Margo Catts * Arcade Publishing * May 9, 2017 * 336 Pages
Elena Alvarez is restless and unhappy, desperate to get out of the latest tricky situation she’s created for herself. Graduation is days away, but she knows she doesn’t want to continue living with her abusive deadbeat boyfriend–especially after finding out she’s pregnant with his baby. When her grandmother writes and asks Elena to consider coming home to Colorado to look after two kids whose mother just died, Elena decides it’s a sign from the universe. She heads home fully intending to bunker down temporarily and figure out her next steps.
But of course going home is never so easy as that. Not only does Elena begin uncovering dramatic family secrets, but she also finds herself becoming more and more attached to the kids she’s caring for. It seems the more time she spends at home, the more confused Elena becomes about who she is, who she was, and, most importantly, what kind of future she deserves.
Oh. Dear. Lord. I loved, LOVED, Among the Lesser Gods. It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year. The writing is absolutely wonderful. The story is so perfectly balanced with just the right amount of emotion, suspense, insight, and resolution. In all honestly, it did take me some extra time to connect with Elena at first. It wasn’t until she arrived in Colorado that I really started to feel for her. But once I reached that point, I was all in with this book. I loved where the story ended up and how it got there–and I so appreciated not being able to predict any (well, most) of it.
What I enjoyed most, though, is the overarching theme of acceptance and redemption. Elena has a troubled past and suffers from a lot of guilt over things she did as a child. But over the course of the story, she learns to see herself in a new light, to see that tragedy and fortune are a package deal. Not only do good and bad exist together, but it’s also often difficult to tell them apart, especially over time. As Elena learns, even devastating circumstances can lead to happiness and healing eventually.
My hands hung limp at my sides. I’d never, never, never, never, never thought of any of those things. I couldn’t think of them now. There was no mental structure in place for them to connect to. The idea that I could be allowed to imagine anything good growing in the scorched path behind me was still too new.
This book is so, so good. I was absolutely shocked when I saw this was author Margo Catts’s first novel. Wow. Keep ’em coming, Catts. I am now your faithful follower.