Luis Alberto Urrea

Little, Brown & Co., $25.99, 491 pages

Queen of America is not about a queen. It’s about a saint. At least, that is how people refer to Teresita Urrea: the Saint of Cabora. Teresita is a young woman like any other, wanting friends, family, and love. But she is also a young woman unlike any other, healing the sick with a touch of her hands, kind words, and herbs. She is a figure of controversy, driven with her father from their Mexican home, pursued equally vehemently by crazed followers starting revolts in her name and hired guns sent to kill her. Her journey across the United States is one of humor and heartache, love and loss, a saga of magical realism as she searches for a life of her own.

Author, Luis Alberto Urrea’s writing is lyrical, with a cadence that lulls you into the tale. Queen of America is the type of book you want to take your time with, making sure to savor the nuance and detail. Teresita is a contradiction, naïve and wise, and her personal odyssey is as vivid and as complex as she is. This is a rich, full story, beautifully told.

Leah Sims