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The Lost Dreamer

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A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir. Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir. Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive. Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers. With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.


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A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir. Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But A stunning YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, this gripping debut introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed—perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi and Sabaa Tahir. Indir is a Dreamer, descended from a long line of seers; able to see beyond reality, she carries the rare gift of Dreaming truth. But when the beloved king dies, his son has no respect for this time-honored tradition. King Alcan wants an opportunity to bring the Dreamers to a permanent end—an opportunity Indir will give him if he discovers the two secrets she is struggling to keep. As violent change shakes Indir’s world to its core, she is forced to make an impossible choice: fight for her home or fight to survive. Saya is a seer, but not a Dreamer—she has never been formally trained. Her mother exploits her daughter’s gift, passing it off as her own as they travel from village to village, never staying in one place too long. Almost as if they’re running from something. Almost as if they’re being hunted. When Saya loses the necklace she’s worn since birth, she discovers that seeing isn’t her only gift—and begins to suspect that everything she knows about her life has been a carefully-constructed lie. As she comes to distrust the only family she’s ever known, Saya will do what she’s never done before, go where she’s never been, and risk it all in the search of answers. With a detailed, supernaturally-charged setting and topical themes of patriarchal power and female strength, The Lost Dreamer brings an ancient world to life, mirroring the challenges of our modern one.

30 review for The Lost Dreamer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    Interesting and unique. This was well done for a debut and I enjoyed it for the most part. The overall story was strong, and I found myself impressed by Huerta’s imagination. I have read a ton of fantasy in my lifetime and while this is a “chosen one” story, it felt quite different than anything I have read before. There might have been a part here or there that felt familiar, but as a whole, this story felt unique which I always appreciate. I first want to mention, since I read/review a ton LGB Interesting and unique. This was well done for a debut and I enjoyed it for the most part. The overall story was strong, and I found myself impressed by Huerta’s imagination. I have read a ton of fantasy in my lifetime and while this is a “chosen one” story, it felt quite different than anything I have read before. There might have been a part here or there that felt familiar, but as a whole, this story felt unique which I always appreciate. I first want to mention, since I read/review a ton LGBTQ+ books, that this is not one of them. One of my goals for 2022, was to read more books by WOC authors and it was no surprise to me that it is YA books that I keep going for to find good rep when it comes to both authors and characters. I think YA has set the standards that I hope we can see the others genres catching up to. Anyway, when I read the blurb, and saw the great cover, I knew I had to read this one. I do want to make clear that this is more of slower paced book. It is the kind where while you are thrown right into the action –so to say- things move on the slower side and it takes a while to really find out what is going on. This book slowly throws a piece out here and there, and it is not until the end that you can finally put it all together to have a mostly done puzzle. And I say mostly done since it seems like there will be at least one more book. I was okay with this slower pieced together type of storytelling, but I don’t think it will be for everyone. If you want something fast paced, that gives you all the answers, and is filled with excitement, then this is not that book. There are exciting moments, but they are little ones sprinkled into two slower moving storylines. There are two main storylines following two main female characters. One who is a Dreamer, whose family has always served the King, and the other who lives a very sheltered life, yet knows she can talk to spirits. When I say spirits, I don’t really mean ghosts, I more mean like nature sprits and other animal and insect type beings that live in this dream world. There is a light M/F romance with the main who is a dreamer, and there is a sex scene. However, it is so fade to black that I almost missed that they actually had sex. The other character is very sheltered so she is just at the stage of longing to not be alone. I actually wondered if she might end up being queer, in book 2, but I might have just been seeing subtext where there wasn’t any. There is violence in this book, but it more so happens around the character than too them, and because of that it doesn’t come across as explicit. While I don’t think this would work for young kids, I think the way the sex scene and the violence is handled that this would be appropriate for a wide range of ages. As I mentioned before, I did feel the book was a little slow at times, but I didn’t mind it much. The book really wants you to know the two main characters before you understand what their journey really is. While not having all the information when I wanted it was tough, the book had some twists and turns that made everything worth it. If you are going to have a slower book you need to make the pay-off worth it and that was what Huerta was able to do. Now that I have more pieces to the puzzle, I can only imagine how the next book might be. I’m hopeful that the second book will really shift gears and we will get the excitement that this book was missing. TLDR: A well written debut that was a unique read. I have never read anything exactly like this and I always appreciate that. This book is slower paced and the story really builds as you keep reading. If you are looking for a fast paced, exciting book, this is not for you, but it was still quite an enjoyable read for me. I liked watching the puzzle unfold and it was worth the wait. I’m excited for book 2, and I hope it has some really exciting moments. A copy was given to me for review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Delicate, dream-like, powerful, full of songs and stories- one of a kind! When the blurb promises you stunning, it doesn't lie- the Lost Dreamer is as beautiful as it is unique in the genre of YA Fantasy which is overcrowded with strong, 'sassy' heroines and battle magic. The two protagonists/narrators of this gorgeous epic, inspired by Mesoamerican tradition, are Indir and Saya. Both have to undertake a journey - a physical journey and that of self-discovery and sacrifice in order to save their w Delicate, dream-like, powerful, full of songs and stories- one of a kind! When the blurb promises you stunning, it doesn't lie- the Lost Dreamer is as beautiful as it is unique in the genre of YA Fantasy which is overcrowded with strong, 'sassy' heroines and battle magic. The two protagonists/narrators of this gorgeous epic, inspired by Mesoamerican tradition, are Indir and Saya. Both have to undertake a journey - a physical journey and that of self-discovery and sacrifice in order to save their world which is about to succumb to chaos. Indir's mother, her aunts and her sisters are all Dreamers- women who enter and communicate with a special magical realm (think a parallel world full of spirits) called the Dream. The temple is the only life Indir has ever known. She is asked by the dying king to keep the last dream she entered in on his behalf secret. Now the old king's heir Alcan, sent away to enemy tribe to cement the peace talks, arrives in their secret city Alcanzeh and is threatening the traditions and the whole tapestry of their society, the Dream itself. Indir must flee her secret city and face the wider world she knows so little about in order to find the legendary Lost Dreamer. Kind and selfless Saya is used to being controlled and punished for a slightest mistake by her mother Celay. Their life is harsh and they are always on the move to escape an unknown and unmentioned threat. The only safe place for Saya is... the Dream, which she can enter and where she used to roam and play as a child. Changes are coming into her life too. Saya's mother has been passing Saya's gift to Dream as her own and has been profiting from it. Now it's time for Saya to discover the freedom of making her own choices. Indir and Saya are both young and inexperienced. They have been leading 'protected' lives and both of them need strength and courage to face the changes. Indir's strength comes from her family and their love, while Saya is much more curious and trusting- she isn't following any script or any tradition, just her instincts and what she perceives to be true, she is writing her own story. To tell you more is to give away the plot which deserves being discovered step by step, chapter by chapter, image by image. The worldbuilding is gorgeous and so well-thought-through. Among different kinds of gifts that belong to these people are shapeshifting, wielding Fire and using Songs for healing and as a means of connection to all the living world. The Dreamers themselves are also different- Indir dreams in truths, while her sister sees possibilities. Lizz Huerta creates a beautiful, magical world with stunning, rich imagery. Fabulous debut from Lizz Huerta! Can't wait to read her next book! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    erin ♡

    my friend: look what I found!! me: i cant at the moment - i'm bus- my friend: it is a YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, which introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed me: give me the damn book my friend: look what I found!! me: i cant at the moment - i'm bus- my friend: it is a YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, which introduces us to a lineage of seers defiantly resisting the shifting patriarchal state that would see them destroyed me: give me the damn book

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Nagy

    Wow look at me writing the FIRST ACTUAL REVIEW FOR THIS BOOK. You’re welcome. 😎 This book slaps. 11/10. I am absolutely going to have to reread it because it was so good that I read it too fast. First off, The Setting: Ancient Mesoamerica? In a totally unique and incredible culture, with rich history, prophecies, and an incredible magic system? Yes please!! The vivid imagery of the Dreams was stunning and I’ve never read anything quite like it before. I’m picky about both worldbuilding and writin Wow look at me writing the FIRST ACTUAL REVIEW FOR THIS BOOK. You’re welcome. 😎 This book slaps. 11/10. I am absolutely going to have to reread it because it was so good that I read it too fast. First off, The Setting: Ancient Mesoamerica? In a totally unique and incredible culture, with rich history, prophecies, and an incredible magic system? Yes please!! The vivid imagery of the Dreams was stunning and I’ve never read anything quite like it before. I’m picky about both worldbuilding and writing styles, and The Lost Dreamer has my seal of approval. The Plot: This isn’t your cliche YA “Princess goes on quest to save kingdom with two cute boys, which one will she love” plot that I’ve read a hundred times before. This is something entirely new and unique. You follow two girls, one of them a Dreamer, living in the temple and hiding the fact that she can no longer Dream, and the other a wanderer who hides the fact that she can Dream for her own protection (or so she thinks). The story is rich and complex, with high stakes and plenty action, and with a fullness that is often lacking in YA fantasy. The Characters: The main two girls, Saya and Indir, are both fully worthy of carrying the story. Indir is a girl trapped, hiding secrets that could destroy her, and trying to live a life in a world that is crumbling down around her. Saya is finally free, able to make her own choices for the first time and realizing in her freedom just how little she knows herself. I appreciated how they each chose to face their own story, and while they had help and support, they never fell into the trap of simply following a guide character around and being useless. The supporting characters were well done; I felt they each had more of a story and personality than we were shown. I would read a full book on each and every supporting character in this book. There was a slight romantic subplot for Indir, but it never detracted from the plot. The love interest was a very respectable choice (no “I can fix him!” trope here!) and I appreciated the way it was worked into the story. It was an important aspect of the book, but it wasn’t the focus. Conclusion: Overall I loved this book. It has all of the best aspects of the YA genre without any of the negative ones. Really my only complaint is that there isn’t more. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by this author, and I have high hopes of more in this world. Trigger Warning: Saya’s mother is extremely controlling and abusive. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Fer Bañuelos ✨

    Thank you netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! This book was one of the most unique and different fantasies I’ve read in awhile. When I read the blurb “mesoamericano inspired fantasy” I knew I had to read this, and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. The Lost Dreamer is such a rich story with beautiful colors, explosions of culture and dream-like worlds and types of magic. I’ve been craving a good fantasy for the past couple months and this o Thank you netgalley for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! This book was one of the most unique and different fantasies I’ve read in awhile. When I read the blurb “mesoamericano inspired fantasy” I knew I had to read this, and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. The Lost Dreamer is such a rich story with beautiful colors, explosions of culture and dream-like worlds and types of magic. I’ve been craving a good fantasy for the past couple months and this one gave me what I wanted. The story and the mythology aspects were definitely my favorite part of the book. Lizz Huerta does a beautiful homage to her heritage and being Mexican made me really appreciate her work. The world building is fantastic and all the lore about spirits was really well done. Saya and Indir were really good main character that I grew up to enjoy, Indir being my favorite, even though I feel like the book only gives us a sneak peek to, hopefully, an incredible character arc for the sequel. I enjoyed the book on the most part, my only issues being the pacing and the romance. At times this book felt extremely introductory. The Lost Dreamer feels almost like a prologue, setting the bases and the conflict for the sequel. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully done, but sometimes it felt slow and like not so much was happening. Talking about the romance, it was so unnecessary. I don’t know if it was my arc copy but I felt like NO development was showed with the characters? Like, they mentioned they liked each other and next thing they were kissing and saying how the would’ve chose each other. It didn’t make sense and the story didn’t need it. Overall I throughly enjoyed my time reading this book. Like I said before, The Lost Dreamer was such a unique read and I have a feeling it might be an underdog that hopefully will explode soon. So excited for the sequel!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    This is the case of one that I really wanted to enjoy, but honestly couldn't get into the story. The premise was amazing, but I found the majority of the story to be slow. 2.5 Stars The Lost Dreamer is a YA fantasy that takes inspiration from ancient Mesoamerica. It focuses on two narrators, Indir and Saya, one who is a dreamer and the other who is a seer. The story itself is told in their alternate voices as each goes through a variety of conflicts. Honestly, I was confused for a good portion of This is the case of one that I really wanted to enjoy, but honestly couldn't get into the story. The premise was amazing, but I found the majority of the story to be slow. 2.5 Stars The Lost Dreamer is a YA fantasy that takes inspiration from ancient Mesoamerica. It focuses on two narrators, Indir and Saya, one who is a dreamer and the other who is a seer. The story itself is told in their alternate voices as each goes through a variety of conflicts. Honestly, I was confused for a good portion of this book. Indir and Saya have very similar voices in this book and I constantly found myself having to go back within a chapter to remember who's perspective I was reading from. It also didn't help that the pacing was incredibly slow. I was also looking forward to the world building, but Huerta didn't delve as much into the Mesoamerica inspiration as much as I anticipated. What I did find interesting was the connection between all the women. I found their relationships and the bonds established between them to be rewarding to read. I almost wish that readers had the opportunity to see these explored at a greater length. Honestly, this book had some potential in terms of themes and where the story could go; however, so much of it was lost in the execution. Then ending was rushed, the over-arching "evil" force was barely present, and the character development wasn't really there. I'm not sure if there is a sequel planned for this book, but I didn't really feel as though readers were provided closure for everything that happened. Overall, this was a huge disappointment for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    2.5* So what we have here is a case of the Mixed Feelings™, friends! But before we get to said feelings, let's take a moment and appreciate the gorgeousness of the cover, shall we? My eyes have been blessed. I am so torn about this one, and frankly, sad to be torn about it, because I was so excited for it. And truly, some of the aspects I was looking forward to did deliver (for example, I was one million percent here for the Mesoamerican inspiration, which was awesome). But in other areas, the st 2.5* So what we have here is a case of the Mixed Feelings™, friends! But before we get to said feelings, let's take a moment and appreciate the gorgeousness of the cover, shall we? My eyes have been blessed. I am so torn about this one, and frankly, sad to be torn about it, because I was so excited for it. And truly, some of the aspects I was looking forward to did deliver (for example, I was one million percent here for the Mesoamerican inspiration, which was awesome). But in other areas, the story fell flat. So let's see what happened: What I Enjoyed: ►The aforementioned Mesoamerican influence was on point, as was the atmosphere. The world felt so very lush, and so intricately described, I was definitely a fan. And I also loved the bits we learned about the cultures and societies that each main character grew up in, I found those really fascinating and well-done. ►The main characters were great. I liked them a lot, even if I had a hard time deciphering who was who around them or what was going on. Indir very clearly loves her family and her people, and will do whatever she must to protect them. Saya, on the other hand, is dealing with her mother who is kind of awful, and when she finally gets some autonomy, she begins to see her own strength, which is quite lovely. I enjoyed both girls' journeys. ►I really enjoyed the last quarter of the story. By this point, I was kind of picking up on what was happening a bit more, and the plots began to pick up and get more exciting. Some twists were happening, and basically, this was by far my favorite part of the book. Sadly, because it is the end, it is also the part I can say the least about, but I had been pushing on in hopes it would get better by the end, and it did indeed. What Fell Short ►There were so many characters introduced (especially in the first few chapters) that my head was spinning. And look, maybe I ought to have worked harder to keep them all straight, perhaps that is on me. But I am just tired and I don't have that much to give, sorry. At one point, I highlighted a passage where there were 8 names of people/groups in one paragraph and I just could not remember who at least half of them were supposed to be. It was a lot. ►Speaking of being overwhelmed, there was a lot of information given in the first few chapters- even more because there are two main characters in two different places, we're getting double the info. Add that to the literal dozens of characters we meet and... yep, consider me overwhelmed. ►I didn't quite understand the magic system. Or the dreaming, at first, anyway. I will admit, in the early chapters when the dreams were being discussed, my initial reaction was "not to be rude, but who cares about other people's dreams?" It wasn't until later that I realized the dreams were of a prophetic nature, which at least made them make sense, but there was still a lot about the magic system that went over my head. I mostly just tried to ignore it and focus on the other stuff. ►Perhaps because of a mix of all of the above, I just felt emotionally underwhelmed. For example, if something happened to a side character, I just didn't care. Or maybe, wasn't even sure they were actually harmed? The stakes, for whatever reason, felt somewhat low to me, even though I can't pinpoint exactly why. I do think the sheer number of characters to keep track of in a fairly small number of pages adds to it. Bottom Line: Amazing premise and very cool world-building, but perhaps a little overwhelming in execution despite two enjoyable main characters. You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

  8. 4 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    Thank you so much to the publisher via Bookish First for my finished copy of The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta! I’ve never read anything based off of MesoAmerican type culture so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. The story idea is a good one, and I enjoyed the read, but I think the overall execution hurt the end result. Let’s take a look at this newly released YA fantasy! ... Lets talk about execution first: A TON of names, places, abilities and different magics were thrown out at first wi Thank you so much to the publisher via Bookish First for my finished copy of The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta! I’ve never read anything based off of MesoAmerican type culture so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. The story idea is a good one, and I enjoyed the read, but I think the overall execution hurt the end result. Let’s take a look at this newly released YA fantasy! ... Lets talk about execution first: A TON of names, places, abilities and different magics were thrown out at first with no background given, creating a lot of initial confusion. I see a lot of people agreeing that they started out without knowing what was happening or being able to keep track of characters, which can sour a book.  It definitely did for me until I got about 100 pages in and became more interested. Many things are explained at some point but especially at the end I could just not keep track of so many minor characters.  Most big world building things were at least touched on at some point but per a typical YA, Huerta focused more on the characters than explaining the world  I also wasn’t sure about describing everyone by their structure, hips, and build, but I read that as a nod to the Mesoamerican culture.  What she did describe very well was the natural world: flowers, animals, hidden temples,  smells, and some of the ceremonies and rituals. The characters were decent.  I loved Saya’s story.  She deals with escaping abuse and finding family, discovering herself and her abilities, and watching her find joy in the world was awesome.  I loved her Singing abilities too and how it connected her with natural spirits.  In general, I think the different innate magical abilities of the clans were the best part of the book. Indir, the first main character, felt like cardboard to me.  She clearly has some kind of social anxiety and never liked to leave the Temple.  She was a powerful Dreamer but seemed essentially worthless when it came to travelling or really doing anything  That said, and needless to say I was SHOCKED when she randomly and very quickly became attached to a male warrior, and hooked up without much hesitation.  It was a means to the end for the story but that “romance” storyline became a WTAF thing real quick in a book that I would otherwise hand to a 12 year old Thankfully – it was vague and more or less had to be inferred but still – I didn’t see it as consistent with Indir’s character at all.  There is a big “twist” towards the end that – again – it was a good idea but I had to backtrack and consider the book from a new angle. I think when readers will appreciate the big reveal more than adults.  For me, the timelines should have been given along with the points of view and let people reason the twist out on our own if they hadn’t figured it out already The end result was a starting point going forward for the next book with a LOT of background missing. I have so many questions about the meantime, like the book was getting too long and Huerta just found a way to wrap it up! Even with the issues, I thought there were many good themes like dealing with the death of a relative for the first time, sisterhood, girl power, different beauty standards, choosing your family, being curious about the natural world – and many more. Overall – I think this is a good series for teens.  Other than a 15 (I think) year old shy character having a sexual partner, there was absolutely no language and a bit of blood and violence but nothing explicit at all.  I would be ok with my (nonexistent) teens reading this one

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    This book was told in two alternating perspectives Saya who is a Dreamer who does not understand her gift and Indir a Dreamer who has lost the ability to dream. I liked that you were thrown right into this world -there were no backstory that went on forever chapters. I will say that Indir’s story took a lot longer for me to get into it. Saya’s story was always interesting to me. The Dream world seems to be full of spirits and offers some peaks into what is or what could be. The city of the Dream This book was told in two alternating perspectives Saya who is a Dreamer who does not understand her gift and Indir a Dreamer who has lost the ability to dream. I liked that you were thrown right into this world -there were no backstory that went on forever chapters. I will say that Indir’s story took a lot longer for me to get into it. Saya’s story was always interesting to me. The Dream world seems to be full of spirits and offers some peaks into what is or what could be. The city of the Dreamers is in trouble though, the king has died and his son who was sent away to live with a violent and exiled people as a child to try to bring peace returns to take what he believes is his without peace in his mind at all. Saya’s mother uses her gift to pretend to be connected to the spirits herself, and this leads to them having to constantly be on the move as trouble catches up to them. I was disappointed when the story ended because while it was a slow start the end was exciting and I hate the idea of waiting a year plus for part two.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda at Bookish Brews

    the magic in this book is as pretty as the cover Bookish Brews | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook the magic in this book is as pretty as the cover Bookish Brews | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaya

    The Lost Dreamer is an absolute must-read for 2022. In fact, I predict that it will be quite the underdog. You see, I haven’t read a debut with such rich worldbuilding, beautiful writing, and enthralling magic in a long time. We follow two perspectives: Indir, who is a Dreamer among the main Dreamers at the capital city of Alcanezeh. After the king dies, his son returns to the city with no regard for traditions. Indir’s entire world is thrown into upheaval. We also follow Saya, a seer (not an off The Lost Dreamer is an absolute must-read for 2022. In fact, I predict that it will be quite the underdog. You see, I haven’t read a debut with such rich worldbuilding, beautiful writing, and enthralling magic in a long time. We follow two perspectives: Indir, who is a Dreamer among the main Dreamers at the capital city of Alcanezeh. After the king dies, his son returns to the city with no regard for traditions. Indir’s entire world is thrown into upheaval. We also follow Saya, a seer (not an official dreamer) who travels constantly with her mother who takes credit for Saya’s gifts. Both girls will have to stand up for themselves, and the world they live in. There is so much to unpack here. One of the things I loved about this novel was the worldbuilding. I seriously don’t think that there is a book I’ve read in recent times that manages to be so creative and unique in its magic system. I would love to discover more about Mesoamerican culture and mythology now! Especially because the author notes in her acknowledgments that this was a book specifically based off of the Kumeyaay tribe of people. “When the Twin Serpents shed their first skin, they did so weeping in joy, and so the seas and rivers and waters of the world were formed.” So there’s this concept of the Dream, where only Dreamers can go. Spirits live there and can help if offerings are made. I loved how you had so many different types of Dreamers. For example, Indir is a Dreamer of truth, while her sister Dreams possibility. There are also healers who sing Songs of healing through water, and the Fire Warriors are uh…basically the Fire Nation. There are also these amazing women named the Ilkan (who remind me of the Amazons from Greek mythology) who are very in tune with jaguar spirits. This book is just chock-full of creative magic! Also, can we please appreciate the women??? They’re often described as having round hips and bellies, being tall and short, and having all different body types. And you know what? Each body type is considered to be equally beautiful and perfectly natural. I personally loved that. Also! I’m pretty sure only women are Dreamers? Which is awesome? The synopsis describes this book as tackling the themes of dismantling a patriarchal society and I can 100% see that. “My mother always said that chaos is a womb. What will be birthed?” And oh my gosh the writing is just…I’m speechless. So many sentences were strung together by an almost ethereal combination of adjectives and nouns and verbs, creating metaphors and similies effortlessly. I will say that sometimes the story dragged, though. It felt slow, and I had to really focus to envision the rich world and complex characters. I’m not totally happy with one romantic plotline (personal preference y’know) but other than that, I really enjoyed the plot of this book. There were a few minor twists throughout the story but the last 25% really took me on a trip. I’m still reeling. Saya and Indir’s stories are just really well-done. Overall, it is my opinion that this will be one of the most underrated books of the year. I definitely didn’t find myself as invested at certain points as I wanted to be, but I think that’s because this is a story that requires more than one brain cell. I’m giving this 5/5 stars! thank you so much macmillan for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kalena W

    5/5 stars, my only complaint is that it ended RTC! [TW: death of a parent, manipulation, child abuse and malnourishment, slavery and slave trading, heavy blood, death of family members, burning bodies, child birthing, drugging]

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kait

    A sprawling journey with strong Ancient Mesoamerican influences, The Lost Dreamer stands out in a vast sea of fantasy novels. The worldbuilding is detailed and impeccable, but the book struggled to find its pace within the world it created, particularly for one of the POV characters. The novel follows two points-of-view. The first is Indir, one of the sacred dreamers of Alcanzeh who prophesies via the mystical world of The Dream. When the king dies, his son Alcan, who was once traded to a neighbo A sprawling journey with strong Ancient Mesoamerican influences, The Lost Dreamer stands out in a vast sea of fantasy novels. The worldbuilding is detailed and impeccable, but the book struggled to find its pace within the world it created, particularly for one of the POV characters. The novel follows two points-of-view. The first is Indir, one of the sacred dreamers of Alcanzeh who prophesies via the mystical world of The Dream. When the king dies, his son Alcan, who was once traded to a neighboring nation as part of a peace treaty, returns to claim the throne. Alcan is vengeful and desperate to strip away the traditions of his people, particularly the role of The Dreamers. Indir and the Dreamers know a new age is coming as danger and rebellion slowly seed their way into the community, but it doesn’t make it any easier for her to face her prophetic role in what’s to come. The second POV is Saya, a lonesome “seer” who can enter the Dream but cannot fully access it the way Dreamers can. Saya lives under the thumb of her mother, who publicly claims Saya’s power as her own, all while hiding Saya in the shadows. It gives her an air of authority as they travel from village to village— which they do often, sometimes in the dead of night. When Saya loses the protective charm she’s worn since birth, she discovers her life is not what it seems and sets out into the world to find the truth. As previously mentioned, the worldbuilding is stunning. It’s very easy to visualize these locations, the society, and the non-human beings that live among the main characters. I was definitely drawn to the world of The Dream, which is as unpredictable as it is fantastical, but there is also plenty of spectacle in the “real world” portion. I really enjoyed Saya’s POV, which invited a sense of coming-of-age as the character discovered herself, took risks, went on an adventure, and built a found family. There wasn’t a ton of action on either side, but Saya’s journey was engaging. Indir, on the other hand, was a little tougher. Her chapters seemed to focus on exposition and setup, particularly in the first half of the novel, and moved at a much slower pace. Indir’s role was mostly chronicling the growing tensions in Alcanzeh, and she sometimes felt more like a necessary buildup to the end of the novel than a uniquely crafted character. This feeling does ease up a bit in the second half, when she becomes a little less passive. For all its faults, The Lost Dreamer ended beautifully, in such a way that made me curious for the second book. I have a feeling that it might have worked out better as one lengthier book rather than a duology, but I was really happy with the way these two characters’ stories intersected.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    This is definitely a case of mixed feelings and I'm sad I didn't love this more! The Lost Dreamer is a debut YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, which is very cool. The highlight of the book for me was those elements- the setting, the magic, the atmosphere, the culture were all really unique and enjoyable. Unfortunately, other elements did not work as well. For whatever reason I found myself bored through a lot of this book. I'm trying to put my finger on why exactly- things happen, even This is definitely a case of mixed feelings and I'm sad I didn't love this more! The Lost Dreamer is a debut YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica, which is very cool. The highlight of the book for me was those elements- the setting, the magic, the atmosphere, the culture were all really unique and enjoyable. Unfortunately, other elements did not work as well. For whatever reason I found myself bored through a lot of this book. I'm trying to put my finger on why exactly- things happen, even objectively interesting things. But the way the story is told drags on parts that matter less and failed to give me a strong emotional sense of stakes or connection to the characters. There were things about the characters that were interesting, but we never got the kind of depth in characterization I wanted. The structure and pacing of the book would also pull me out of something getting interesting into something else, but in a way that sometimes made it hard to keep track of who was who. I also don't love or even fully understand the ending of the book and why the choice to make that the twist was made. I'm confused about timelines and there are a LOT of questions left open in unsatisfying ways. And it's so rushed. Most of the book is pretty slow, but when I saw there wasn't much left in the book I thought "surely this can't be wrapped up that quickly!" And in fact it kind of was, but not in a satisfying way, especially given that this book is a standalone. I wanted to love this, I like the premise and the world but the story and characters didn't really come together for me. Which is unfortunate. I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher, all opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shelly with the glasses

    2.5 stars I really wanted to love this. I'd been looking forward to it for months and even read it while in Mexico City because I wanted to be immersed in the culture while reading it. It has excellent world building and a surprise twist at the end. However, the pacing was slow and some of the depictions were vague, which led to me becoming bored and confused. I skimmed a bit until it got interesting, around 75%. But the ending was rushed and abrupt and not at all satisfying. I'm still very confu 2.5 stars I really wanted to love this. I'd been looking forward to it for months and even read it while in Mexico City because I wanted to be immersed in the culture while reading it. It has excellent world building and a surprise twist at the end. However, the pacing was slow and some of the depictions were vague, which led to me becoming bored and confused. I skimmed a bit until it got interesting, around 75%. But the ending was rushed and abrupt and not at all satisfying. I'm still very confused about several things, like what the night bird is. I know this was a debut novel and I can tell the author put a lot of love from her culture into it. It was beautiful and radiates off the pages. I didn't like the alternating points of view as I was reading it. Though ngl, once it all came together it was kind of a genius twist.

  16. 5 out of 5

    rose ✨

    dnf @ 28% while i loved the mythology and jungle setting inspired by ancient mesoamerica, this one just hasn’t managed to hold my interest. it’s written in a very simplistic, young style that seems more suited to something middle grade-level and felt at odds with the main characters’ ages and some of the more mature themes. i’m also fussy about books with multiple povs—sometimes they’re brilliantly done, but here the alternating chapters really disrupted the flow and pacing. thank you to netgalley dnf @ 28% while i loved the mythology and jungle setting inspired by ancient mesoamerica, this one just hasn’t managed to hold my interest. it’s written in a very simplistic, young style that seems more suited to something middle grade-level and felt at odds with the main characters’ ages and some of the more mature themes. i’m also fussy about books with multiple povs—sometimes they’re brilliantly done, but here the alternating chapters really disrupted the flow and pacing. thank you to netgalley for the arc!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Siavahda

    The Lost Dreamer is not a DNF-forever; instead, I’m DNFing it for now. Because I’m crossing my fingers that my main issue with it is a problem with the ARC rather than the finished book. The worldbuilding is absolutely wonderful, and I dearly love that it’s drawing on Mesoamerican mythology and culture rather than generic-Medieval Europe. There are so many cool things – like the Ilkan, the warrior-women who gain jaguar rosettes on their skin when they get angry or upset, complete with claws and s The Lost Dreamer is not a DNF-forever; instead, I’m DNFing it for now. Because I’m crossing my fingers that my main issue with it is a problem with the ARC rather than the finished book. The worldbuilding is absolutely wonderful, and I dearly love that it’s drawing on Mesoamerican mythology and culture rather than generic-Medieval Europe. There are so many cool things – like the Ilkan, the warrior-women who gain jaguar rosettes on their skin when they get angry or upset, complete with claws and sharp teeth! Or the fact that hummingbirds can apparently move between the Waking World and the Dreaming at will! And the whole book giving a great big middle finger to white beauty standards – instead emphasising and celebrating brown skin and thick bodies, full lips and wider noses. I LOVE THAT. ALL THE YAY. The writing is nothing to sneer at either – maybe a little simplistic, but still lovely, with just enough description to feel lush without overwhelming readers who are wary of purple prose. I adored absolutely everything about the Dreaming itself, which is full of beauty and whimsy, even if there’s dangers in it too. The spirits who inhabit the Dreaming – and can perceive and interact with the Waking World – are fantastic; I love the set-up, their relationship with humans in general and the Dreamers in specific, and the system of trading offerings and stories back and forth. And that’s all without going into the various different cultures the story introduces, which are also brilliant and hugely varied and distinct. The world(s) Huerta has created are incredible, basically! And I fell in love with the main characters very quickly; two teenage Dreamers living very different lives, both of which you really can’t help but sympathise and empathise with. I started rooting for each one pretty much the moment I was introduced to them. That doesn’t happen to me very often. The story itself, the plot, is also a delight; I suppose if you zoom out on it, it follows the general arc of stories we’ve seen before, but it feels unique and unpredictable. I freaking treasure a book whose ending I can’t predict, okay? And I really don’t know where this one is going, or how everything will be resolved or what that resolution will look like. So why am I DNFing it? It’s hard to put into words – the only way I can describe it is that the rhythm of the writing is off. The paragraphs don’t break where they need to, which is the kind of thing that probably won’t bother literally anyone else on the planet, but which is the equivalent of putting itching powder in my clothes, for me. But! I am extremely hopeful that this is an issue with the ARC rather than the book, especially because there are also scene breaks where they are clearly not supposed to be. So the ARC definitely has formatting issues, and I’m hoping this thing with the paragraphs, and thus the rhythm of the prose, is a part of that. The TL;DR version: I’m putting the ARC aside, but I have the book preordered and will be giving it another go once it’s published! And if it’s not an issue with the ARC, it’s still something that probably won’t bother any other reader, so I encourage you to give it a go when it’s released!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    This is a great story, told in a clever way, that is a compelling fantasy novel as well as a book that models consent, compassion, and ways of leading and providing guidance without violence. There's a ton of body knowledge and characters who are very cognizant of their emotions and physiological responses to things. The much-needed non-Eurocentric world-building is strong, although many aspects of the world are slowly revealed and readers will need to be patient with things that remain unexplai This is a great story, told in a clever way, that is a compelling fantasy novel as well as a book that models consent, compassion, and ways of leading and providing guidance without violence. There's a ton of body knowledge and characters who are very cognizant of their emotions and physiological responses to things. The much-needed non-Eurocentric world-building is strong, although many aspects of the world are slowly revealed and readers will need to be patient with things that remain unexplained at the beginning. The book clearly has a sequel coming; what's here are two backstories conveying what readers will beed to know before they read the next book in the series, which promises more action. The writing was sometimes clunky, with short sentences and awkward phrasing, perhaps because the author is writing for YA audiences and thinks this is necessary, but the imagery and ideas are more than enough to overcome reader reluctance that might come up because of the writing seeming too simple.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    "When I was your age, I lived a life where my choices were made for me. I wasn't happy. I didn't feel alive. One day I made a small choice for myself, then another. I became someone new; my story has been hard, but it's been mine. Small choices, Saya." The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 This is an absolutely stunning debut YA fantasy novel, the first in a duology. It follows the POV of 2 seers: Indir is a Dreamer who grew up in a temple surrounded by her family, all Dreamers as well. Saya i "When I was your age, I lived a life where my choices were made for me. I wasn't happy. I didn't feel alive. One day I made a small choice for myself, then another. I became someone new; my story has been hard, but it's been mine. Small choices, Saya." The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 This is an absolutely stunning debut YA fantasy novel, the first in a duology. It follows the POV of 2 seers: Indir is a Dreamer who grew up in a temple surrounded by her family, all Dreamers as well. Saya is a lone seer whose gift has been exploited her whole life by her mother. Both Indir and Saya have roles to play as the world changes. While both POVs are interesting, I found myself very drawn to Saya. Indir's POV served to enhance the incredible world-building, but we really got to know Saya and see her transform. She felt like the main character of this story. I loved watching her make choices, small at first, and begin discovering what the world was like without her mother. I wanted so much more from Indir. She did start to get more depth at the end of the book and I am hoping this continues in book 2. The world-building in this book is so good. Not only did I feel transported into the world, but I almost felt as if the story was written in a way that reminded me of oral storytelling. The rhythm of words were tangible as I was reading. Lizz Huerta drew inspiration from ancient Mesoamerica. This makes the story unlike any I have read before. One thing that made this book really stand out to me was the beautiful portrayal of so many wonderfully different women's bodies. Their was a description of a postpartum body that brought me to tears: "Her body was dark from the sun, her stomach bearing the sacred marks of motherhood, breasts hanging low. She was beautiful." This is the first time I have read such positive representation of a postpartum body in a work of fiction and it made me feel so seen! Additionally, Huerta wrote a beautiful, realistic passage of childbirth. There are so many ridiculous, unrealistic and overdramatized portrayals of childbirth in media. Huerta wrote of a slow labor, the pain of it, the wonderful support of a partner, and the relief of pushing. It really communicated the many emotions of childbirth and how sacred it is. She even wrote of a mother's pain when she had milk supply problems and couldn't feed her baby! Again, something I have never seen portrayed in fiction and I felt so seen! This is such a wonderful debut novel and I can't wait to read more of Lizz Huerta! Thank you to Bookish First and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group for a copy of this book! All thoughts are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Beautifully imagined YA fantasy story about two young women with gifts fighting to survive in a world that doesn't want them to exist. Indir is a Dreamer who can see beyond reality. When the King dies, his heir sets out to eradicate all the Dreamers. Saya on the other hand is an exceptionally talented Seer whose mother has been passing off her gifts as her own, as they travel the land seemingly on the run from something. This feminist fantasy steeped in Mesoamerican culture was highly entertaini Beautifully imagined YA fantasy story about two young women with gifts fighting to survive in a world that doesn't want them to exist. Indir is a Dreamer who can see beyond reality. When the King dies, his heir sets out to eradicate all the Dreamers. Saya on the other hand is an exceptionally talented Seer whose mother has been passing off her gifts as her own, as they travel the land seemingly on the run from something. This feminist fantasy steeped in Mesoamerican culture was highly entertaining and great on audio. Perfect for fans of Tahereh Mafi or Judy I. Lin. Also, what a gorgeous cover on this book!! I am totally obsessed and can't wait to read more by this debut author.

  21. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    dnf @ 28% rep: Mesoamerican inspiration and characters; (Mexican/Puerto Rican-American author) yeah hmm this just isn't for me, I think. I found the writing to be a little too stagnant (very: subject verb object, subject verb object, etc etc) although I did get over that eventually...however, and I know that I maybe just put it down too early, I'm not invested in the characters or the story. Indir's chapters were harder to get through than Saya's. however, these are just my personal opinions! I th dnf @ 28% rep: Mesoamerican inspiration and characters; (Mexican/Puerto Rican-American author) yeah hmm this just isn't for me, I think. I found the writing to be a little too stagnant (very: subject verb object, subject verb object, etc etc) although I did get over that eventually...however, and I know that I maybe just put it down too early, I'm not invested in the characters or the story. Indir's chapters were harder to get through than Saya's. however, these are just my personal opinions! I think many other people will enjoy this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tamikan

    Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. I wanted to like this. It has a beautiful cover, with Mesoamerican influences, and an interesting premise. But I found the writing flat and the overall story meandering. The world-building was slow and very confusing. I started skimming at about 40% because I found I just didn't care about the characters and nothing was really happening. After a certain event, I guessed the sort of twist and what the ending would be, but there were s Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book. I wanted to like this. It has a beautiful cover, with Mesoamerican influences, and an interesting premise. But I found the writing flat and the overall story meandering. The world-building was slow and very confusing. I started skimming at about 40% because I found I just didn't care about the characters and nothing was really happening. After a certain event, I guessed the sort of twist and what the ending would be, but there were still a lot of unanswered questions. This one just wasn't for me.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Marie

    The Lost Dreamer is a vibrantly unique YA fantasy with dual perspectives and a meticulously realized world. The concept of dreaming (or “seeing”) is weaved through the story in an interesting way that is pretty easy to grasp. The world-building in general is rich and ancient but utilizes an approachable language. I never felt too lost, even as the story and its setting stretches the boundaries of what I was familiar with in fantasy and YA fiction. I did enjoy that feeling of wonder though, parti The Lost Dreamer is a vibrantly unique YA fantasy with dual perspectives and a meticulously realized world. The concept of dreaming (or “seeing”) is weaved through the story in an interesting way that is pretty easy to grasp. The world-building in general is rich and ancient but utilizes an approachable language. I never felt too lost, even as the story and its setting stretches the boundaries of what I was familiar with in fantasy and YA fiction. I did enjoy that feeling of wonder though, particularly in comparison to more formulaic fantasy. The two heroines, Indir and Saya, live in a world where descending into meditative, fantastical dreams can indicate past and present events. They can also peek into the future or interact with people they know, or mythological creatures. The “dreaming” scenes were some of my favorite moments of this book and descriptions of nature are illustrious and full of magic. I could also see how this special ability became a burden on the characters, a responsibility that leads easily to more harrowing plot developments. Losing the ability to dream brings great misfortune while dreaming at crucial moments can expose the characters to dangerous information. The book shifts seamlessly between perspectives. Chapters are clearly marked as being told from Indir or Saya’s first person perspectives. The heroines complement each other well. I found their inner voices to be quite similar but their storylines are markedly different. Indir lives in the heart of Alcanzeh, with her family and amidst other dreamers. A villainous figure is rising to power and her homeland is at risk. Saya on the other hand is more of a wanderer. Her powers are put to use by her controlling and toxic mother, but friendships that she forges along the way help in giving her to strength to break away and uncover important secrets along the way. The ending of this story takes a while to build up but it’s an impressive one. Without delving into revealing details, I do want to say that there is a memorable revelation and it is handled nicely. I would urge anyone who gets a far way through to see this story to its end. My reasons for deducting one star- the writing style can get bogged down by details and descriptions that weren’t moving things forward at a brisk enough pace. The conversations between characters are often dry and noticeably less captivating than the world building. Many named characters aren’t given noteworthy things to do or say. This book is well held up by the power of its passionately realized story and inspired ideas, but there are several slow moments and the lack of impactful conversations stood out to me. In summary, The Lost Dreamer has a lot to offer. A dynamic, fresh setting steeped in history, nature, and magic. One that is illustrated with an approachable, inviting writing style. Two eventful storylines with a satisfying resolution. Easy to recommend if its premise piques your interest. Disclosure : I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kaylee

    "Stories don't end, Saya, they just change shape." This is a classic case of great book, wrong person. This book took me forever to get through but was still very good. I loved the world building and the lore used throughout. The idea of the Dream was such a cool concept and I really enjoyed reading about all the spirits and different lands within the Dream. I definitely preferred Saya's chapters to Indir's though. I liked all of the characters but I just couldn't really connect with them which m "Stories don't end, Saya, they just change shape." This is a classic case of great book, wrong person. This book took me forever to get through but was still very good. I loved the world building and the lore used throughout. The idea of the Dream was such a cool concept and I really enjoyed reading about all the spirits and different lands within the Dream. I definitely preferred Saya's chapters to Indir's though. I liked all of the characters but I just couldn't really connect with them which made the story less enjoyable for me. It also didn't help that I was reading other books at the same time and I found those to be more interesting than this. "What is new is always exciting, even when and especially when it's dangerous." I was pretty confused for a little bit at the end but the confusion clears up in the next chapter or so when everything is explained. I liked the twist at the end but I think it could have been revealed in a less confusing way. Although, that could have been what the author was aiming for. If so, they nailed it! I feel like there will most likely be a sequel to this, but I most likely won't read it or ever reread this one. It just wasn't for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hagenlocher

    I haven't been this excited about a series since Raybearer and Legendborn. This book has it all: compelling protagonists and side characters, a magic system that feels like a breath of fresh air, and a beautifully written story that keeps you hooked the whole way through. The Lost Dreamer follows the parallel stories of two girls: Indir and Saya. Both girls are born with the incredible gift of being able to enter the Dream. The Dream is sort of like a Spirit Realm, yet it's so much more than tha I haven't been this excited about a series since Raybearer and Legendborn. This book has it all: compelling protagonists and side characters, a magic system that feels like a breath of fresh air, and a beautifully written story that keeps you hooked the whole way through. The Lost Dreamer follows the parallel stories of two girls: Indir and Saya. Both girls are born with the incredible gift of being able to enter the Dream. The Dream is sort of like a Spirit Realm, yet it's so much more than that too. I don't want to oversimplify the beauty of the Dream, but as you read you'll come to understand how incredible it is. The difference between Saya and Indir is that Indir has been trained to use her gift her whole life, surrounded by other Dreamers in the city of Alcanzeh. Saya, on the other hand, has grown up hiding her gift, not understanding the full extent of her power. And the abusive environment she's grown up in hasn't helped. Both of the girls face a life-altering event that sets them on a collision course toward each other. Huerta has done something powerful with the dual perspectives in this book. Both girls have an incredibly strong voice and compelling narrative (which can be difficult to pull off...I'm looking at you, George). The action is constantly moving forward, and the ending of each chapter makes it impossible to put the book down. I always felt like I had to know what happened next for BOTH characters, which meant I was eager to read each and every chapter, and the dual narrative actually created the reading equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. I was never slogging through one chapter just to get to the next. I've covered that I adore both Saya and Indir, but I also want to talk about the host of side characters. I mean, each person that is introduced is a delight to get to know. They're delightful, interesting, and bursting with personality. This book also explores the topic of family from just about every angle. Huerta covers blood family, the good and the bad. She also explores the depths of found family and deep friendships in a profound way, especially how choosing your family can help you heal from trauma and explore yourself more fully. I'd also be remiss if I didn't talk about how the author writes about a diverse range of body types. Women with thick thighs, wide hips, soft stomachs, and low-hanging breasts abound. The way Huerta writes about bodies is like a love-letter, and praises more what the body can do than what it looks like. Stretch marks are sacred, legs are meant to carry, and so on. It is a radical stance for body neutrality, and still manages to encapsulate the absolute beauty of bodies that don't fit the current Western beauty standards. The Lost Dreamer isn't your typical 3-act structure, either. It's something more lyrical and free-flowing with that. This book has not been confirmed as a series yet (to my knowledge, as of writing), though it certainly has the potential to be, and the story ends in a way feeling like things are just getting started. However, I think that's part of the beauty of the narrative. I hope that this story gets the opportunity to continue. It's one of the most compelling and interesting YA narratives I've enjoyed in a while, and it feels like it's just getting started. Huerta is an incredible writer and storyteller, and I'm on board for whatever she does next. Tropes and Things I Love: - Body Positivity/Neutrality - Found Family - Non-binary character - Queer relationships NORMALIZED - Ancient Mesoamerican inspiration - Complex and unique magic system - Strong, likeable protagonists - Antagonist is sorta intangible TW/CW: abusive parent, mentions of blood sacrifice (including animal), character drugged, talk of infertility, death, scene of animal cruelty (gets resolved), grief.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Annine

    3.5 🌟 Diversity challenge: indigenous rep A bit of a slow start, but I really liked the world building and the magic elements. The second half was way better

  27. 5 out of 5

    ✨ Brianna Raquel ✨

    The mesoamerica setting alone grants this 3 stars but the writing style and the amount of creativity that went into this is crazy. I was hooked the entire time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Dickey

    Dnf for now - I like the world but I'm so confused lol Dnf for now - I like the world but I'm so confused lol

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margo

    This book was so fucking good! I’m recommending it to everyone. Debut of the year!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan (Jon)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝘼 𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙔𝘼 𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙨𝙮 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙈𝙚𝙨𝙤𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖, 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙜𝙧𝙞𝙥𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙙𝙚𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙚𝙨 𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙖 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙛𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙥𝙖𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙙𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙮𝙚𝙙. 🕊 I don’t typically read fantasy - let alone YA fantasy - therefore I feel like I wasn’t the intended reader for this book. I could really appreciate what the author was doing and highly would recommend for those who actually like YA fantasy with an interest in MesoAmerican culture. 💭 I did enjoy the ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 𝘼 𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙔𝘼 𝙛𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙨𝙮 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙈𝙚𝙨𝙤𝙖𝙢𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙘𝙖, 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙜𝙧𝙞𝙥𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙙𝙚𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙚𝙨 𝙪𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙖 𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙖𝙜𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙮 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙛𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙥𝙖𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙙𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙮𝙚𝙙. 🕊 I don’t typically read fantasy - let alone YA fantasy - therefore I feel like I wasn’t the intended reader for this book. I could really appreciate what the author was doing and highly would recommend for those who actually like YA fantasy with an interest in MesoAmerican culture. 💭 I did enjoy the story idea and the characters in this story, I just didn’t think the overall execution worked at the end. It did take me a bit to get used to the characters and not forget who was who. I really think that this story has an overall compelling message that I think readers can easily connect with. 🕊 I definitely think there were some really great themes throughout the story. I also enjoyed the narrator and pacing of the book. I was all over the place on deciding what to end up rating this book - I kept going back and forth, but ultimately I decided to go middle of the road. It’s not a bad book by any means - it’s more of a personal taste in genre. ✨Thank you Libro and the publisher for an ALC of this book in exchange for my honest review✨

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