Skip to main content
Displaying 1 of 1
The last cuentista
2021
Please select and request a specific volume by clicking one of the icons in the 'Find It' section below.
Find It
Trade Reviews

Publishers Weekly Reviews

An aspiring young storyteller with retinitis pigmentosa discovers that she's the only one who remembers life on Earth after waking up 380 years in the future in this suspenseful speculative novel. In the year 2061, a solar flare has altered the course of Halley's Comet, putting Earth and its inhabitants right in its trajectory. Twelve-year-old Petra Peña, a resourceful Mexican American preteen who longs to follow in her cuentista grandmother's footsteps and tell stories for a living, successfully boards one of the last ships off-world—as do members of a dangerous, cultlike group called The Collective. When Petra awakens centuries later at the ship's destination, she quickly realizes that The Collective has wiped the memories—or lives—of her fellow passengers, and she must use her wits and Mexican folklore to protect the remaining humans and avoid the same fate. Through Petra's gut-wrenching, tenderly crafted narrative arc, author Higuera (Lupe Wong Won't Dance) explores how story can awaken empathy, hope, and even resistance in an audience. This is the work of a true cuentista: gripping, euphonious ("The wind carried it off far away into the stars"), and full of storytelling magic. Ages 10–14. Agent: Allison Remcheck, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Annotations

"Habâia una vez...There lived a girl named Petra Peäna, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children--among them Petra and her family--have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race. Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet--and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinisterCollective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard--or purged them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, anyhope for our future. Can she make them live again?"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Winner of the John Newbery Medal
Winner of the Pura Belpré Award


TIME's Best Books of the Year
Wall Street Journal's Best of the Year
Minneapolis Star Tribune's Best of the Year
Boston Globe's Best of the Year
BookPage's Best of the Year
Publishers Weekly's Best of the Year
School Library Journal's Best of the Year
Kirkus Reviews' Best of the Year
Bank Street's Best of the Year
Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
New York Public Library Best of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Cybils Award Finalist

From Pura Belpré Award winner and Newbery Medalist, Donna Barba Higuera—a brilliant journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.


"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes – truly a beautiful cuento."—New York Times

"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive."—The Wall Street Journal

? "This tale packs a wallop. Exquisite."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

? "Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic."—Publishers Weekly (starred)

? "A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others."—School Library Journal (starred)

Había una vez . . .

There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.

But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children – among them Petra and her family – have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.

Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet – and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard – or purged them altogether.

Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? - (Grand Central Pub)

<b><i>Winner of the John Newbery Medal<br><I>Winner of the Pura Belpr&#233; Award</I></i></b><br><br><b><i>TIME</i>'s Best Books of the Year<br><i>Wall Street Journal</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>Minneapolis Star Tribune</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>Boston Globe</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>BookPage</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>Publishers Weekly</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>School Library Journal</i>'s Best of the Year<br><i>Kirkus Reviews</i>' Best of the Year<br>Bank Street's Best of the Year<br>Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best<br>New York Public Library Best of the Year<br>A Junior Library Guild Selection<br>Cybils Award Finalist<br><br>From Pura Belpr&#233; Award winner and Newbery Medalist, Donna Barba Higuera&#8212;a brilliant journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.</b><br><br>"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes &#8211; truly a beautiful cuento."&#8212;<i>New York Times</i><br><br>"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive."&#8212;<i>The Wall Street Journal</i><br><br>&#9733; "This tale packs a wallop. Exquisite."&#8212;<i>Kirkus Reviews</i> (starred)<br><br>&#9733; "Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic."&#8212;<i>Publishers Weekly</i> (starred)<br><br>&#9733; "A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others."&#8212;<i>School Library Journal</i> (starred)<br><br>Hab&#237;a una vez . . . <br><br>There lived a girl named Petra Pe&#241;a, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.<br><br>But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children &#8211; among them Petra and her family &#8211; have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.<br><br>Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet &#8211; and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard &#8211; or purged them altogether.<br><br>Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again? - (HARPERCOLL)

Author Biography
Large Cover Image
Librarian's View
Displaying 1 of 1