Two sisters become trapped in the underworld--and in the machinations of deities, shapeshifters, and ghouls--in this lush and dangerous Phoenician mythology-inspired fantasy.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year
Teenage sisters Samira and Rima aren't exactly living the dream. Instead, they live with their maddeningly unreliable mother in a rundown trailer in Michigan. Dad's dead, money's tight, and Mom disappears for days at a time. So when Sam's grandfather wills her the family valuables--a cache of Lebanese antiquities--she's desperate enough to try pawning them before Mom can.
But she shouldn't. Because one is cursed, forbidden, the burial coin of a forgotten god. Disturbing it condemns her and Rima to the Phoenician underworld, a place of wicked cities, burning cedar forests, poisoned feasts of milk and lemons, and an endless, windless ocean.
Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they say. And down here, the night never ends.
To get home--and keep her sister safe--Sam will have to outwit beautiful shapeshifters, pose as a royal bride, sail the darkest sea... and maybe kill the god of death himself.
A Shelf Awareness Galley Love of the Week Selection
About the Author
Cristin Bishara is a writer of young adult fiction. She has worked as a copyeditor and taught writing at the university level. Cristin lives in Florida with her family and dog.
★ "A heroic tale that feels both classic and fresh."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "A breathtaking story celebrating familial bonds. Ancestral tales overlace events and provide a satisfyingly rich tapestry of heritage. Sam and Rima are both strong female leads. . . . Bishara imbues the novel with humor. . . . [A] stunning, vivid YA fantasy."—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
"Bishara’s narrative blends Lebanese history and Phoenician mythology to reflect the complications of familial love and the boundaries of life, death, fate, and choice. Through intricate world-building and storytelling, she brings forth a tale from an underexplored mythical foundation. . . ."—The Horn Book
"Perfect for the adventure-seeker who wants to fall into another world—literally. Vial of Tears holds the beautiful complications of family close to its heart, all while telling a sweeping story filled with gods and monsters."—Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
"The setting with the Phoenician pantheon is complex and will likely be a draw for readers interested in mythology, while the fantasy element is effectively balanced with the realism of the sisters’ difficult life circumstances."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books