Katya de Becerra

United States
7 January 2020


Katya de Becerra

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archeological dig site in the desert with four close friends…and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.   

Their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed…until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, and shade-and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.     

The answers turn Alif and her friends against each other, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave.   

This YA mystery/thriller crosses genres-survival adventure, horror, and romance-with twists worthy of JJ Abrams.


Set on an archaeological dig in the desert near Dubai, the second novel from Katya de Becerra is a supernatural thriller that will have you guessing right up until the very last page.

Alife has travelled from Melbourne with four friends to work on her father’s archaeological dig. But they have only just settled in to their tents in the desert when a fierce sandstorm hits and the teenagers, along with her father’s young research assistant, are blown into the barren desert, utterly and completely lost. When the group discovers an oasis with fresh fruit and running water, it seems almost too good to be true. And perhaps it is. Strange things start happening and it becomes difficult to determine what is real and what is an for illusion. Will they ever be rescued or will they be stuck in the oasis forever?

This novel constantly surprises you in its elusive desert setting and has strong pacing that keeps you on the edge the entire time. The friendship and changing loyalties under pressure between the teens are incredibly believable. This is a fantastic supernatural thriller set in an exotic locale that will not disappoint. Suitable for readers aged 12 +.

Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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