At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.
On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
This was another buddy read with the amazing Isabelle @ Nine Tale Vixen and a #StartonYourShelfathon read too!
The worldbuilding on this had me wrapped around its finger from page one. I loved the mythology and this representation of polygamy which we do not often see in YA books, or in books in general.
But, this is just one of the reasons I loved this book.
Dani is a great character, she’s got insecurities and has to hide them due to the role she’s been prepared for since she arrived at Medio’s School for Girls. And now that’s destined to be paired with a second wife she’s never gotten along with, well, things are more complicated than ever.
Not to mention, their husband is not at all what either wife expected.
Dani’s in a high-risk situation if anyone finds out the truth about her and her forged papers, she’s more than just in trouble so of course she’s found out and asked to spy on her husband due to his high political station.
I completely adored the hidden love aspect and thought that it felt so organic and wonderful that I shipped it immediately.
So, I loved the mythology, I loved the love and the worldbuilding.
I also loved the separation of the privileged and those in poverty, it was a stark contrast that unfortunately mirrors today in its symbolism.
But, I do have some things I didn’t love.
The pacing was fine until we get over halfway through. Suddenly there’s more deception and a rushed feeling. The love story is sort of brought to this grinding halt for me because I couldn’t fathom the need for this deception and how it played out at the end.
I wanted to love the last bit more, but, that did not stop me from enjoying the book overall as a whole. And though I’m not sure how I feel about Carmen, the second/segunda wife, after this, I can’t wait to read the second and final book in this duology.
3.5 Cups of Coffee from me!
About the Author
TEHLOR KAY MEJIA is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, as well as its forthcoming sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm, and Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore). Her middle grade debut, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, releases from Rick Riordan Presents in 2020.
Her debut novel received six starred reviews, and was chosen as an Indie’s Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an Indiebound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It has been featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books of 2019 lists.
Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, a dog that matches her hair, and several rescued houseplants.