor (bookishcourtier)
I actually enjoyed this so much more than I thought I would! I really did not think that this book was for me at first, but I think it majorly improved in the second half. I have mixed feelings about a lot of Marcus Sedgewick's books, but I did like this one. It isn't my favourite, but I think it has some important things to say and that it is very powerful and impactful. It isn't my type of book, and I got extremely FRUSTRATED towards the middle, but I did like a lot of things about it.

So I
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
She is the skull, the calavera. She is the white bone and charcoal eye, she is the one waiting to act as deliverer, and she does not discriminate; she chooses rich and poor and good and bad alike, and she does not even ask that you come to find her. She will seek you out, when the time comes; so do not fear where you go, for death will find you wherever you are, and deliver you from this earth to the next.

Having read Midwinterblood I was excited when the vibrant yellow pages of this book cau
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Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Hea ...more

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“It is a wall that is being built. And these are the bricks in the wall: the drug gangs, the police of Mexico and of America, MIGRA, the DEA, the governments and politicians of these two countries. Then there are the biggest bricks of all. Companies; these giant corporations that are more powerful than anything, more powerful even than the countries where they operate. The maquiladoras here; they pay no taxes. None. They pay wages so low that even a job still means living on the poverty line. ¿And why does this happen? Our leaders; they tell us that this capitalism of theirs will save the world; that it will create jobs so that everyone will get richer. ¡It’s a lie! ¿How can there be a consumer society when its workers do not earn enough to consume anything?” 7 likes
“Remember this: every man has to find out for himself in what particular fashion he can be saved. I believe that. You just have to find out what it is you're looking for.” 1 likes
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