A Novel

About the Book

A coming-of-age comedy. A telenovela-worthy drama. A moving family saga. All in a phone call you won’t want to hang up on.

“Brilliant . . . Melissa Mogollon did not come to play.”—Kiley Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Such a Fun Age

“Yes, hi, Mari. It’s me. I’m over my tantrum now and calling you back . . . But first—you have to promise that you won’t tell Mom or Abue any of this. Okay? They’ll set the house on fire if they find out . . .”

Structured as a series of one-sided phone calls from our spunky, sarcastic narrator, Luciana, to her older sister, Mari, this wildly inventive debut “jump-starts your heart in the same way it piques your ear” (Xochitl Gonzalez). As the baby of her large Colombian American family, Luciana is usually relegated to the sidelines. But now she finds herself as the only voice of reason in the face of an unexpected crisis: A hurricane is heading straight for Miami, and her eccentric grandmother, Abue, is refusing to evacuate. Abue is so one-of-a-kind she’s basically in her own universe, and while she often drives Luciana nuts, they’re the only ones who truly understand each other. So when Abue, normally glamorous and full of life, receives a shocking medical diagnosis during the storm, Luciana’s world is upended.

When Abue moves into Luciana’s bedroom, their complicated bond intensifies. Luciana would rather be skating or sneaking out to meet girls, but Abue’s wild demands and unpredictable antics are a welcome distraction for Luciana from her misguided mother, absent sister, and uncertain future. Forced to step into the role of caretaker, translator, and keeper of the devastating family secrets that Abue begins to share, Luciana suddenly finds herself center stage, facing down adulthood—and rising to the occasion.

As Luciana chronicles the events of her disrupted senior year of high school over the phone to Mari, Oye unfolds like the most fascinating and entertaining conversation you’ve ever eavesdropped on: a rollicking, heartfelt, and utterly unique novel that celebrates the beauty revealed and resilience required when rewriting your own story.
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Praise for Oye

“Fresh and wise, innovative and laugh-out-loud funny, warm and stylish, Oye is a propulsive delight full of verve and heart.”—Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different

“By a dazzling new voice, this book is a funny and heartfelt exploration of growing up, resilience, sisterhood, and finding your path.”Electric Literature, “8 Books Featuring Columbian Protagonists”

“A swoon-worthy family saga that will make you fall in love with the characters. It’s a reminder that though life can drag you down, there is hope lurking around every corner.”Debutiful, “Most Anticipated Books of 2024”

“If listening in on a stranger’s animated phone call sounds like your idea of entertainment, you’ll be hooked . . .”Reader’s Digest, “New Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2024”

“This is a novel for the ear hustler in all of us! Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Mogollon’s story will stay with readers for a long time.”—National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo, author of Family Lore and The Poet X

“Heartbreaking and humorous, mature and mischievous, Oye feels like home in delicious and furious ways. Melissa Mogollon did not come to play.”—Kiley Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Such a Fun Age

“An emotional roller coaster of multigenerational chisme, Oye jump-starts your heart in the same way the expletive piques your ear.”—Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

“Funny and smart, Oye grapples with the messy inheritance of intergenerational trauma and how it manifests in the everyday conversations with the people we love. Mogollon has written a beautiful book.”—Claire Jimenez, author of What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez

Oye is vibrantly alive, a pitch-perfect, boisterous, gossipy portrait of the chaos that is family and love. A gem.”—Rufi Thorpe, author of The Knockout Queen

“Luciana won’t just woo you; she will thoroughly win, and at times break, your heart.”—Regina Porter, author of The Travelers

“With its singular voice and vibrant characters, Oye commands your attention from the very first page. It’s a novel that, like the ageless abuela at its heart, laughs and dances in the dark.”—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

“I love these characters—no one gets away with anything—and I love Melissa Mogollon’s unmistakable, irrepressible voice.”—Margot Livesey, author of The Boy in the Field

Oye, a novel of chisme, is innovative, heartfelt, and hilarious. Melissa Mogollon’s voice is a gift.”—Myriam Gurba, author of Creep

“Oye me, this book will be the unexpected ride of your reading season. Read it to listen in on a breathless, funny, inventive, and revealing conversation that peels back all our assumptions about love and family roles.”—Melissa Coss Aquino, author of Carmen and Grace

“A smart, wildly inventive, and funny tale that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming.”Booklist
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Pasame el telefono

“I can’t believe you called me six times for this today, Mari.

Abue is going to be fine.

Whether she evacuates or she stays.

She’s like an immortal Pokemon.

Oh my god. And you left me a voicemail?

I just saw the notification . . .

You are such a closeted boomer . . .

Well now that I know you’re alive, I’m gonna need a second to breathe.

I thought you had been kidnapped. And the police were calling me to demand some answers, since you have me saved as ‘ICE Psychopath’ in your phone.

Yes. Mom told me you still haven’t changed that.

Which is not only rude, by the way, but also impractical. Have you thought about that?

What’s gonna happen when you have an actual emergency one day?

You’re gonna be like on your last breath, begging for help. And the cops won’t be able to reach me because my phone’s gonna be locked away in Mrs. Nelson’s desk again for ringing during class.

Luciana Dominguez. Is that your phone?


Give it. You can get it from me at the end of class.

Wait, it’s Mari? This f***ing bitch.


Sorry. It’s just . . . my sister.

It was on loud because NO ONE EVER CALLS ME, DUDE.

So imagine my surprise when I get my phone back and see six missed calls, thinking that you’re either dead or I’m being framed—just to call back and get your unbearable high-pitched voice on the line screaming about our grandmother!


And it’s really all or nothing with you, huh?

Because I hadn’t heard a peep out of you since you went back to school.

Nope. Not a single word when I texted you being vulnerable, asking if it was weird that I was starting my senior year but was still scared of Mom.

I shouldn’t be this afraid, but her eyes are so scary. Is that normal? Should I feel more confident?

Or during the important and personal milestone of Rihanna launching her Fenty Beauty line last week.

Ignore my texts about Mom, I’m over it. But can you send me $30 though? It’s urgent.

And now here you are.

Blowing up my phone while I’m trying to prepare for a hurricane.

Along with the underwhelming beginning of my impending adulthood.

Thank you.

No! Don’t start asking ‘how are you’ now, bitch.

I needed you a month ago!

Whatever. You’re lucky there’s a storm coming. I don’t have time to get into this.

So tell me, is your plan to cyberbully and harass Abue into evacuating with us, too? Cuz you’re pretty good at that.

Oh, she’s not listening or picking up your phone calls? Weird. You have the voice of an angel.

Okay, relax, lol.

Just text her that Jesus came to you in a dream and said there’s a one-hundred-pound weight minimum for adults to get into heaven. So if she really wants to meet Princess Diana, she’s gonna have to wait. Because it’s not in her best interest to die right now at ninety-five pounds in a hurricane.

I am being serious, Mari? You know how Abue feels about Lady D.

Fine. But could you at least remind her that all the stores close up during hurricanes too? As the allegedly ‘wiser,’ more ‘trustworthy’ one of us? I tried telling her myself, but she didn’t believe me.

If you stay, you won’t be able to buy anything, Abue. Not even at Marshalls.

Everything you say is a lie, Luciana.

You can’t just decide that because I’m saying it in English.

Why not? It’s the language of liars.

I promise you that the mall will be closed, dude. You won’t be able to get in. No one is going to be here—just you and Hurricane Irma. So c’mon! They’re saying she’s going to be the worst storm of 2017. Go pack up your stuff and let’s go.

No! I’m not a sheep.

Ew, Mari . . . Why are you crying?

Abue’s going to be fine! She’s not an idiot. She knows where all the shelters are, and Dad will be at the farm, only a few hours away.

Plus—she’s still got like twelve hours left to change her mind. Mom said we’re not leaving until tomorrow morning.

And you can even tell Abue that if she comes, I’ll let her ride shotgun.

That way she can lean into the driver’s seat and say, ‘This isn’t the way’ to Mom like five hundred times.

She really loves doing that, Mari! It could help.

FINE. Then just call and confess that she needs to evacuate so you don’t feel guilty over not being home! THERE. I SAID IT.

Oh, please. You’re a horrible liar.

And for starters, it’s obvious. We were invisible to you until Irma found us.

But now you desperately need Abue to stay safe, so you don’t have to come back or feel guilty if something happens.

Since this is really all just about you and your need to control everything! Voilà!

I’m not as stupid as everyone thinks!

Why is Mari freaking out? Abue can make her own decisions. She’s an adult?

She just cares, mi amor. She feels helpless from so far away.

Well she should ‘care’ more often then. Not just when the news says there’s an emergency.

Sure, yeah, I’m joking, lol.

Just can’t believe that I’ll never make it to college myself.

Since I’m going to die driving the back roads of Florida, racing a tsunami to save our grandmother.

Next to our mother and our dog.

Mari—relax! I’m kidding and you know it. So stop pretend-crying and spare me the act.

You will get to escape the consequences of your actions once again, and we will all be okay. Including Rosy. And she’s the only dog I know who’s scared of clouds.

Yes, Mom and I tried convincing Abue to come with us all week! I promise.

We bombarded her from every angle possible: Facebook, WhatsApp, texts, and emails. Nightly FaceTimes on the iPad. Even some fake eHarmony promos. But she just wouldn’t listen. To Mom, Dad, or me—her most perfect and precious grandchild.

I’m not leaving, Luciana.

Fine. Your choice. I’m tired of begging.

Though, of course, Mom then acted like Abue’s refusal was somehow my fault. Since she’s so used to you doing everything  so perfectly and flawlessly for her.

No! Luciana! Get back on the phone.

Why? She’s just being stubborn.

Because she’s your grandmother. Try again.

UGH. Hello? Abue—it’s me again. Your daughter is driving me crazy. Please don’t leave me alone with her. They’re saying this storm is going to get bad! That we really need to evacuate.

They always say that! Tell your mother that I’m too old and the drive is too long. And I read somewhere on the internet that senior citizens who evacuate are much more likely to get injured than those who stay. Can you imagine that?! Suffering in a hospital that’s already falling apart? My girl, I’d rather be dead.

But you’ll be with us!

Everything I need is here. Goodbye. They say this every year.

What about the six-foot storm surge? And the power outage?

Tell it to come.

Do you think that Abue won’t evacuate because she wants to be on Primer Impacto, lol? The world’s most depressing news show?

She’s been watching it a lot lately while we’re on the phone before she goes to bed.

Yes . . . and all they do is, like, show pictures of dead bodies on streets . . . Or run stories about dads trying to sell their daughters.

Or flash ‘Breaking News’ alerts about the kid in the neighborhood who’s been chopping the heads off his pets.

Last time we were at her place, she even got in my head by saying, Luciana—look. Isn’t that boy in your class?

No. Stop. You’re gonna give me nightmares before I go to sleep.

About the Author

Melissa Mogollon
Melissa Mogollon holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BA from the George Washington University. Originally from Colombia and raised in Florida, she now teaches at a boarding school in Rhode Island, where she lives with her partner and dog. Oye is her first novel. More by Melissa Mogollon
Decorative Carat
Random House Publishing Group