Hey guys! I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Romina Garber’s novel, Lobizona! I just want to say a quick thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to be a part of this tour. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.
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.
If there is a book that needs to be on everyone’s tbr this year, it’s Lobizona by Romina Garber.
Our main character is Manu, an undocumented Argentinian teenager living in Miami with a secret even she does not understand. Her family has fled from Argentia for reasons unbeknownst to her, and her mother forces her to be invisible. She does not go to school, she does not have friends, and every time she goes outside she must wear sunglasses with mirrored lenses to hide the golden glow of her eyes. However, once her mother’s workplace is raided by ICE she is forced to go on the run where she discovers a magical school hidden in the everglades called El Laberinto–a school for Brujas and Lobizons, a world where she thinks she finally might belong.Despite her hope of finding a home that will accept her, Manu is once again labeled as illegal for being a hybrid.
Garber did a truly fantastic with the writing of the novel. The pacing is exquisite, and the stake are set from the very first page. The world she weaves is lush and vivid and full of adventure. I don’t know if I would truly define this book as YA Fantasy because to me it truly felt like a contemporary filled with magical realism at times. Garber does her best to stuff her story with as much representation as possible from the undocumented experience in America, to LGBTQ+ representation in general, and although I love where her heart is at I feel like she did not give each topic all the love it deserved.
There is just so much I want to say about this book, but I also wish for people to go out and read it themselves so they can experiences Garber’s fantastical world as well. The one thing that truly irked me about this novel, as it does in most novels, was the romance. Manu and Tiago’s relationship just rubbed me the wrong way as most of their ‘tension’ could have be handled with a simple conversation. That being said, this one minor issue is overruled by the abundance of good that is done in this book.
Overall, I give Lobizona by Romina Garber four and a half out of five star for being a book that I see becoming very important to a lot of people. The world is magical, the characters are relatable, and the story is one that needs to be told. I truly recommend Lobizona to anyone and everyone looking for a book that stands apart from a majority of the YA out there on the market.
ROMINA GARBER (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.
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