“We Set the Dark on Fire burns bright. It will light the way for a new generation of rebels and lovers.” —NPR
“Mejia pens a compelling, gripping story that mirrors real world issues of immigration and equality.” —Buzzfeed
Five starred reviews!!
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
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. Both paths promise 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 pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, 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 will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
In this debut starring Latina teens, Mejia spins a complicated tale of love, intrigue, moral compromise, and action, with a prescient sensibility that echoes current headlines and political issues. In an island nation divided by a wall, where tradition dictates that upper-class women marry out of duty and that every man has two wives, two school rivals are matched with the ambitious scion of a political family. Danielle Vargas, 17, has trained for years to be the perfect Primera, the ideal intellectual partner for her husband-to-be, while her friend-turned-foe, Carmen Santos, was born to be a Segunda, the passionate nurturer of the family. But the husband they must share, Mateo Garcia, is cold, domineering, secretive, and utterly uninterested in Danielle's desire to help. When a revolutionary group uncovers her greatest secret she's from the impoverished side of the walled country and holds forged identity papers they blackmail her into spying on the Garcia family. Even as Danielle becomes further embroiled in conspiracy and subversion, she and Carmen forge an unexpected and intense relationship. The first in a duology, this fierce, feminist novel throws memorable characters into a provocative set of circumstances, and the constant twists will leave readers yearning for the conclusion. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I’ve read this in paper back and it has stuck with me ever since. The world is beautifully created and described and the character development is insanely good. It’s no 1984 obviously, but it has its own charm in a unique way. Overall I give it a 4.6/5
Felt like reading a fantasy movie.
Had a lot of fun with this book, though it was hard to get into at first. Read like a spy novel, reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games.
I wanted to like it...
I love the premise of this story, but it did not deliver. The main character is whiny and annoying. The writing is solid, but the plot is secondary to the emotional angst. It was a struggle to finish reading.