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Dealing in Dreams
Contributor(s): Rivera, Lilliam

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ISBN: 1481472143     ISBN-13: 9781481472142
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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Binding Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2019
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Annotation: "Sixteen year old Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City, but when she sets her sights on giving this life up for a prestigious home in Mega Towers, she must decide if she's willing to do the unspeakable to get what she wants"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Science fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2017061248
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 10-12, Age 15-18
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.50" W x 1.25" (0.90 lbs) 325 pages
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2019 Fall)
Nalah, a.k.a. Chief Rocka, is the leader of the all-girl gang Las Mal Criadas, which owns the streets of Mega City. Worn out from fighting, she dreams of a different path. Rivera weaves a story of self-discovery, blood relations and chosen families, substance addiction, and race into her sci-fi tale, including details from Afro and Indigenous Caribbean culture and history. A dystopian mixtape of boldness, sisterhood, and questioning the status quo. Copyright 2019 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2019 #2)
Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) presents an action-filled dystopian novel about loyalty, power, and losing and finding oneself. Nalah, a.k.a. Chief Rocka, is the leader of the all-girl gang Las Mal Criadas, which owns the streets of Mega City. Worn out from a life of gang fights, nights at "boydega" clubs, and trading sueños (an addictive manufactured tab), she dreams of the chance for a different path. This includes living in Mega Towers, an exclusive and luxurious address for a chosen few, most notably Déesse, leader of Mega City. In order to earn her way up to Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to Déesse by looking into the mysterious and threatening Ashé Ryders gang. She takes off on a "hellish journey" to find answers, along the way questioning her life and everything she thinks she knows about Mega City. Rivera weaves a story of self-discovery, blood relations and chosen families, substance addiction, and race into her sci-fi tale, including details from Afro and Indigenous Caribbean culture and history, showing resistance and survival—and blasting it to the future. A dystopian mixtape of boldness, sisterhood, and questioning the status quo, channeling the ethos of the novel and film The Warriors and the comic mini-series Curb Stomp, this book leaves readers wanting more of Nalah and Las Mal Criadas. sujei lugo March/April 2019 p 89 Copyright 2019 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2019 January #3)

In this dystopian novel by Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez), 16-year-old Chief Rocka leads her five-girl crew Las Mal Criadas, one of the violent all-female guardian gangs that keep order in Mega City, a metropolis still recovering from an earthquake that occurred generations ago. Rocka's mother died when she was young, and her father and sister disappeared soon after, so the LMC is her only family. After losing a public match at the request of Déesse, Mega City's leader, Rocka is asked to lead the LMC outside of the city into Cemi Territory to infiltrate the Ashé Ryders, a group that may pose a threat to Déesse's society. The discoveries that Rocka and her crew make there will challenge their notions of how cultures should be organized. Rivera's women-led metropolis may seem just at first, but later chapters reveal the society's subjugation of men and strictly binary view of sexual identity, along with its citizens' state-sponsored drug reliance. Rivera showcases multiple intricate character arcs and details several societies through impressive worldbuilding; young readers drawn to complex action novels that challenge conventions will find this read rewarding. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2019 January)

Gr 7 Up–Nalah, "Chief Rocka," heads a battle-ready crew of teenage girls known as Las Mal Criadas, brawling with other gangs to prove their dominance, patrolling the streets of Mega City, and enforcing the curfew established by Déesse, the city's ruler. Déesse's female dominated society is strictly stratified; young men are relegated to dancing in "boydegas" as entertainment for the girl crews, while most residents are "toilers," producing food pellets and "sueños" tablets, doled out to keep the populace compliant and on the precipice of addiction. Nalah is determined to leave the streets behind and join Déesse's inner circle, which means moving into a high-rise tower with Mega City's elite, who indulge in nightly parties and luxurious furnishings. When Déesse recruits Las Mal Criadas to scope out an infiltrating group outside of Mega City, the protagonist imagines their opportunity has finally arrived, but dangers and surprises abound beyond the city walls, testing Nalah's trust in her crew and their confidence in her. There is plenty of gritty action to propel readers through the plot, but it is Chief Rocka's internal struggles and vulnerabilities that are the most compelling and memorable. Rivera effectively presents the complexity of female relationships, which will resonate strongly with readers. Most notably, Rivera posits whether a society can really thrive when any one group dominates another, especially through violence and deception. VERDICT A novel exploration of societal roles, gender, and equality through the eyes of captivating lead. Recommended for all young adult collections.—Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.
 
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