Lobizona by Romina Garber
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Length: 400 pages
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: August 4, 2020
**I received ‘Lobizona’ by Romina Garber through NetGalley and Wednesday Books, in exchange for an honest review**
When I first read the synopsis for ‘Lobizona’, I was immediately intrigued. An urban fantasy story, with a Latinx undocumented main character! Romina Garber brings attention to the plight of immigration and family separation beautifully. She paints Manuela (Manu) as a girl who longs to be part of society, yet her undocumented status forces her into hiding. The fact that Manu has an added mark to her identity only heightens the anxiety of being discovered. As Manu enters the world of El Labriento, she learns that her status brings her an additional level of fear, and she evaluates what it truly means to belong in society.
The world of El Labriento (the Labyrinth) introduces valuable connections to Manu. Her ‘undocumented’ status bends the rules of gender and societal norms, and Manu is faced with the reality of risking her life for the sake of discovering her roots. Her lineage delves deeper into the Argentinian folklore that the community of El Labriento abide by within their daily lives. Manu’s presence as an outsider tests everyone what it means to truly belong in this world.
The characters in Lobizona keeps the momentum going in Manu’s quest. They subtly fall in the typical categories of friendship: (Saysa is the close friend, Catalina is the rival, Tiago the love interest), yet they all have an extra layer to their stories that places all having an ulterior motive to their actions. Each interaction places an added piece to the puzzle to Manu’s journey, and it certainly kept me reading!
As I mentioned earlier, Lobizona also speaks on the subject of family separation resulting from immigration status. The story isn’t bombarded with commentary, but Garber covers the situation clearly enough that the reader understands the plight of anxiety dwelling among Manu’s community in hiding. Manu and her mother live with the fear of their social existence getting erased at a moment’s notice. It touches on family separation just enough to share with the reader that this reality happens every day in many communities, and it’s heartbreaking. Lobizona has a perfect blend of current events and the folklore, taking you to a portal of awareness.
I highly recommend Lobizona as a story that you can’t put down. It’s a perfect mix of supernatural lore and the urban plight of a girl struggling to come of age while learning to discover her roots. You will be certainly be swept away!
Some people ARE illegal.
Lobizonas do NOT exist.
Both of these statements are false.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.
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