The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera is a dystopian tale about the power of stories and the importance of diversity. It follows Petra Peña who, along with her family and a few hundred others, leave Earth for a new planet after a comet strike. When they arrive on Sagan, Peña learns that she is the only person who remembers Earth. To keep her people’s history alive, she begins to use her gift for storytelling that was passed on to her by her family.
Peña is brave, compassionate and resourceful while working to save her family and its Latino history. The mind-wiping antagonists are members of a cult who are portrayed in interesting villainous ways. Especially fitting for a novel about storytelling, the language Higuera employs is powerful and effective, and as a Spanish speaker myself, I enjoyed hearing the “Spanglish” used throughout this story.
Higuera reminds of us of the importance of the past and why we must remember it all for the sake of our future. This must read for the whole family is perfectly paced in world and character building, which helps balance the suspense in this fantastical world. I also strongly recommend the audio book.
Nancy S. Collett is a librarian at R.H. Stafford Library. Find more to read at washcolib.org.