Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

A Snake Falls to Earth Cover Art

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
Levine Querido
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
ISBN: 978-1646140923

Nina is a Lipan Apache teen in the very near future.  Ever since her great-great-grandmother told an untranslatable Lipan story on her deathbed, Nina has been searching for answers.  Oli is a cottonmouth person in the Reflecting World.  Ever since his mother sent him away (as all cottonmouth mothers eventually do), Oli has been trying to make a new home for himself.  As Nina learns more about the connection between her family and their land, Oli’s best friend falls dangerously ill.  Now the cottonmouth boy ventures to Earth to seek the help of a human girl, and together they must turn the tides of change to protect those they love.

Indigenous characters and authors are still underrepresented in YA lit, and Darcie Little Badger’s new novel is both authentic and original.  Strong, subtle worldbuilding allows readers to immerse themselves in Nina’s near future world of increased climate change and advanced social media technology and in Oli’s magical world of spirits, monsters, and old stories come to life.  Nina is asexual and another character uses they/them pronouns, and these aspects of identity are presented in a manner that normalizes them rather than calling attention to them.  Diverse representation aside, young readers will love the blend of Indigenous mythology and real-world issues (particularly climate change), and they will connect with the universal longing for home and family.  

Give to readers of other Indigenous fantasy, like Little Badger’s debut book Elatsoe, David A. Robertson’s Misewa Saga, and The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline.  A Snake Falls to Earth will also appeal to readers of alternate reality stories that highlight marginalized identities:  Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, A Song Below Water and A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow, Akata Witch and Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor, and the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire.    

Kali Olson

Other Nominated Titles

  • The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros (October 5, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.