The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera: A Reed Reads! Book Rec

The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

Where to find this book at Reed Memorial Library:

  • Juvenile Fiction
  • Call number: J FIC Higuera
  • View it on our catalog

This one goes out especially to our young readers: Sarah from Public Services recommends The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera, a newly released middle grade novel. Keep reading to learn more about this book.

In her own words, Sarah tells us what The Last Cuentista is about:

“In this book, a select group of scientists, politicians, and farmers are fleeing earth as a comet is set to destroy the planet. Petra and her family are one of the few chosen to board one of the three ships, and will awaken after hundreds of years on a planet that is similar to earth. However, in doing so Petra leaves behind her beloved grandmother along with all she’s ever known, and self-appoints herself as the carrier of her grandmother’s stories. As the ship travels to its destination, a group rises among the Monitors who were supposed to watch over those in the sleeping pods, and a collective arises that is determined to create a community where everyone and thing is the same all in the name of eliminating war, poverty, and famine. Upon awakening, Petra realizes she is the only one who remembers earth and all its stories.”

To give you a feel for the atmosphere of this book, Sarah says, “This book reminded me of a Star Trek gone wrong scenario where instead of evolving and going out to explore space, those on the ship are set to conquer a Goldilocks planet and do not care how much destruction they cause.”

Why does Sarah like this book so much? She comments, “This book was very engrossing. I ended up reading it all in one afternoon, and during those hours of reading I found myself laughing and crying as Petra fought for what makes us human–the love that is passed down from generations through the stories we tell one another.”

She’s not the only person who feels strongly about this book. The Last Cuentista received the 2022 John Newberry Award, a very prestigious award. Past Newberry winners include titles such as Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (1984), The Giver by Lois Lowry (1994), and Holes by Louis Sachar (1999), to name a few. The John Newberry Awards began in 1922 and announce a winner in children’s literature every year. If you’d like to learn more about the Newberry Awards, click here.

Thanks for the recommendation, Sarah!

For other middle grade book recommendations, check out our list of Top 50 Books for Young Readers Ages 10-12!

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