We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia feat. Erin Callahan

Love, lies, and revolution! All of that and more in this week’s featured title, We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia, with guest Erin Callahan. (Transcript)

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In today’s episode…

We Set the Dark on Fire provides a dark vision of the island world of Medio where a wall separates the prosperous inner region from the salted, barren earth of the outer island. Every young man of wealth and means negotiates for two wives – a Primera, who is to be his ambitious, intellectual equal, and a Segunda, who will be the lovely and beautiful opposite of everything he is. Daniela has trained as a Primera in Medio, and is set to marry an influential politician’s son. When a rebel organization discovers her biggest secret, she must agree to be a spy in her new household or lose everything she’s worked for. Can Dani keep her grip on the life she’s always wanted, or will the spiderweb of Medio claim another victim?



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Episode highlights…


*2:15 Catching up with Erin Callahan

*5:07 First impressions

*8:20 We found the themes of this book to be ‘horrifyingly relevant’.

Things We Like A Latte

Danielle – One Day at A Time on Netflix

Amanda – A Twitter thread started by Epic Reads, YA Books as John Mulaney quotes

Erin – The sci-fi/mystery podcast, Girl In Space


COMING UP NEXT WEEK: Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon PRE-ORDER  YOUR COPY TODAY!



*15:34 Dani and Carmen – we got what we wanted!

*17:28 We thought that Dani and Mateo’s relationship ‘transcended expectations’

*19:58 We all disagree about the ending, or lack thereof


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More ideas and resources for teachers and librarians…

While this book is fiction, and set in fictional world, it was clearly inspired by the current immigration debate happening in America right now. The unique thing about this book’s ‘fictional, but not fantasy world’ setting is that it will certainly spark debate among students, without being overtly political. Amanda says in the episode, “I think that it’s really useful for a lot of teachers and students who are looking for ways to humanize the situation of a wall.”

Danielle has a great blog post on Sharing Immigrant Voices in Secondary ELA  if you are looking for resources and recommendations on that topic, and if you are looking to empower your students who are interested in activism you definitely want to check out our episode on the YA non-fiction anthology How I Resist.

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Get in touch with us on Instagram and Twitter at @yacafepodcast or email us at yacafepodcast@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!




Hosts: Danielle Hall (who blogs at teachnouvelle.com)

          & Amanda Thrasher (a booklover extraordinaire)


Guests: Erin Callahan, YA author. Find her at erinpcallahan.com

Producer: Leila Hobbs

Music: Matt McCammon


Thank you to Katherine Tegan Books/HarperCollins for the ARC!


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