I’m so delighted that my first collaboration with Guadalupe García McCall is out today!
Secret of the Moon Conch is a memorable blend of timeless romance, rousing adventure, well researched historical fiction, and deeply felt social commentary.
In 1521, Aztec teen Calizto is trapped in his native city of Tenochtitlan while it’s under siege by the allied forces of Tlaxcallan and Spain. He’s lost all his family to smallpox and shares what little food he has with a formerly enslaved young African man who was left behind when the Spaniards fled a year ago and whom he’s sworn to protect. Desperate for a way out of an impossible situation, he takes up his mother’s sacred trumpet, a moon conch that should only be touched by a woman, and sounds a plea to the gods.
Five hundred years in the future, Sitlali is a Mexican girl from the town of Zongolica in the state of Veracruz. She has just lost her grandmother, her only living relative in Mexico, and is fending off the advances of a low-level drug-dealing teen. Yearning for a chance at happiness and connection, she sets off for the US, where her father has lived for many years. Before she leaves, she visits the beach with her friends and finds a conch shell washed ashore. When she picks it up, she and Calizto are connected mind-to-mind across the centuries.
At first they are just disembodied voices in each other’s heads, but as the moon grows larger in the night sky, they are able to gradually see each other and finally can touch when the moon is full. Each has knowledge and skills that can help the other survive, and as they struggle together against mounting adversity, they fall in love.
It’s an impossible relationship, they both understand, but they cling to each other despite the odds.
And not even five hundred years can keep them apart.