A Bronx native’s newest novel envisions the borough’s future through a science fiction lens.
West Bronx native Lilliam Rivera’s latest novel, ‘Dealing in Dreams,’ is a fast-paced dystopian novel depicting sisterhood and the cruel choices people are forced to make for survival.
Set in a futuristic Bronx now dubbed ‘Mega City,’ the novel chronicles the action-packed journey of 16-year-old Nalah, the leader of the city’s fiercest all-girl crew Las Mal Criadas.
Her leadership role brings with it violent throwdowns and access to the hottest ‘boydega’ clubs, but she quickly grows weary of her questionable lifestyle.
Nalah dreams to leave the streets and make her home in the exclusive Mega Towers, former NYCHA housing developments converted into luxury housing for the city’s chosen elite.
To make it to the Mega Towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in search of the mysterious gang known as the Ashé Riders.
Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah loses sight of everything and everyone she cares about.
She must then choose whether or not she’s willing to do the unspeakable to obtain what she desires.
The Simon & Schuster published novel explores themes of family, gender role reversal, personal growth and violence’s impact on youth and society.
Rivera’s novel was inspired by such classic novels as ‘The Outsiders’ by S. E. Hinton and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess, which explore youth and a subculture of extreme violence.
She added that A Clockwork Orange’s incorporation of creative slang and young people in the future inspired her while writing Dealing in Dreams.
Nalah and her crew embody the concept that family trancends blood relation.
Rivera also cited Bronx authors Nicholasa Mohr and Nikki Grimes as her literary muses.
“There are subtle hints throughout Dealing in Dreams that Bronxites can pick up on to envision where exactly the action is unfolding,” Rivera explained.
The award-winning writer and author grew up in the Twin Parks West Housing Development at East 183rd Street and Webster Avenue.
The Binghamton University alumna moved to Los Angeles 18 years ago, but still visits her hometown to see her parents.
Staying true to her roots, Rivera bases her novels’ characters and worldviews on her time residing in the borough.
Her first novel, ‘The Education of Margot Sanchez,’ published in 2017, is a coming-of-age romantic tale set to the backdrop of the south Bronx.
Rivera’s forthcoming novel, ‘Pheus & Eury,’ a young adult Bronx-based retelling of the classic Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, is scheduled for release in fall 2020.
Dealing in Dreams is available via Amazon, www.barne
Rivera will be attending the Science Fiction Festival on Saturday, May 18 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Queens Library, Corona.