The Wanderings of Chela Coatlicue: Touring Califaztlan
by Ananda Esteva
Transgress Press

"If you’re going to be honorable to your word like you say then don’t spew out those hating side comments even to prove a point..."

Like many young people, Chela at twenty-one is caught between personal interpretations and the classical heritage of her family. This conflict gets her expelled from the music conservatory in Mexico and causes misunderstanding from her own band members. When an online newspaper advertises a bass guitar for sale, the 'Perfumed Lady' eerily calls to her. Her uncle claims that at some deep level she recognizes the bass gifted years ago to Chela’s grandmother by her lover Sugar Rivera, a blues artist. Seeing the ad brings back buried dreams—how Chela hoped to be a famous musician like Rivera by now and how she disappointed her dying grandmother. Logistics is a major problem in reclaiming her heritage: the sale is for pickup in California only while Chela and the band are currently in Mexico. Getting visas for all and a gig ready in time to meet the sale deadline are huge roadblocks―besides those actually waiting on the road to the Mexico/USA border.

This young adult novel is the first in a trilogy and is written in the thought-provoking Choose Your Own Adventure format. The reader makes decisions for Chela and band members Pato and Fedi by selecting which of the 44 chapters to read next. These decisions can help Chela and the guys reach California. Among the available paths, as Chela reconciles her dreams with reality, the reader may also discover why he believes what he does. In addition, one can learn to accept disappointment when poor choices result in serious consequences including bullets, jail, and swindlers.The author delights her multicultural readers by introducing magical elements such as the legend of Coatlicue impregnated by hummingbird feathers. This story stands toe-to-toe with issues about respecting gay rights and overcoming near-international incidents.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home