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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The Wanderings of Chela Coatlicue: Touring Califaztlan by Ananda Esteva is the first book in the author's new young adult adventure series. It follows Chela Coatlicue and her band as they hit the road and cross the Mexican-American border to reclaim a bass guitar that had belonged to Chela's grandmother, gifted to her by the musical legend Sugar Rivera. In a format that offers multiple story lines, depending on the choices made at the end of the scene by its reader, Chela's adventures and ultimately her fate are left in the hands of strangers who become Chela herself in an interactive experience reminiscent of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books of yesteryear.
"Pato is looking pale. Driving five days with “eau de vomit” does not sound appealing. If you choose Fedi’s route via Morelia to El Mago’s guitars, turn to page 24. If you choose to piss off Fedi, but to avoid vomit, take the low road, turn to page 28." This is the first of many choices offered in The Wanderings of Chela Coatlicue by Ananda Esteva. I genuinely enjoyed this book, and it was made even more entertaining with input from my teen daughter and we played Chela together. The dialogue and experiences are really well cultivated and feel authentic. Chela is audacious and wildly fun, and her supporting cast is equally easy to rally behind. The writing is tight and the descriptive elements and transformative subplots - which the reader is in charge of resolving - are extremely well done. This was an easy five stars. I look forward to seeing where we're off to next.