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Oasis by Katya de Becerra
Young adult


by Katya de Becerra

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Quick take

An eerie desert oasis provides everything lost teens could need: food, water, and an altered, life-changing reality.

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The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

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

With 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, 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 one another, 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...

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Free sample

Check out a preview of Oasis.


Is German for "Wanderlust"

I was going to rediscover myself last summer. Possibly fall in love for real. Maybe have my heart broken. I was going to learn Arabic and reconnect with my Middle Eastern roots. And most of all, I was going to spend some quality time with Dad. I imagined the two of us out in an archaeological field, bonding over trowels, mattocks, and leaky water basins while labeling and filing precious ceramic fragments his squad of research students dug up from the ground. And to make this vision even more perfect, I was going to have my best friends, all four of them, along for the ride. With school now behind us and university not far ahead, this trip was our last chance to do something fun together before our paths diverged and we got too busy to hang out.

I was so proud to have made it possible for my friends to join me on this trip. Though rummaging in the dust while being assaulted by the desert sun wasn’t exactly their idea of fun, the prospect of visiting Dubai had gotten my friends pumped. That’s why I chose not to correct them whenever they’d mention Dubai and all the sightseeing it promised; we’d be spending most of our time at Tell Abrar—the site of an ancient settlement east of Dubai city, where my dad, Andreas Scholl, the head of the archaeology program at Dunstan University, was leading an international excavation campaign. Regardless, my excitement was so epic it was almost a living, breathing thing made of nervous insomnia and short on patience. I just knew the summer was going to be remarkable. Or, at the very least, different.

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Why I love it

Since I was little, I’ve always loved visiting the desert. From climbing mounds of dirt, to finding furniture-like rocks to lie on, to warming up under the hot sun… what’s not to love? Friends would remind me of the desert’s risks—dehydration, deadly creatures, painful sunburns—but I’ve continued to insist it’s one of the most peaceful places to be. That is, until I read Oasis, which takes place in the desert and features, among other things, a violent sandstorm and poisonous waters. Now, I’m sufficiently terrified of the desert.

By all measures, Alif is looking forward to a great summer. She’s got a fun and loyal group of friends; a ticket to Dubai; and a chance to dig for ancient artifacts alongside her friends and father. But when a sandstorm leaves the group injured, thirsty, and far from camp, their fun summer trip turns into an eerie quest for survival. Especially when the oasis they stumble upon might not be what it seems.

With the pace of a great mystery and the eerie world-building that makes you question what’s real and what’s not, this book will appeal to suspense and sci-fi fans alike. I won’t spoil the plot for you, but I will say that following Alif and company’s journey is a wild, creepy, and unpredictable ride.

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Member ratings (541)

  • Katherine M.

    Seattle, WA

    Oasis will probably leave you feeling unnerved (and a bit sweaty) and while Katya creates a slow build rather than quick twists and turns, it will have carried you far and away from your own reality.

  • LeAusha C.

    Centennial, CO

    It was a slow start but about 30 pages in it started to get interesting . I finished this book in two days and its a love/hate relationship . Is there a second book! I need more! How does it end!?

  • Danielle H.

    Charlotte, MI

    I absolutely loved this book. I'm an archaeology nerd and I highly enjoyed all of the quips and mentions of anything related to that. Everything about it was amazing, and I hope she writes another!

  • Addie A.

    Orlando, FL

    This book was an absoulute rollercoaster, but in the best way possible. It kept you on the edge of your seat, and you were always questioning what was real and what was fake. This book is awesome!

  • Kortnee A.

    Eagan, MN

    4.5 stars. So I went into this book not knowing much. And I think that’s the way to go. I loved this. Although it messed with my head a little bit. I need someone to talk to about this book.

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