I am so thrilled to announce the book tour stops for BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE! It’s a small, two-state tour but I’ve never had one before and am so grateful to these bookshops for having me. If you’re in the area, I would love to meet you and make a copy of my book all pretty for you
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE received its second STARRED review, this one from Publisher’s Weekly. You can read the full review here
Preorder BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE to receive the pre-order gift suite:
a poison apple corner bookmark featuring Catalina’s hand with a lace cuff
an envelope with woodland art scene
a surprise sticker of a classic art piece, leaf, or rose
Submit your proof of purchase here
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
I’m thrilled to share that BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE received a starred Kirkus review!
Kirkus can be so tough and I was feeling so anxious every time I thought about being reviewed by them. I simply hoped the review would be positive but never imagined it would be starred.
Only 10% of the 7000 traditionally published books that Kirkus reviews gets starred and its a designation for “books of exceptional merit.” I was beyond shocked to see the famous “starred review” after the title when my editor forwarded me the news
You can read the full review here
And here is an excerpt:
“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.” -Kirkus, starred review
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE is getting an audiobook recording by Penguin Random House
I am excited to announce that you can order signed and personalized copies of BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE through Mysterious Galaxy. Simply click here. They ship internationally!
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE HERE has a cover!
Teen Librarian Toolbox with School Library Journal helped reveal the cover and here is what I wrote about both the book and its new face:
I’ve been fascinated by apples. When I was little, I was intrigued by the seed star nestled in their centers, imagining the apple was its own night sky. As I became older and read more widely, I became intrigued by their literary lore. They are presented as Temptation, Knowledge, Beauty. We see apples created by gods in myths spanning different cultures, regaled as an object of Beauty in poems, depicted as the forbidden fruit in the Edenic fall in the Old Testament, and even becoming a method of poisoning in the famous fairy tale Snow White. And, in America, we have yet another interpretation of them as wholesome icons, seen in apple pie, a gift for a teacher, and the idiom, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
So it was from this rich landscape that I got the first seeds of inspiration for Before the Devil Knows You’re Here. I’d grown up hearing about Johnny Appleseed and always loved the idea of someone traveling far and wide, planting seeds wherever they went. But, I asked, what if Johnny wasn’t planting typical apple trees? What if his apples were poisonous? Cursed?
As a triracial author, I love focusing on American history through the lens of my heritage, which is its own unique tale. My family’s history is full of hope yet also full of hardship, from struggling to find the American dream while laboring in fields after immigrating from Mexico to being wrongfully incarcerated in Japanese American internment camps during WWII. For this story, I told it from the point of view of a Mexican-American poet, who is drawn into a surreal world full of peril. I hope readers will discover the fun, love, and beauty that comes when you have parents from two different cultures, even as the main character faces heartbreak, death, and wrestles with the monstrosity of the world—and the monstrosity within her own self.
I’m so excited to share a glimpse of the book today via the cover. I love how the book stares back at you just as much as you stare at it and that it hints at the bizarre world to come just inside the cover, as indicated by the hand with the black nails. And though it features the progression of an eaten apple, beware the apples encountered within its pages. I’ve heard they taste incredible—but that they may just kill!
Before the Devil Knows You’re Here, a folk horror YA novel, is coming in fall 2023!