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Jess, Witchford Wonders Carnegie

Saint Death

‘Saint Death’ is about a boy named Arturo who lives in a slum city on the Mexican/ US border. Arturo lives in a world full of gang violence, gunfire and drug cartels. Although still a teenager he has learnt to survive on his own, until Faustimo, his old friend, arrives after months of absence. Faustimo tells Arturo that he is working as a lookout for one of the gangs in the slum cities, who work for a drug cartel. Faustimo was given some money to look after, and stole one thousand dollars from it to pay for his girlfriend and their baby to cross the border into America. He must find the money and put it back with the money he is looking after before the next night, or he will be killed by the Gang leader, El Carnero. Faustimo asks Arturo to play the local card game, Calavera, and win the money to save Faustimo’s life. Arturo agrees, and goes with Faustimo to play Calavera. As he does this, he unknowingly sets off on a journey that will put his life in danger, and lead him to a new belief: a belief in Santa Muerte, the deity Saint Death.

I thought this book was brilliant! I enjoyed the use of slang, Spanish words and Spanish punctuation because it made the setting come to life more, and it gave the reader an insight into the society the characters live in: one with a lack of law, and lots of violence. Also, it really opened my eyes to how awful life is when you’re living in poverty. The folklore side of the story made it even more interesting, as it helped set the scene, and built up the characters of Arturo and Faustimo. However, I did not like the way that the story encourages gambling, which is what got Arturo into trouble in the first place!

The main genre of the story is a thriller. It would be a great read for people who like action-packed books, but I think it would only be suitable for those aged twelve and above because of the violence and references to drugs and gambling, both of which are sensitive topics to younger children. The main themes running through the story are folklore, poverty and crime.

Posted on: 2nd May 2018 at 08:23 pm

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