L.A. is parched, dry as a bone, and all Oscar, the weather-obsessed patriarch of the Alvarado family, desperately wants is a little rain. He's harboring a costly secret that distracts him from everything else. His wife, Keila, desperate for a life with a little more intimacy, feels she has no choice but to end their marriage. Their three daughters are blindsided and left questioning everything they know. Each will have to take a critical look at her own relationships and make some tough decisions along the way.
[A] lovely, compelling and occasionally brutal novel ... The novel is defined by time, however: Escandón chronicles events from January through December of 2016. Her story is a feat of both plot and character. Each member of the extended Alvarado clan is intriguing and flawed but deserving of empathy; even when they make questionable decisions, they are both convincing and entertaining ... This is a story of people, place and connection. Absorbing, moving, comic and tragic, L.A. Weather will capture readers and never let them go.
Escandón treats her readers to the Alvarados’ fabulous life, which is full of gourmet food, fashion, travel, and the trappings of bourgeois success ... Escandón continually emphasizes how family is everything to the Alvarados—a source of strength, power, consolation, and, yes, solace during this period where their hearts are breaking and the earth itself is in flames. In Escandón’s tale, Los Angeles’s wildfires, strange orange skies, and ashen air are a constant backdrop, and these corrosions express the ordeals endured by the clan ... The most interesting part of L.A. Weather is Escandón’s use of melodrama to engage our slide into the abyss ... Given L.A. Weather’s focus on the nearly obsessive consumerism of one wealthy Latinx family, some of the most devastating aspects of climate change are not addressed with specificity. The novel does not much look at the unequal racial effects of global warming, which causes low-income people of color to struggle with acute respiratory problems and is feared to deepen racial and class inequalities surrounding housing and food. L.A. Weather, instead, creates a kind of climate melodrama-morality tale within the atmosphere of a Latinx Melrose Place or Falcon Crest. This is not necessarily the worst strategy for a literature that seeks to awaken its readers to our current troubles ... Perhaps some readers feel better processing that information when it is conveyed on the wings of Escandón’s family opera rather than in the dry prose of the IPCC report, or even a book that deals straight on, and harshly, with the intersecting problems of environmental ruin and racial and class injustice ... That is Escandón’s achievement here, and I applaud it.
... a lively and sharply written portrait ... Tracing the Alvarados' highs and lows over one calendar year, Escandón introduces us to a tight-knit family as full of tension, secrets and betrayals as they are all-consuming love. As the women grapple with their marriages, she unpacks several deep, complicated questions about life and loyalty, examining with such critical thought the everyday and the mundane that each person's life becomes almost epic in proportion. While I cannot say that I liked every single character all of the time, I often would find myself rooting for one of the ladies only pages after I had been rolling my eyes at her. Escandón fully immerses us in both the family and the particular unit of sisterhood that Olivia, Claudia and Patricia comprise. The book is fast-paced, not only because of the dramatic reveals but because of the breadth of emotion that is covered, celebrated and championed on each page ... I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the absolutely glorious descriptions of the scenery, the drought, and the pride felt by families who have made a living off the land ... It seems strange to say that a novel full of family dysfunction and global destruction is warm, witty and fun, but L.A. Weather is all of that and more. Escandón is a gifted writer who is able to braid storylines and ideas together while letting her readers forget that they are being taught a lesson about love, family and resilience.