A magic debut middle-grade novel filled with powerful abuelas, santeria, and orishas set in New York City
Thirteen-year-old Maya Beatriz Montenegro Calderon has vivid recurring dreams where she hears the ocean calling her. Mami’s side of the family is known as “Los Locos,” so maybe she actually is going crazy. But no time for that; the family business is where it’s at. Whenever Maya, her sister Salma, and her three cousins, Ini, Mini, and Mo, aren’t at school, you can usually find three generations of Calderones at Café Taza, serving up sandwiches de pernil, mofongo, and the best cafés con leche in all of Brooklyn.
One day, an unexpected visit from the estranged Titi Yaya from Puerto Rico changes everything. Because Yaya practices santeria, Abuela tells Maya and the other Calderon children are told to stay away from her. But If la viejita is indeed estranged from the family, why does Maya feel so connected to this woman she has never met before? And who is this orisha named Yemaya? On top of figuring all this out, Maya has a budding soccer career to consider, while fending off the local bully, and dealing with nascent feelings toward her teammate. But through it all, there’s that alluring connection to a forbidden ancient practice—filled with a pantheon of Yoruban gods and goddesses—that keeps tugging at her, offering her a new perspective in life, tying her past to her present and future. Which path will Maya choose to fulfill her destiny?