4 out of 4 stars
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Tujunga by Carlos Alvarado follows two tales of love filled with loss, passion, pain and desire that intertwine with one another despite being decades apart. After the mysterious death of Xochi, her fiance Robert begins to suspect that this tragedy is far more sinister than it first appears and he wanders what about Xochi’s research could have led to her murder. Through a series of seamless flashbacks, the reality of Xochi’s research comes to light as she had begun to question the US government and the possibility of a cover-up unlike any other.
Decades earlier we find Courtney Mckillon, a young man whose path is both paved in toils and love. Caught between a secret space mission and the love of his wife Claudia, a secret is born - one that many wish to keep, but at what cost? With characters described in-depth and with realness, it is impossible to stop turning the pages of this book in the hopes of discovering the fates of these enigmatic, yet uncanny, characters.
The originality of this story is its greatest asset. The concept that Alvarado has created is unlike anything I have ever read and this meant that the book was very hard to put down. Furthermore, one feels as though they are on the path to discovery along with the characters: broken by their heartbreak; entranced by their passions; and enthralled by their journey. Alvarado’s detailed descriptions of each character’s raw emotions, desires and anguish enable the reader to immerse themself in the unfolding story. As a result, this book is one that I can reflect upon and appreciate - as not only a beautifully captivating story - but as a study of human nature.
One might find the beginning of the book slightly muddled by the various timelines and I found myself questioning their relevance. Fortunately, as the book progresses the various stories become clearer and more compelling. However, the book’s best asset again succeeds as curiosity was victorious over initial confusion. The book is very well edited and planned to form an intricate story with many fascinating and surprising events.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars due to its excellent plot, beautifully crafted characters and clever narration. I would recommend this book to YA readers and those interested in a blend of romance, sci-fi and mystery. There are a few cases of profanity and erotic scenes but these are mild in both cases and are clearly devices to enrich the characters and act as emotive triggers for the reader.
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