Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the young adult novels Dealing in Dreams (March 2019) and The Education of Margot Sanchez (February 2018), available in bookstores everywhere. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Lenny Letter, Tin House, Nightmare Magazine, and Magazine for Fantasy & Science Fiction, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.

Find Liliam on her website or follow her on Twitter @lilliamr.


  • Standalone
    Never Look Back
    Lilliam Rivera
  • Standalone
    Dealing in Dreams
    Lilliam Rivera
  • Standalone
    The Education of Margot Sanchez
    Lilliam Rivera
  • Middle Grade
    Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit
    Lilliam Rivera



Never Look Back
“Defying expectation and categorization, NEVER LOOK BACK is a book not to be read with the mind but to be experienced with the soul. It is a revelation.”

BookPage, Starred Review

"This book seamlessly blends Caribbean and Greek myth into a contemporary teen novel, exploring realistic aspects of identity, stereotypes, trauma, and romance."

School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Rivera’s complex world is well realized, and the dialogue rings true.”


“[Rivera] showcases her masterful grasp of setting, integrating the complexities of the modern day with the gauzy haze of ancient myth through a slow, careful unveiling.”


"NEVER LOOK BACK sings its own love song to the world"


“Rivera knows the cathartic power of retelling mythology for a modern audience is the reclamation of agency, and so Never Look Back becomes a call to rise above the hopelessness of an unjust world. It’s a story imbued with the power to heal.”

City Pages

“An emotionally challenging journey filled with peril and truth-telling. The story is perfect for readers who love a powerful love story masterfully told in the heightened and timeless manner of the Greek gods.”

School Library Connection

"Readers won’t need to know the myth to find this an absorbing supernatural romance, and it may make the classically adept look at the familiar story with fresh eyes."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“A tantalizing and rich tale of love and death with musical prose and lyrical prowess. NEVER LOOK BACK hits all the right notes of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and blends them seamlessly together with modern-day culture and magical realism. Riviera takes on trauma, depression, and anxiety with tender care and Eury’s journey brings her firmly into the spotlight where she belongs. This book is everything I wanted to read in 2020.”

Sami Thomason, Square Books

“In this fresh remix, Lilliam Rivera deftly combines original details with contemporary Afro-Latinx life in the Bronx: from the flirty bounce of bachata to the weight of Hurricane Maria and its impact on island communities and diaspora. I love how this character-driven romance humanizes Pheus and Eury—they are accessible, complex teens distinctly of our time who face an ancient and destructive threat with equal parts assuredness and fearful trepidation. A satisfyingly feminist ending rounds out this myth retextured for our modern moment. Immersive and intense, Never Look Back will make you want Lilliam Rivera to retell all of your favorite classics.”

Niki Marion, Third Place Books

“Haunting and richly detailed, this is a beautiful re-imagining that will hurt and heal, sometimes on the same page.”

Mark Oshiro, Hugo-nominated author of Anger is a Gift

"[Rivera] masterfully intertwines ancient and modern lore, leaving readers gasping for breath by the authentic but satisfying conclusion."

Shelf Awareness

Dealing in Dreams
“The characters are allowed to fully embody the violent ideals of Mega City without artificial moralizing—the blurred line between hero and villain verges on nonexistent. Instead, readers are left with a more ambiguous—and ambitious—tale that will have them questioning what kinds of people they’d be if freed from society’s mores.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“Rivera posits whether a society can really thrive when any one group dominates another, especially through violence and deception. A novel exploration of societal roles, gender, and equality through the eyes of a captivating lead. Recommended for all young adult collections.”

School Library Journal, Starred Review

“Rivera showcases multiple intricate character arcs and details several societies through impressive worldbuilding; young readers drawn to complex action novels that challenge conventions will find this read rewarding.”

Publishers Weekly

“DEALING IN DREAMS is a ferocious young adult novel about the violence done to us and the violence we do to others. It takes the all-too-real premise of a fascist leader donning the guise of democracy while presiding over a population too scared to leave but too angry to stay, then stitches it onto a story of an adolescence torn between painful truths and willful ignorance.”

“As brutal as it is beautiful, DEALING IN DREAMS pulls no punches, launching us on a wild, relentless ride through the cutthroat streets of this brilliantly-realized dystopian world, where hard choices can tear even the closest allies apart and danger lurks around every corner.”

Daniel José Older, author of the New York Times bestselling series, Shadowshaper Cypher

“DEALING IN DREAMS is yet another smart, rich, fulfilling read from Lilliam Rivera, who has, through her last two books, solidified herself as one of today’s boldest YA writers.”

Shea Serrano, #1 New York Times bestselling author of BASKETBALL (AND OTHER THINGS) and THE RAP YEAR BOOK

“In Dealing in Dreams, girls run the crews, boys soothe at boydegas, and anything can happen at any time. Lilliam Rivera’s novel about struggle, courage and family crackles with energy and fresh imagination, with characters you’re rooting for so much that you can’t stop reading.”

Tananarive Due, American Book Award winner

The Education of Margot Sanchez
“While issues such as gentrification, family dysfunction and sexism frame the novel, there is plenty of room for Rivera’s honest and heartwarming portrayal of Margot, a girl who makes mistakes, seeks forgiveness and creates herself anew.”

The New York Times

“Debut novelist Rivera doesn’t sugarcoat Margot’s conflicted life … Margot makes mistakes, misplaces her trust, and gradually reestablishes who she is in an emotional story about class, race, hard work, and finding one’s place.”

Publishers Weekly

“A debut of great candor, depth, and empathy.”


“Lilliam Rivera did a wonderful job creating a cohesive debut novel. She incorporated romance but left it at appreciable levels. Her book spoke volumes about the importance of being true to yourself instead of trying to be like others around you.”

Teen Reads

“The vibrant storytelling is filled with amusing, lyrical language and authentic dialogue representing the South Bronx. The supporting cast is also distinctive, genuine and well-defined. Margot’s lofty attitude and personal angst are expertly done and will hook readers from the first page. A delightful read.”

RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars!

“Introducing Lilliam Rivera, one of the most unique and exciting new voices in YA. THE EDUCATION OF MARGO SANCHEZ is funny, poignant, compelling and authentic. She nails the music and conflict of an evolving Bronx, New York. I adore this novel.”

Matt de la Peña, author of Newbery Medal-winner Last Stop on Market Street

“THE EDUCATION OF MARGO SANCHEZ shatters the myth of assimilation by exposing the loss and ache that comes with it. Instead, Lilliam Rivera tells the reader that there is nothing more powerful and beautiful than staying true to oneself.”

Isabel Quintero, author of Gabi: A Girl in Pieces

“In the hands of debut novelist Lilliam Rivera, Margot’s choices — which friends? which boy? which future? — take on a tense urgency. Lively and telling, smart and compelling, Margot Sanchez is a character to take to your heart and Rivera a voice to remember.”

Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

“With a passionate voice, Lilliam Rivera weaves a layered, complex story of a girl awakening to herself and her family.”

Cecil Castellucci, author of Tin Star

“THE EDUCATION OF MARGO SANCHEZ feels as classic as Judy Blume and, at the same time, entirely new. It’s a rich, page-turning tale about a teenage girl stuck between a rock and the growing-up place.”

Veronica Chambers, author of Mama’s Girl and The Go-Between

Middle Grade

Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit
"Goldie's endless optimism and belief in herself inspire while creating amusing moments in this satisfying gumshoe mystery. Comic book inserts by animator Power further enliven action-packed segments."

Publishers Weekly

"[S]he [Rivera] shows herself to be skilled at combining noir language conventions with contemporary sensibilities in a way that doesn't feel anachronistic but is just a gas! [...] This biracial, LGBTQ protagonist seamlessly shifts from comics to prose in a winner of a series opener."


“Readers will love Goldie, an ambitious female lead who challenges gender roles, is gay, and is not to be underestimated [...] A great purchase for middle grade collections, especially those whose readers are looking for their next boisterous supersleuth.”

School Library Journal

“Goldie is appealing as a headstrong, confident, absurdly good-natured narrator who worms her way into the heart of the surprisingly normal star Lucerne [...] Rivera unravels the mystery in an enjoyable romp with a large cast of quirky, lovable characters.”