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.
What worked: Where do I start? I LOVED this Latinx world something fierce. It's filled with brujas, werewolves, and romance. Garber's world is so vivid with lush descriptions infused with Latinx magic. Add to that it shows how it is to feel 'different' in our current political climate.
Manu lives in two worlds. One that is human and the other one she stumbles on while fleeing after her mother is detained by ICE. The writing here is magical and kind of like a Latinx Harry Potter meets Legacies. Only in this story there are assigned roles-girls are witches in training and boys are werewolves. These lines haven't been breached until Manu's appearance. She's unique-a hybrid. Someone that is dangerous to those in authority. If her real identity is discovered, she will be executed.
I love how Manu shows how not everyone is open to her differences and how her friends do rally around her. There are scenes where sexism is shown and how some are willing to buck the system.
I also love how Spanish isn't in italics. Spanish is throughout, but Manu's shows her bilingual skills and readers won't be confused.
The bubbling romance is show slowly and how Manu fights against it. Tiago at first is the guy whose willing to help out and be a friend.
Captivating Latinx paranormal fantasy with lush, vivid descriptions and characters you cheer on. Also a book that shows what it's like to be considered 'other' in current US climate. Can't wait to read Manu's next adventures in this enchanting magical story.
Brujas, werewolves, and romance!