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Lobizona The horrors Perla left behind when she came to this country darken her glassy gaze, and I realize she never got away No matter how many borders we cross, we can t seem to outrun the fear of not feeling safe in our own house I think it s fair to note that, while this is definitely YA fantasy, it readslike contemporary fiction sprinkled with magical realism Those looking for high fantasy involving werewolf folklore might be disappointed in this slow burning tale, because it feels as ifThe horrors Perla left behind when she came to this country darken her glassy gaze, and I realize she never got away No matter how many borders we cross, we can t seem to outrun the fear of not feeling safe in our own house I think it s fair to note that, while this is definitely YA fantasy, it readslike contemporary fiction sprinkled with magical realism Those looking for high fantasy involving werewolf folklore might be disappointed in this slow burning tale, because it feels as if the purpose of this story is to serve the reader with a unique book about the immigrant s life in America Garber has provided a call to action with Lobizona, and I love that she holds back nothing in her attempt to educate the average reader on many horrors of modern society.The prologue immediately gripped me and set the tone for the remainder of the book, and as a privileged white woman, I found myself choking back tears and grieving for those who aren t treated equally in this country The author also ties in menstrual cycles as an important part of Manu s transformation, and it was so refreshing to see a YA author normalize something that is, well, NORMAL Even though this was not an own voices read for me, I wholly appreciated diving into someone else s culture and heritage and learningabout their folklore The pacing is steady in this book, and it felt like a solid set up for the next installment, which I am very much anticipating to read If you are looking for a YA fantasy that stands apart from the regular humdrum, and you re interested in current events and educating yourself on some of the injustices that Latinx immigrants face on a daily basis, do yourself a favor and pick this title up on August 4thMany thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy. Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF 30%.My one sentence review of this book would be Lobizona is a four star contemporary novel and a one star fantasy novel In other words, I have very mixed feelings about it But let s start with the positive Lobizona stars Manu, an undocumented immigrant whose mother brought her to the United States from Argentina when she was very young She is bilingual, she loves to read, and she Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.DNF 30%.My one sentence review of this book would be Lobizona is a four star contemporary novel and a one star fantasy novel In other words, I have very mixed feelings about it But let s start with the positive Lobizona stars Manu, an undocumented immigrant whose mother brought her to the United States from Argentina when she was very young She is bilingual, she loves to read, and she aspires to one day work for NASA as an astronaut Particularly in the first section of the book, Lobizona explores the challenges undocumented immigrants face in America, as well as questions of identity regarding Manu s physical differences and her father, who she knows next to nothing about.If you strip away the fantasy elements, Lobizona is a well written, modern young adult contemporary novel about the immigrant experience It effectively communicates the alienation, the fear of discovery, and the unrelenting hope that defines Manu s life as an undocumented immigrant, and it does so in a way that is both accessible to teenagers and enlightening for adults.But Lobizona is also a young adult fantasy novel a genre I have a fraught relationship with and unfortunately, in that respect, it did not live up to my expectations Although I will say, the one thing I appreciated about Romina Garber s fantasy world was its basis in Argentinian folklore I m always on the lookout for fantasy novels that stray outside the typical Western European sphere of influence.The novelty wore off quickly, however, once it became clear how utterly clich the rest of the fantasy elements in this story were Manu is special the first ever lobizona female werewolf , an only child with powers that are usually reserved for the seventh son or seventh daughter in a family She has golden eyes with silver, star shaped pupils yes, seriously Her werewolf powers include super strength and super speed, no exercise required, as well as super senses Her transformation began at puberty and brought with it mysterious dreams of a magical world.I decided to stop reading when the fantasy and YA clich s started to pile up about a quarter of the way into the story Manu s first interaction with Tiago was also incredibly off putting I have a policy where I quit reading at the first sign of instalove Since I didn t finish the book, I don t actually know if they end up in a romantic relationship, but my YA spidey senses have rarely steered me wrong I think I m too far past my YA days to appreciate this book Teen readers might enjoy itthan I did If you re undocumented, you re unwritten Embrace that You re saying if no one s told my story before I get to tell it the way I want Exactly3.5 stars Steeped in South American mythology, a defiant challenge of sexism and misogyny, exploring the struggles faced by undocumented immigrants Lobizona is unlike ANY story I ve ever read before Manuela Azul is an undocumented immigrant All her life she s had to be invisible she never attended school, never made friends But when ICE aIf you re undocumented, you re unwritten Embrace that You re saying if no one s told my story before I get to tell it the way I want Exactly3.5 stars Steeped in South American mythology, a defiant challenge of sexism and misogyny, exploring the struggles faced by undocumented immigrants Lobizona is unlike ANY story I ve ever read before Manuela Azul is an undocumented immigrant All her life she s had to be invisible she never attended school, never made friends But when ICE arrests her mother and someone attacks her found grandmother, Manu s forced to go on the run what she never expected was to stumble upon a magical academy built on ancient ruins deep in the Everglades At El Laberinto, Manu s thrown into a wholly fantastical world Am I the only one who got Luminous by Dawn Metcalf vibes The Septimus are a society of brujas witches and lobiz n werewolves who travel to another dimension Lunaris every full moon Here, there exists gorgeous magic think edible fizzy flowers, a sentient mother tree filled with books, and a sport combining soccer and elemental pro bending from Legend of Korra , but also extreme danger Just as Manu discovers someplace she might belong, with people she s beginning to love, she realizes that her existence in Lunaris is deemed as illegal as it was in Miami There s something so compulsively readable about Romina Garber s writing It isn t complex actually kinda purple at times ngl but I still found myself propelled to read on The world building in this novel is unique and enthralling, and I adored the Argentine lore woven into the magical realism Not to mention I got SO HUNGRY reading this book someone take me to Buenos Aires ASAP so I can get my hands on some enchanted mate and milanesas Lobizona tackles themes of alienation and belonging with nuance It resonated a lot with me, and will with anyone who s ever found themselves straddling two worlds be it culture, country, race, or anything else Manu grapples with the freedom and life or death risks of living honestly if she comes out as the world s only lobizona, she won t have to lie any She ll show others that it s possible to defy convention But and this hit me really hard Manu also realizes that she shouldn t have to martyr herself to achieve the life she s always wanted Why settle for being a son of the system, when you can mother a movementHOWEVER, there were a couple things I found really off putting For one, I didn t care for the waxing poetic about their magical eyes rose quartz and sapphire and Mars red just sound SO CHEESY At one point Manu s are literally described as orbiting golden galaxies and I cringed so hard The insta attraction between Manu and Tiago was bleh, and I was mostly unsympathetic to their love triangle with Cata because the angst could ve been so easily avoided if Manu just talked to her friends about her thoughts feelings instead of being rude and running away For a character who showed so much complexity when coming to terms her identity, Manu was frustratingly juvenile at times, too.There was also the fact that this book is heavy heavy heavy on the Chosen One tropeyness Manu s the only one of her kind, and she masters literally everything possible WITHOUT HAVING EVER DONE IT BEFORE She s a star Septibol player and finds an elusive rare flower and is Tiago s one true love and also has eNviABLE CuRVES bc ofc She perfectly controls her emotional magic and ultra enhanced senses without even trying That being said, the good about this book overshadows the bad I loved that the women in Lobizona challenge the patriarchal and heterosexual structure of Septimus society Saysa in particular is such an inspiring budding activist The characters speak openly about menstruation and the laws that enforce rigid gender roles for brujas and lobiz n They struggle to figure out what s right in a world that quashes any sort of difference to be free, or safe Ultimately, with adventure and lush magic, this book carves out a space for the marginal and the complex People of two worlds, or none at all As Saysa says Now go forth and shatter every convention Thank you NetGalley and St Martin s Press for this magical ARC in exchange for an honest review um excuse me why aren tpeople screaming about this also this is set in my home state so huzzah oohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh moho Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram oohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh mohooohoh moh myoh my goh my gooh my godoh my gooh my goh myoh moho Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram 7 21 2020 update LOBIZONA IS ONLY 2 WEEKS AWAY If you have yet to see the sheer gorgeousness that is the hardcover, I recommend visiting my Twitter or IG pages to check it out Wednesday Books absolutely SLAYED IT.If you d like your copy PERSONALIZED, please place your PREORDER with my amazing local indie bookstore, Books Books, I will pick out a quote for you make your copy extra special. Some people ARE illegalLobizonas do NOT existBoth of these statements are falseManuela 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, FloridaUntil Manu s protective bubble is shatteredHer 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 lobiz n, a werewolf A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belongAs 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 US residency that s illegal it s her entire existence I went into this expecting very little but hoping for a whole lot That cover That synopsis I couldn t help but be intrigued by it all And while I think this was a very well written story that deeply delves into life of an undocumented immigrant and all that entails, this sorely lacked in the fantasy department as a whole It dragged a little for me and overall, I found myself wanting to skim pages to get to the action of the story To find out all the mystery and intrigue and it just never q I went into this expecting very little but hoping for a whole lot That cover That synopsis I couldn t help but be intrigued by it all And while I think this was a very well written story that deeply delves into life of an undocumented immigrant and all that entails, this sorely lacked in the fantasy department as a whole It dragged a little for me and overall, I found myself wanting to skim pages to get to the action of the story To find out all the mystery and intrigue and it just never quite got there for me to keep me wholly entertained Again, it wasn t a bad story, just sadly, not at all what I was hoping it would be ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 4.5 stars Lobizona is so damn satisfying I read the last half of the book in a frenzy, taking turns between white knuckling the book in my hand to having to set it down to squeal about it It is both dramatic and poignant, seamlessly blending heavy topics with some serious entertainment There is so much care, creativity, and uniqueness in here that I don t know that I m able to unpack all of Garber s excellent excellent choices The lush world of the Septimus is everything I could ve hoped for 4.5 stars Lobizona is so damn satisfying I read the last half of the book in a frenzy, taking turns between white knuckling the book in my hand to having to set it down to squeal about it It is both dramatic and poignant, seamlessly blending heavy topics with some serious entertainment There is so much care, creativity, and uniqueness in here that I don t know that I m able to unpack all of Garber s excellent excellent choices The lush world of the Septimus is everything I could ve hoped for as a young teen I will forever be jealous this wasn t available when I was growing up I know it would ve been in my constant rotation of favorites to reread again and again Even still, my feelings were such a flurry when I finished I am beyond ready for book two and to see what else is in store for Manu and co Until then, I m going to be scouring the internet for fan art to cope with my withdrawals Trigger Warnings menstruation, ICE arrest, discussions about immigration and fear of deportation, homophobia called out by the characters Lobizona is about Manuela Azul, an undocumented Argentinian immigrant living in Miami, whose discovery of a magical world turns her life upside down When I saw this book, ownvoices Argentine rep, I was cautiously curious I mean, internally, I was screaming of excitement, but I didn t want to place my expectations too high Oh, but friends, this book climbe Trigger Warnings menstruation, ICE arrest, discussions about immigration and fear of deportation, homophobia called out by the characters Lobizona is about Manuela Azul, an undocumented Argentinian immigrant living in Miami, whose discovery of a magical world turns her life upside down When I saw this book, ownvoices Argentine rep, I was cautiously curious I mean, internally, I was screaming of excitement, but I didn t want to place my expectations too high Oh, but friends, this book climbed out of my expectations chart and broke it into pieces This book Romina Garber has created a beautiful and magical world that feels like going home I have read this book twice now, and both times, I have kept it close with tears in my eyes This is a story about an undocumented teen girl, about identity, about Argentine myths I have such a difficult time talking about this book without adding ten thousand exclamation points This story left me eternally screaming it s beautifully written, the world building is fascinating, Manu is one of my favorite characters, and the themes of immigration and identity were well done.I will keep this story close to my heart for a long time, and I m so excited for everyone to read it soon come out August 4th Yes, Lobizona is so worth the hype Read my full review on my blog, Latinx Magic, to find out why ARC was sent by publisher in exchange of an honest review.

  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • Lobizona
  • Romina Garber
  • English
  • 19 July 2019
  • 1250239125

About the Author: Romina Garber

Romina Garber is a NYT International Bestselling YA author who also writes under pen name Romina Russell Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Miami, Romina currently resides in Los Angeles but would much rather be at Hogwarts As a teen, Romina landed her first writing gig College She Wrote, a weekly Sunday column for the Miami Herald that was later picked up for national syndication and she hasn t stopped writing since She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core Forinformation about her books, follow her on Twitter Instagram rominagarber.