In the near-future, vast maguey fields span what’s left of the bone-dry Southwest landscape of Samantha Mabry's All the Wind in the World. Two teens must work themselves to the bone in order to survive, and they con their way through ranches while hoping to save enough money to finally live someplace where they no longer need to keep their love a secret.
Sarah Jac and James have been hopping railcars across the thirsty remnants of the United States for years now, working as maguey-harvesting jimadors and hiding their love by pretending to be cousins. They’ve learned, in the harshest of ways, that any emotional weakness can become someone else’s weapon. So they’ve adopted the mantra of “hard hearts”—all the while preying upon the naivety of their fellow ranch hands in order to avoid being taken advantage of themselves.
But after Sarah Jac accidentally causes the death of an overseer at a ranch in New Mexico, the young couple is forced to escape to The Real Marvelous, a Texas ranch long rumored to be cursed. What they find there, and who they meet, will test the depths of their sanity, their suffering, their trust and, ultimately, their love.
Mabry’s debut novel, A Fierce and Subtle Poison, was named one of the Best YA Books of 2016 by Paste Magazine. And in All the Wind in the World, she continues to craft mesmerizing characters. Most impressive is the way Mabry portrays Sarah Jac and James’ love—subtle, raw, honest, untrivialized—especially considering the direness of their circumstances throughout this modern, post-apocalyptic Western that's filtered through the haze of magical realism.
Justin Barisich is a freelancer, satirist, poet and performer living in Atlanta. More of his writing can be found at littlewritingman.com.