The entire starred Kirkus review for Before the Devil Knows You’re Here is up on the Kirkus website. You can view it here or read it below:
“Folklore, fantasy, and horror are interwoven in this story of a 17-year-old’s journey to save her brother set in 1836 Wisconsin.
The story unfolds as Catalina’s father dies and her brother, Jose Luis, is stolen by the Man of Sap, a monstrosity of bark and leaves. Pa ranted about the terror of the Man of Sap’s deadly apples before he succumbed to them, but when the monster disappears with her brother, Jose Luis, Catalina’s world falls apart. Taking a satchel of supplies, Mamá’s beloved book of poetry by Sor Juana de la Cruz—a treasure from her Mexican homeland—and a knife that belonged to her white Pa, Catalina sets off to find her brother and destroy the Man of Sap. Along the way, she finds friendship, terrifying creatures, whispers of magic, and the key to believing that love is not always lost. Surrounded by poetry, both that of de la Cruz and her own personal writing that she cannot finish, Catalina finds words are a redemptive force. Readers are thrown into an exploration of the heartbreak and loneliness following death and loss, and each character, whether human or otherwise, brings introspection and courage to the tale. Mesmerizingly told through the eyes of both Catalina and the monster, the book invites readers to travel with characters who are reckoning with greed, fear, and love as they consider what makes a monster—and whether monsters can be redeemed.
Highly imaginative and powerfully affecting. (author’s note) (Speculative fiction. 14-18)” — Kirkus, Starred Review