Book Buzz Episode 20 – The Last Cuentista & The Twisted Ones

Listen to the Episode

Air date: Oct. 22, 2023

Check Out The Books

The Last Cuentista

The Twisted Ones

Read the Transcript


Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.

Today's reading recommendations are atmospheric audiobooks that will sweep you away.

First, we’re going to hear from Paige, a library associate at the Edmonds Library, who will take us to another planet. Over to you, Paige.


If you’re looking for an audiobook that will transport you to outer space in a future not too far removed from ours, look no further than at “The Last Cuentista” by Pura Belpre and Newberry Award-winner Donna Barba Higuera.

The Earth is doomed to be destroyed by a comet and few scientists and their families are selected to create a new home world. Petra Peña and her family are one of a few that are selected to fly, frozen in time to a new pseudo-Earth named Sagan, and the journey will take 375 years. However, the technology meant to keep her asleep malfunctions, allowing her to hear snippets of her journey through the years. However, the powers in charge may not always try to protect those original passengers and their families.

This is a dystopian tale that brings a glimmer of hope and insight into the power within.
Our main character is only 12, but she is wise beyond her years.

“The Last Cuentista” is for those that are looking for a more classic sci-fi story for middle school readers and up. I recommend listening to the audiobook because of how amazing the narrator is. You can get lost in the cuentos throughout the story and truly feel like you are on the journey aboard the spaceship with Petra.


Thanks, Paige! You don’t have to be in middle school to enjoy this dystopian tale.

Next, let’s get scared with Rhianna, library associate at the Langley Library. Go ahead, Rhianna.


If you’re a fan of the “Old Gods of Appalachia” podcast or the narrative style of “The Babadook,” this one is definitely for you. “The Twisted Ones” by T. Kingfisher is one of the most unique takes on folk horror I’ve read.

Melissa, better known as Mouse, finds an old journal left behind by her grandfather. Most would dismiss the notes inside as the rantings and ravings of a depraved mind, but Melissa knows better. This sets her on a twisted path with her faithful companions Bongo the dog and a feisty aging hippie named Foxy.

Animal lovers fear not! Bongo the dog makes it through the book.

I highly recommend the audiobook as Hilary Hubert’s voice perfectly nails Mouse’s dry wit and sarcasm while also adding the right amount of tension.

The storytelling is grippingly fast-paced, with a very “show, don’t tell” style of writing that takes root in the darkest places of your imagination. The book’s sardonic narrator feels like a friend with a dark sense of humor.

“The Twisted Ones” is a great way to usher in spooky season. With the perfect combination of tricks and treats, the author never relies on cheap thrills or gross-out horror.

Seasoned horror lovers like myself and those new or curious about the genre will appreciate getting chilled to the bone.


Thanks, Rhianna! I'm also loving T.Kingfisher! Last of Us fans should try 'What Moves The Dead'—another novella from Kingfisher.

Our recommendations this week are: “The Last Cuentista” by Donna Barba Higuera, and “The Twisted Ones” by T. Kingfisher.

Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.

Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.

Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.

Hear More From Book Buzz

Join us each Sunday as Sno-Isle Libraries staff discuss the latest buzz-worthy titles on our weekly radio program, Book Buzz.

Listen to the latest episodes.