Secrets of the Casa Rosada

Secrets of the Casa Rosada was published by Arte Publico Press on October 31, 2018, and later published in audiobook form by Blackstone Publishing on June 25, 2019.

Awards and Recognition:

  • MG/YA Discovery Prize Winner of the Writers League of Texas Book Awards 2018

  • 2019 NACCS Tejas Foco Young Adult Award

  • Kirkus’ Best YA Books of 2018 That Explore Family and Self

  • Starred Kirkus Review

  • Texas Library Association’s TAYSHAS nomination

TV interview with Tobin McDuff on KFDX about my novel and writing career.


Sixteen-year-old Martha and her mother move constantly, never staying anywhere for long. So she knows better than to ask if they've been evicted again when her mom says they re going on a "vacation" to meet the grandmother Martha didn't know existed. 

Laredo, Texas, is like no other city she has seen. Driving past businesses with Spanish names and colorfully painted houses with burnt lawns, Martha can't imagine her mother living somewhere so ... Mexican. At her grandmother's pink house, she's shocked and hurt when her mom abandons her, even though a part of her had been expecting it.

Suddenly Martha must deal with a way of life that is completely foreign. Her grandmother doesn't speak English, so communication is difficult, and she's not the typical, sweet grandma who dotes on her grandchildren. Even weirder' it turns out that her grandmother is revered as a healer, or curandera. And there are tons of cousins, aunts and uncles all ready to embrace her!

At her new school, Martha can't be anonymous like before because everyone knows she's Doña González's granddaughter. Meanwhile, a girl who has it out for her makes things unpleasant. As Martha struggles to adjust to her new life, she can't help but wonder why her mother left Laredo. No one is willing to discuss it, so she'll have to unravel the secrets herself.

Temblador depicts Martha as a frustrated teenager who loves and respects the people around her while finding a newfound feeling of purpose and belonging when she assimilates into her community as her highly respected grandmother’s apprentice. This book is accessible to readers who don’t speak Spanish, since Martha also can’t speak any at the beginning of the story. It also addresses the hard reality that nobody is perfect, even our guardians, and the slightly ambiguous conclusion is tantalizingly open to interpretation.”
— Booklist Review
The book is evocative with a strong sense of place. From the first page, Laredo, Texas, is described in beautiful sensory detail. The culture of its primarily Mexican community is brought to life as Martha explores her new environment. [It] is a fascinating story with a strong protagonist and a glimpse at some unique aspects of traditional Mexican culture.
— Foreword Reviews
Debut novelist Temblador has created an unforgettable character in Martha, a girl whose gifts are greater than she could have imagined, in part because they belong to a world she never could have imagined. The novel introduces young readers to a Mexican community that maintains its roots in its Indigenous bloodlines. A suspenseful and fascinating glimpse into a Mexican-American world.
— Starred Kirkus Review