ARC Review: Each of Us A Desert // Thought-provoking and heart-wrenching

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Title: Each of Us A Desert
Author: Mark Oshiro
Genre/s and tags: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Sapphic love interest, OwnVoices, POC (Latinx)
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: September 15, 2020
Content warnings: Minor character deaths, graphic violence, gore (bodies getting dismembered), animal deaths, brief mentions of domestic abuse and physical abuse
Goodreads synopsis: 

From the award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful 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 a kindred spirit.

One night, Xo’s wish is granted—in the form of Emilia, the cold and beautiful daughter of the town’s murderous mayor. But when the two set out on a magical journey across the desert, they find their hearts could be a match… if only they can survive the nightmare-like terrors that arise when the sun goes down.


I received an e-arc via NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. Thank you Tor Teen!

I didn’t have much knowledge about this book when I first heard of it, but the synopsis got my attention. Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad to say it’s now one of the most beautiful books I’ve read this year. *cue tears*

Each of Us A Desert is an incredibly beautiful story about trying to find yourself. One that’s thought-provoking, honest, and heart-wrenching.

My thoughts on Each of Us A Desert

Let me tell you a story, reader.

When I picked up this book, I had very little knowledge about the story. I only knew two things—it involved a journey across the desert and stories that come to life.

As I started reading, I immediately fell in love the prose. It was beautiful and breathtaking. It was poetic and lyrical, and almost as if it was singing to me. Reader, I was in awe. This poetic prose also allowed me to dive into Xochital’s character—her thoughts, her doubts, her loneliness, her need to feel seen and understood, her desire to find herself and stand as her own person. She was the cuentista, and she felt like people only came to her to try and forget their problems and their sins. She felt as if she was nothing but a means of an end. In a way, I felt for Xochital and I saw myself in her, her loneliness and her desires.

The story was slow and it took a while to pick up. But reader, if you find yourself getting bored when you read this yourself, I’m going to need you to be patient. Each of Us a Desert was no action-packed, high-stakes story, that’s for sure. Instead, it was a slow and tender journey about finding home, falling in love, and making a sense of your own self. The fantasy elements also made it so fascinating—the way cuentistas take the stories and give them back to Solis to cleanse people, nightmares that manifest on their own, horned hounds that hunt people, and more.

Xochital’s journey was poignant and heart-wrenching. Throughout the book, she encountered many people and she listened to various stories of horrible deeds and woeful trials. I felt like this really showed how stories hold incredible power in them. They change people, they change our point of views in life. Apart from the stories, Xochital also discovered multiple poems in her journey. She found herself relating to these, and she yearned for these words and she hoped to the meet the poet to feel seen and understood. Reader, just like Xochital, I found myself loving these little poems. They were relatable and profound, and I couldn’t blame Xochital at all for yearning for more of these poems.

Faith was also a big theme in the book. Xochital was always talking to Solis, to tell them about her journey, about the people she met. But she also talked about her doubts, on why this was happening to her. She questioned why horrible things happened to other people, why there was no guidance but only punishment. To me, this was powerful and thought-provoking, and it’s a struggle a lot of people also go through in real life.

This story was also casually queer I couldn’t help but adore it. From Xochital’s own sapphic romance to the multiple queer minor characters in the story, it was such a delight.

Overall, Each of Us A Desert was an incredible story that will carve a place in your hearts. And reader, if I spilled my tears as I was reading the last pages of the book, well, no one else needs to know.

Buy Each of Us A Desert

Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble 

7 thoughts on “ARC Review: Each of Us A Desert // Thought-provoking and heart-wrenching

  1. This is the post I’ve been waiting for in my whole life, and this book is the one I’ve been wanting in the years of my existence!!! So happy and excited to devour Each of Us A Desert!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading your review made me want to pick up this book asap even though I don’t have a copy of it near me. I can feel your love towards this book in your words!!

    Liked by 1 person

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