Hello, darlings! Today I am super excited to share with you my thoughts on Lobizona by Romina Garber! I quite enjoyed this one, and I hope you do too!Lobizona by Romina Garber
Series: Wolves of No World #1
Published by Wednesday Books on August 4, 2020
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
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.
My turn for two statements about this book that are true:
- I don’t usually get along so well with contemporary fantasy, yet I loved this book.
- This book will make you so mad, but in a really important way.
So with that said, and because I have no real complaints about it, let’s dive into the great stuff!
What I Loved:
- Manu has to deal with not being allowed to exist in either our world or the magical realm. Here’s the part that will (and should, and needs to) infuriate you. Manu is a human being, and should have to explain and justify her existence to no one. Yet in both worlds she finds herself hiding, trying to escape those who’d find her actual life to be illegal. I have so much rage that I want to spill out, but I suppose that would turn this into more of an essay than a book review, so I will just say this: Manu belongs. Everyone belongs, and no one is “illegal”, because a person cannot be illegal. It’s positively infuriating, but the author does such a phenomenal job in the juxtaposition of the two worlds being so different, yet in some truly terrible ways, very similar.
- Manu’s family had my heart from the first page. Her mom would basically move heaven and earth to keep Manu safe. Manu isn’t even totally sure from what or who at the start, but that there are threats from both ICE, and her father’s Argentinian family they had initially run from. Perla is the surrogate grandmother who took Manu and her mom in when they arrived in the U.S., and has been keeping them safe ever since. Also, she is just a strong and loving women who I was so grateful Manu had to confide in and talk with.
- The people Manu meets in the alt-world are wonderful. I mean, obviously there are some bad eggs here too, but as a whole, I was so glad that Manu finally found some people who were willing to accept her for exactly who she was. I don’t want to get into it too much because it’s such a lovely part of the story, but trust that she will find her place.
- Manu grows so much! Obviously, she has to make some huge choices at the start of the book (and throughout) that will really test her as a person. She also has to decide how willing she is to push current norms and boundaries, which is no easy task, especially for a young woman who has spent most of her life hidden away. As such, Manu really begins to discover who she is when she confronts all the worst things she’s feared.
- The Argentinian folklore is incredible! This story is unlike any I have read before, and I just adored it! I felt like I was so immersed in the world, that it was so well crafted, and the atmosphere was incredibly on point!
- The author had such a clever way for translating Spanish. Manu would sometimes translate phrases from Spanish to English in her narration, and she explained it for the reader:
“Whenever Ma is upset with me, I have a habit of translating her words into English without processing them. I asked Perla about it to see if it’s a common bilingual thing, and she said it’s probably my way of keeping Ma’s anger at a distance; if I can deconstruct her words into language—something detached that can be studied and dissected—I can strip them of their charge.”
- In addition to the obvious discussion about immigration, there is discussion of sexism and LGBTQIA+ rights. Even in the magical realm, some of these harmful issues were still very, very present.
Bottom Line: Very thoughtful, with a wonderful main character who had to go through a lot, Lobizona left a big impression on me. I will be eagerly awaiting its sequel!