How We Named the Stars
Set between the United States and México, Andrés N. Ordorica’s debut novel is a tender and lyrical exploration of belonging, grief, and first love—a love story for those so often written off the page.
When Daniel de La Luna arrives as a scholarship student at an elite East Coast university, he bears the weight of his family’s hopes and dreams, and the burden of sharing his late uncle’s name. Daniel flounders at first—but then Sam, his roommate, changes everything. As their relationship evolves from brotherly banter to something more intimate, Daniel soon finds himself in love with a man who helps him see himself in a new light. But just as their relationship takes flight, Daniel is pulled away, first by Sam’s hesitation and then by a brutal turn of events that changes Daniel’s life forever.
As he grapples with profound loss, Daniel finds himself in his family’s ancestral homeland in México for the summer, finding joy in this setting even as he struggles to come to terms with what’s happened and faces a host of new questions: How does the person he is connect with this place his family comes from? How is his own story connected to his late uncle’s? And how might he reconcile the many parts of himself as he learns to move forward?
Equal parts tender and triumphant, Andrés N. Ordorica’s How We Named the Stars is a debut novel of love, heartache, redemption, and learning to honor the dead; a story of finding the strength to figure out who you are—and who you could be—if only the world would let you.
Andrés N. Ordorica has written an intimate, necessary story of first love, first loss, and the promise of new beginnings. This empowering novel is required reading for anyone struggling to uncover their most authentic self.
—Zak Salih, author of Let's Get Back to the Party
In Andrés N. Ordorica’s majestic novel, the emotional and intellectual life of Daniel de La Luna, a first-generation college student, is rendered beautifully, deftly. Belonging, for Daniel, is complicated by familial grief and self-doubt but a heart-shattering first love spurs him to cross and to erase the borders between him and those who love him. I’m especially moved by his bond with his Abuelo, which is impactful, instructive. Novels this well-written remind us reading is an intimacy, an immersive experience that enriches us beyond measure.
—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine
How We Named the Stars is a novel of first love and last rites. Ordorica captures perfectly the challenges of building a life out of experience, out of allowing ourselves to feel everything. A beautiful tale of friendship and the comfort found in stories of the past and in the arms of elders, living and dead.
—Richard Mirabella, author of Brother & Sister Enter the Forest
Andrés N. Ordorica has captured the crushing isolation of navigating an elite college for the first time, all while experiencing a powerful, yet unattainable first love. Named after his family’s late uncle, Daniel wrestles with the continued impact of loss even as he finds glimpses of comfort. This novel is an extended meditation on the relationship between joy and grief, and how it can bind and heal both a life and a family.
—Analicia Sotelo, author of Virgin