Title: Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1)
Author: Romina Garber
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: August 4, 2020
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.
Manuela Azul has spent her life hiding with her mother in Miami. They are undocumented immigrants, and they have to hide until they get their citizenship papers. Manu’s mother has also hidden her because of her unique eyes. Manu wears sunglasses everywhere to disguise her golden eyes with stars in the pupils. When the woman who Manu and her mother lives with is attacked, Manu has to escape, so she runs to her mother’s work. However, she learns that her mother has actually been lying. Everything Manu thought she knew about their lives is a lie. She runs away to find the real place she belongs.
This story tells an uncomfortable truth about illegal immigrants. Manu lived in fear because of the lies her mother told her, even though she had no say in the matter. The secrets behind Manu’s background added another layer to her immigrant story.
I liked how the story talked about Manu’s body in a realistic and honest way. Her menstrual cycle was related to the lunar cycle, in a way that is described in the book. I’ve often heard readers complain, and I’ve noticed myself, how so many characters in novels, particularly fantasy novels, don’t have to deal with their bodily functions. Sometimes this is explained as the characters being malnourished or stressed and therefore changing the way their body works. The honest way it was talked about in this book makes it relatable for young female readers.
There were a lot of Harry Potter references in this book, which I loved. Though J.K. Rowling has said many offensive things which has lead to people boycotting her, I can’t deny that her books had a great influence on mine and many other people’s childhoods. She may not be the creator we thought she was, but Harry Potter is imbedded in our culture as a way of sharing our stories. Harry Potter has a special meaning to the author, which was mentioned in the author’s note at the end. These references made me relate to and understand the story in a way that wouldn’t have been the same without them.
This is a fabulous story! I can’t wait to read the next story!
Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Nocturna by Maya Motayne
About the author:
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.
Have you read Lobizona? What did you think of it?