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Each of Us a Desert

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  684 ratings  ·  282 reviews
A fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life.

Xochital is destined to wander the desert alone, speaking her troubled village's stories into its arid winds. Her only companions are the blessed stars above and enimagic lines of poetry magically strewn across dusty dunes.

Her one desire: to share her heart with
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 15th 2020 by Tor Teen
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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  684 ratings  ·  282 reviews

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Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Apr 24, 2019 marked it as other
Shelves: contemporary
I, personally, am a dessert
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Fadwa (Word Wonders)
DNF @ 25%

I sad, you know? This was one of my most anticipated releases but it just didn't work for me. I loved the writing but I couldn't get a sense of who the main character is and the story was taking a long while to pick up so i just got bored 😭 i was feeling like it was putting me into a slump and I really don't want to start my month like that.

Don't let this deter you though...might work for you better than it did for me!
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

First of all, I want to thank Tor Teen for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest thoughts, celebrating "Latino Book Month"

WOW, I'm really impressed by the quality, intensity, reality, and depth of this story, I think it will be one of those difficult reviews to write due to the emotional charge that this book gives me with its pages. There's so much that I could share with you about the book, but I'll try to give what I can without spoilers, throwing all my thoughts and
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
CWs: Descriptions of graphic violence, injury, and death; allusions to animal deaths; instances of emotional abuse and domestic abuse.
"We stretch ourselves: to fit within the roles we are given. To make ourselves look better to those around us. To convince one another that we are good people in a world so vacant. Each of us a desert."
This is an ambitious fantasy novel that explores the power of stories—how we pass stories onto each other, how we hold stories in our hearts, and how our li
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. I loved this book. It was so beautiful. It’s difficult to describe the plot, so I’ll talk about everything else that I loved.

This is the first book I’ve read by Mark Oshiro, and I adore his writing. It’s lyrical, atmospheric and utterly captivating, painting a vivid picture of this strange desert world with magical creatures, where danger lurks at every corner. I also liked how it here were numerous chapters about the lives of various side characters; this is an
Ahh I really enjoy this! Each of Us a Desert is a diverse and lush character-driven fantasy novel. It's also a story of self-discovery and realisation. I must say that I'm quite a fan of fantasy books which explores topics with regard to self-knowledge and Each of Us a Desert is a prime example where this journey of self-discovery is executed well through the characterisation.

Each of Us a Desert is Xo's journey of self-knowledge. Through her narrative, Oshiro woven emotionally touching stories a
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.75* This is a book unlike any I've read before. It's also quite difficult to properly describe and review this book. I don't think I have words to do it justice. Mark Oshiro's writing conveys an atmospheric, beautiful, lyrical, magical post-apocalyptic desert world that had been burned by Solis (the sun god) in an event called "La Quema". Xochitl is a 16 year old cuentista of her village., who was given her powers when she was 8 years old. A cuentista is a storyteller, but instead of telling t ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Okay, so this is a little challenging for me to review. I LOVED the first half of it. Everything about it was pretty much perfect for me. It was well paced, beautifully written, thought-provoking, and fresh. Then the second half had much slower pacing, was less engaging, and philosophically went in a direction that I don't love. I fully admit the philosophical piece of it is a me thing and how it's going to land will very much depend on the reader.

That said, what can I tell you about this book
Thank you to Netgalley and TorTeen for an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Mini review for now: This book slayed me in the best way possible. Xochitl and her story was so immersive. The lore around the cuentistas was fabulous. There was a good amount of Spanish terminology/language, which will sound beautiful on an audiobook! I stopped several times to look things up since my Spanish knowledge is limited to like 5 wo
Holly (The GrimDragon)
"A new sensation filled my belly, one that did not belong to any of the stories, but was mine and mine alone. Desire."

Each of Us a Desert is the sophomore novel from Mark Oshiro. If this is any indication, Oshiro is a damn fine writer that will be around for a long time to come!

Following sixteen year old Xochitl, a cuentista in the village of Empalme, Each of Us a Desert is a story about stories. Given these special powers at just eight years old, Xo listens to stories of the villagers, then lea
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Each of Us a Desert is told in the first person from Xochitl’s perspective, as she shares her own story back to Solís. Because she’s telling it to her god, reading it can feel like eavesdropping on a prayer, listening to secrets and musings that are too personal to even put into a journal. She talks about how her aunt passed on the role of cuentista when Xochitl was only eight years old and how unfair it is to have had her childhood ripped away. We also see Xochitl’s crisis of faith as she conti ...more
Toya (the reading chemist)
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Each of Us a Desert gives us The Deep by Rivers Solomon, which I was here for since The Deep is one of my favorite books.

Xochital is burdened with literally consuming the stories of her community to provide them with spiritual cleansing and healing. But by taking in these stories, there’s no space for Xochital’s own stories and feelings, and she sets out on an adventure to reclaim that space for herself.

This is a beautiful coming of age story that reminds us that forgetting is not the same as
I can't believe that one of my most anticipated read of 2020 turned out to be a painful 10-days long reading experience akin to slow torture. I just can't believe it.

Let me start by saying this. This is, objectively speaking, a good book. It has an interesting and original storyline, that of a young girl forced to listen to her people's painful stories, no matter how sick it makes her feel. In general, the writing is pretty good: the worldbuilding is clear and nice, there's just the right amount
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Storytelling is a powerful gift passed down from generation to generation, in the oral or written tradition.
When Xochitl inherits the cuentista gift she must cleanse her village when they need it but she starts to feel abused by their privilege.

When a group of men come to take over her village and threaten their lives she decides to take action and starts a journey. With each new person we meet we hear their story. Oh the journey she befriends her enemies daughter Emelia and their relationship
Sofia S.
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars!!!


Thank you to the publisher and Colored Pages Book Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Read this review on my blog!

Maybe the most important thing to know before going into this book is that is it slow paced. Very slow paced. It is not the kind of book that has lots of ups and downs, lots of adventures where the "not knowing" is what keeps you turning the pages – not that there's anything wrong with books like that!!
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, queer
‘You tell me your story, and I give it back to Solís. We are all cleansed by Them if we see the truth, believe the truth.’

Xochitl is la cuentista of her village, she takes the stories of the villagers and gives them back to Solís. Until one day she listens to a story that changes everything. Now she wanders the desert and tries to find her true self and her own story there.

‘Because while I missed home, I knew I had left for the most important reason of all: to become myself.’

Each of Us a Desert
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
4 stars. What an emotionally charged absolutely gorgeous piece of literature. A "cuentista" (she takes people's confessions and essentially absolves them by giving these stories back to the desert) learns that not everything is as it seems, and undertakes a journey across the desert to discover her destiny. Much of this journey is taken alongside her town's evil mayor's daughter, who is also looking for herself. This book is about finding your own truth and conquering your worst fears.

This book
Margarita (margaritathedrink)
I have so much feels but don’t know how to express this book. As a Latinx Queer person this was everything and more. I loved the prose, it was written so beautifully and had my emotions all over the place. This book was so intense and not what i was expecting at all. I was so captivated by this book and it just felt so special , i loved the f/f romance, i loved the characters and the magic.

This is one review that i am having a hard time expressing in words or even explaining the book but one i
This is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve come across. From the dedication page to the acknowledgements sections I was in tears because of Mark Oshiro’s masterfully written piece of fiction. This novel is magic and extremely tragic and I literally can wait to have a finished copy in my hands just so I can read it again! I love this so much.

A more thorough review to come ✨
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Sep 15, 2020 marked it as to-read
I keep seeing this title as Each of Us a DESSERT
Smitha Murthy
‘This world of ashes
Cannot contain me
There are no walls
To stop me
I am free.’

A beautiful, symbolic book on the stories we carry and the search to find oneself. I am not sure how to describe this book - I almost felt I was reading it in Spanish, given the number of Spanish words that aren’t translated. But once I moved past the initial irritation of not understanding, I became lost in it. This is a story of becoming and of finding love despite the desert in our hearts, not because of it.

Xo is a c
Sofia (Bookish Wanderess)

Each of Us a Desert is a quiet, introspective fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a very loose plot but with strong thematic elements.

This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community from a very early age. She has the responsibility of listening and absorbing through a magical process the
2 stars

I was incredibly excited for Oshiro’s sophomore novel, after having read and loved their debut, Anger Is a Gift a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the hype that got to me. Or maybe this book just genuinely wasn’t that good. I simply… did not care about what happened to any of the characters. None of them felt like they had a personality, I couldn’t care less about the romance and the plot started out very slow and then proceeded to be incredibly repetitive. It has been two weeks since I
Update:July 17th 2020
Quarantine really fucked with my mood because it took me a whole damn month to finish this.


May 7th, 2020 (original comment)

For some reason... NetGalley actually approved my request for a digital ARC of this book??????? Catch me slapping myself until release day because I don't believe this is actually a thing that happened to me.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
i don't KNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! DNF. Hopefully, I can come back to this one. ...more
Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review.**

TW: body horror, gore

Mark Oshiro’s Each of Us a Desert is one of the most unique novels I have ever read with writing that will have readers pausing to bask in its beauty. Xochitl has been her village’s cuentista since she was a child. Her gift enables her to take the confessions of her people, freeing them of their guilt. In turn, Xochitl gives up these stories, forgetting their confessions an
Dec 23, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at 37%

I really, really wanted to like Each of Us a Desert. Oshiro's debut, Anger is a Gift, was one of the best books I read this year so I was really hoping to love this one as well.

Based on what I know my personal reading doghouses, I honestly think the issue was me and not Each of Us a Desert. Quiet books with slow plots just tend not to be my favorite. This book also has one of my top pet peeves -- when the book blurb gives away things that happen significantly into the book. I kept rea
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
well ok. one of my favorite books ever. don't touch me i'm emotional that i'll never get to experience the first read of this book again.

what a beautiful story that had many stories within it. i loved the main character's voice, one so reliant on the known but also craving an escape from the life she's been given. the idea of taking other people's stories, filled with their mistakes and lies and atrocities, to give to a god for forgiveness and protection was beautifully executed and absolutely m
Jul 10, 2020 marked it as to-read
I have to say I'm really intrigued by this one.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can also find me on Youtube & Twitter
Beautiful prose, excellent character growth, and the seamless integration of side characters into the main narrative.

Warnings for death, gore, torture, murder, neglect, descriptions of violence and abuse.

The slow burn was handled so well right up until the end. It had all this buildup, but when the time came for it to culminate into something more, it fell short of giving us that explosive content that should have made me sigh in relief and emotions.

Some bits dragged. The last 10% could have bee
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MARK OSHIRO is the queer Latinx, Hugo-nominated writer of the online Mark Does Stuff universe (Mark Reads and Mark Watches), where he analyzes book and TV series. He was the nonfiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction! and the co-editor of Speculative Fiction 2015, and is the President of the Con or Bust Board of Directors. When not writing/recording reviews or editing, Oshiro engages in s ...more

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