Cover Image: Lobizona


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Member Reviews

Wow, this book was really good!
Lobizona follows Manuela (Manu) Azul, an Argentinian girl living in Miami, FL with her mother and tutor/adopted family, Perla. Manu is never allowed to leave her apartment without her sunglasses and she has been homeschooled for forever. She feels stuck with her family and has never felt like she belonged in Miami. Then one day, Manu discovers a secret world and school far from her home and her family. There she falls in love, makes friends, and learns more about herself and her family than ever before. 
Overall, I loved this book and cannot wait to buy it. I recommend it to anyone who felt lost in their own home and who wishes for more.
Rating- 4.5 stars
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This book was interesting. It took me a while to get into, but overall I loved the storyline. It was suspenseful and I never knew what to expect. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own
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Wow! What an intense ride! I was fully invested in this story from start to finish. I loved following Manu's story and fitting all the pieces to the puzzle together with her. The characters were so likable and relatable. The mixture of Argentinian culture, the importance of family, the struggle for belonging and the really lovely romance made for such a good story. I am super excited to read the next Wolves Of No World installment!
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<i>Lobizona</i> is the first installment in Garber's Wolves of No World series. I have seen this book hyped a lot online, and I was really excited to read something with roots in Argentine folklore.  The book is pretty solid, but I think maybe I had higher expectations because there was so much hype. To start, I really like the folklore roots. I didn't know the legend and Garber does a good job of incorporating it into Manu's past. The character of Manu is well-developed, but the other characters are less so (I continually got Pablo and Diego confused). I also really liked how Garber parallels the current issues with immigration--that's done extremely well in showing the unfairness in labeling people as "illegal". 

I think the main issue is that there's so much going on that none of the plot points feel well-developed enough to get invested. For example, Manu's double who lives across the street who she watches. It seemed like it was going to develop into something and then disappears. At times the book leans a little too heavily on Harry Potter--for example, I don't know if we need the sports element especially since the climax was pretty dull in comparison to the lead up.

Overall, I liked the book and will read the second. I hope the story will come into its own a bit more in the second book.

Thank you, NetGalley for the ARC of this book.
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Lobizona is a unique take on the tales of werewolves and witches. Manuela Azul is an illegal immigrant in Florida and hiding from her father's people. When ICE raids her mother's work, Manu accidently falls into the secret world of werewolves and her father's people, a world that is rich with Argentine fairy tales. Buried deep in the Everglades is a school of brujas, witches, and Lobizones, werewolves and Manu finds out about her other half. Even here Manu must hide her true self because of who her parents are but soon she finds friends and allies in the school where she is one of a kind, the only Lobizona. The author builds a rich, unique world full of interesting and complex characters for a story that flies by and leaves you itching for the next chapter.  Better than that other teen werewolf/vampire story, Manu's tale will fuel the imagination and leave you impatient for the next book. My voluntary, unbiased story is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
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Manuela Azul and her mother are undocumented illegals living each day in fear of deportation or being discovered by Manu's father's criminal family. Both outcomes would result in Manu's secret being revealed and potentially result in death. Manu is not like other girls; her eyes betray the fact that she is something other than human. When her mother is arrested by ICE, Manu searches for answers about her existence and discovers a world she thought was only lore where the seventh son is born a werewolf and the seventh daughter a bruja. Manu thinks she has finally found where she belongs only to learn that her existence as the first hybrid female werewolf (lobizona) is not only illegal in their world but the penalty is death. 

Lobizona is a unique and culturally diverse fantasy fiction in which a girl struggles for acceptance and is denied in both the human and magical worlds she is connected to. The novel incorporates feminist and political perspectives in both worlds as it addresses the very real struggles of immigrants in the human realm as well as the rebellion against gender roles and sexism within her magical culture. Although the magical elements were interesting I felt that the novel didn't really flow between the "illegal" connections in the plot between reality and magic. Overall I enjoyed the novel and look forward to seeing where the author takes the next book in the series.
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This is such an interesting combination of looking at many contemporary issues (immigration, differences, gender) and fantasy. This book sucked me in, probably because it started with the contemporary side (more my taste) but even when it began getting into the fantasy side I wanted to keep reading to see how it ended. I think teens will enjoy reading this, it's a quick read, but also will be great for book club discussions.
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Seventeen-year-old Manuela Azul (she goes by Manu) and her mother, Soledad, have been living in Miami illegally for most of Manu’s life. Manu has a strange eye condition, in which her pupils and irises look like stars so she has to wear sunglasses 24/7 to avoid freaking other people out. Though I’m certain if she walked into an optometrist’s convention with eyes like those she’d immediately be the most popular girl in the whole room, but since she and her mom are in the country illegally, that sort of attention would be very, very bad.

Soledad had to flee Argentina because Manu’s father, Fierro, was supposedly high up with some bad people who disapproved with his relationship with Soledad. So much so that they killed him, sending Soledad into hiding. If they knew Soledad was alive, and that Manu even existed, Fierro’s people would kill them both.

And, as if hiding from Fierro’s people were bad enough, Manu and Soledad are on a constant lookout for ICE. If their apartment building is raided by ICE, they could be deported, back to Argentina where they’d be sitting ducks for Fierro’s murderous family and friends. So Manu has lived a sheltered life within a tiny apartment with her mom and their elderly friend Perla.

Manu has spent much of her life dreaming of escape and a life without fear. Currently, her only hope is the knowledge that her mom is doing her best to get them both legal status. Then one day, Manu notices some strange people hanging around her apartment building. Then Perla is attacked and hospitalized. In a panic, Manu rushes off to find her mom...only to find that Soledad has been lying to her for quite some time. Soledad isn’t a maid for some rich lady - she works at an underground Miami clinic. And she never intended to apply for legal status for her and Manu. 

Just as she’s reeling from this revelation, ICE raids the underground clinic. From here, the story takes a weird left-turn. On the run, Manu leaps into the back of a truck, and, after a long ride that sounded way more comfortable than a long ride in the bed of a truck should sound (seriously, there’s no jostling, no being flung about, no wind burn...I get that Florida is pretty flat, but aren’t there potholes? Rocks? Also, isn’t it illegal for someone to ride in the bed of a truck? How did no one else not see her and call the cops?) she ends up deep within the Florida Everglades. After somehow hopping out of the guy’s truck without him noticing that she was ever in there (again, how??? I drive a truck and would absolutely notice if someone were hitching a ride back there. Hey, how come I’m fishtailing significantly less than I usually do? Oh, wait, there’s a human back there) Manu stumbles upon...

A secret school for brujas and werewolves. In the Florida Everglades. And she meets people her age who have eyes just like hers. Suddenly, the puzzle pieces start fitting together - her father must have been a part of this society, not some criminal organization. Manu is half magic. She’s living the ultimate Harry Potter dream! And, somehow, without paying tuition or applying, Manu is allowed to join the school. Finaly, Manu has somewhere that she belongs, and even begins to make friends. She even starts making eyes at a hunky werewolf named Tiago.

There’s just one problem, though. The society that Manu has found herself in has some pretty strict gender roles. Girls are brujas, guys are werewolves. Period, end of sentence. But, even though she definitely belongs among this magical society, Manu doesn’t really have the powers of a bruja. She’s something else.

And there is one thing her mom wasn’t lying about - Fierro’s people are still pissed. Brujas and werewolves are not supposed to have relationships with humans. It’s forbidden. Like, really forbidden. Ultra forbidden. If Manu is found to be half-human, she’ll be killed.

So Manu has traded living forever in fear being an undocumented immigrant in America...for living forever in fear being half-human in a world of magical creatures who think hybrids are evil.

Good luck with that, Manu! Also, there’s still the question of the whereabouts of her still missing father. Is he dead? Alive? And what is Manu, if she’s not a bruja?

Despite a couple of hiccups in the beginning - the book starts pretty slow before taking that weird left-turn into the Everglades and Bruja Werewolf academy. And, as is typical in the first book of a series, much time is spent establishing everything, and less on giving us closure or answers to the big questions. And, since my ability to render a serious and well-thought out book review in the time of COVID-19 has gone down the drain, I’ll be brief. <i>Lobizona </i> is gorgeously written and a fascinating blend of YA contemporary and YA fantasy. I also love the warring gender dynamics within the magical society of brujas and werewolves - not everyone loves the strict binary, or the fact that they’re not allowed to hang out with humans. Ultimately, <i>Lobizona </i> is a brilliant story of a girl looking desperately for a place to belong within not just one, but two worlds that don’t want her - that have deemed her wrong. Illegal. And Manu is tired of all that bullshit. If the human and magical worlds don’t want her, damn it, she’s going to go off and find a place that does.

Go forth and kick ass, Manu!
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While this may be a fantasy novel, it deals with very real topics prevalent in today's society.  And just look at that stunning cover!

Manu has never felt like she belonged anywhere.  She has no friends and very little family.  She's rarely permitted to leave home.  And you'll empathize with her immediately.  Thrust into a frightening situation and fearing for the lives of her loved ones, Manu discovers she's stronger than she knew, and you'll root for her as she begins her journey.  The story parallels Harry Potter in some ways, and Manu is an ardent fan of the books and mentions them often.

Argentenian folklore is entwined with the world-building, which is fabulous and one of the things I enjoyed most.  One of the other positives is the supporting cast.  It's rather extensive and can seem overwhelming at first, but the focus narrows by the middle of the book.  

It's difficult to give much of a review without revealing spoilers, but I'll say this is a powerful story with several layers and a series I absolutely plan to continue.  Recommended for anyone who's ever felt like they didn't belong and struggled to find their path.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This book was absolutely stunning. The modern-day struggles and realism blend together seamlessly with the type of magic system that sucks you in and makes you believe in just about anything. The writing style is elegant and simplistic, but the plot twists are complex and not something you could see coming. Plus the romance is a mix of sexual tension and devotion that absolutely kills me. Lobizona gets a place on my favorite shapeshifting shelf, without hesitation.
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Did not finish this book at 20%. I tried to read this novel, I tried and tried but overall the plot took WAY too long to start and I felt no real interest towards Manu’s story, and her condition at the start of the novel. I usually love to read things with different languages, but LOBIZONA had an awful lot of Spanish that made it overall too confusing. Every third sentence someone spoke was in Spanish, and most of them weren’t translated so I ended up being frustrated as towards what the characters were saying and why I should care. This book had an interesting synopsis and some lines were interesting, but overall too vague and boring for me to invest my time in
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

“Lobizona” is a novel that reads more like magical realism than a fantasy novel. We follow Manuela and her mother, who is hiding in an apartment in Miami because they are in the country illegally. Manuela runs away and enters a world of werewolves and witches, where she tries to discover the truth about her father, who she has never met.

The beginning of this book reads like a hard-hitting contemporary about immigration. Garber’s writing was lyrical, and considering the world over the past couple of years, I thought it was very fitting. However, about thirty percent into the book the author lost her beautiful prose and relied on typical writing tropes that many YA books suffer from. Too much description with the character’s eyes, conveying feelings and actions through eyes.  I was reminded so often about each character’s eye color anytime they came back onto the page. That to me, they were known as ‘sapphire blue boy’ or ‘yellow-eyed girl.’ 

The characters themselves were sorely underdeveloped. Considering all that Manuela has gone through in the beginning of the novel it really bothered me that the second she entered into this magical world she stopped thinking about her grandmother who she lives with or her mom. She turned into a completely different character.

The fantastical world that the book was set in was also underdeveloped. There was barely any world-building and a novel that is juggling both witches and werewolves. For me to enjoy, the book needs to have a stable world where the story takes place. I will believe anything in a fantasy novel if I can understand the world it’s set in. The idea of the book is really interesting. But, the execution itself leaves a lot to be desired.
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We're going through a big witch phase kind of in general, but especially in YA fiction. Although there are some great books with werewolves in them, they never really had their chance to shine the ways vampires, fairies, angels, and witches have. So I was really excited to read this book. But of course, there's a lot more brewing under the surface, and I thought that the magic in this world, and what it represents, was brilliant, and perhaps the best part of the book. The premise of the magic is something that's been done before, but Garber deconstructs it in a careful and thought-provoking manner. Magic in this world is seemingly divided by sex, where men are lobizones/werewolves and women brujas/witches. Werewolves and witches are often categorized that way in fiction (and folklore!), and this is at the very least the third time I've encountered a book where there is only one female werewolf (the others are Bitten and Eclipse), so this is definitely a bit of a trope. But Garber really turns that on its head and deconstructs what it means to be "the first" and the "the only" of something, especially if you're a woman. It's a nuanced look, one that challenges a lot of the individualist tendencies of feminism, but in a way I believe was especially productive and truthful. Of course, Manu's status as an immigrant definitely contributes to this nuance and makes it a particularly fruitful metaphor.

My only big complaint with this book is my usual one, which means it's more of a personal thing, but again I felt that Manu and Tiago fell in love kind of quickly, and I often found Tiago to be a bit underdeveloped, and definitely preferred reading about Saysa, Cata, and Manu. There were a lot of secondary characters, especially at their school, and I couldn't really tell them apart besides Diego and the misogynistic one (Carlos?), but that may perhaps be something for the second book.

However, this book is a must-read for anyone, and I quite literally devoured it.
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I liked this book, but I feel like it was going through a bunch of YA character tropes, just with an Argentinian spin. The fantasy world was unique and not like anything I’d read before, but the characters in here read like ones that I’ve read a thousand times. I also feel like the way the fantasy elements of the plot were incorporated took some of the urgency out of the real world elements of the story.

Manu was the main character, and I thought her voice was well done. It was first person from her POV, and her narration was easy to read and compelling. I liked the writing style in this book, too. 

The characters were predictable, but I did have fun reading them and reading their interactions. 

I do think that Manu was a little… dense at the beginning of the book. The easiest way I can explain my feelings about this is that the foreshadowing in the narration was too heavy handed. I got what was going on as a reader pretty early on, but Manu didn’t, and it was frustrating. 
She accepted things that didn’t make sense with real world human medicine, but then was surprised when some more of the fantastical elements came into play. Her eyes are so incredibly inhuman, but she couldn’t connect any of the dots until they were all lined up in front of her. It’s like she never looked up/googled anything related to herself, and, until now, has never seen how none of it makes sense. 

All in all, this book was fun, but a but frustrating.
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I really wanted to read this book because Lobizona has a theme I rarely find great stories for: werewolves. It also has witches, magic, and important contemporary themes like illegal immigration and finding where one belongs.

The sad thing is, I could not connect with the way Manu's story is told. I truly wanted to know more about the argentine culture, I was hoping for more of it interwoven with this story, but there were just bits and pieces. 
The beginning werewolf aspects were good but somehow it felt the same as with the culture: the reader is told how Manu's senses woke up more with every full moon but in my opinion the full extend of this wasn't explored.
It was mentioned, maybe shown in a few sentences, and then it vanished.
So since I didn't really feel it, I sadly did not finish this book.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this eARC.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is a wonderful story about finding yourself. Manu is our MC. She is an undocumented immigrants who just wants to have a normal life but in addition to the isolation posted by the terrors of ICE she has horrifically bad menstrual cramps that can only be eased by knocking her out with a mysterious medicine and she has strange, otherworldly eyes.

Manu's mother is arrested by ICE and Manu goes on the run with very few clues as to who she actually is.

What follows is a journey of self-discovery and Manu finding a place to belong only to discover if they find out what Manu actually is, she'll be killed.

This sounds like I'm spoiling it a lot,doesn't it? In absolutely not. There is so much going on in this delightful powerful book.
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4.75 stars

Iiii want/need more of this. 

Openly discussing periods and sanitary items within the first, like, five pages? Yes, please. Heavily peppering in Spanish language and Hispanic culture? Cool, let's go, I'm ready. And then there's the absolutely gorgeous way that Garber writes. I only had 72 hours to read this, but honestly, I still would have read this faster than that adorable Looney Tunes Roadrunner; it's just so, SO good. I appreciate that the author handles mid-teens appropriately (swearing, emotional, hormonal, etc), and that Garber interweaves our world with the book's alternative Earth, calling to light the current climate (read: ICE). There' are werewolves, magic, sentient shadows, space, Hogwarts ala Romina...  *insert happy sigh*

The only reason I didn't give it a full 5 stars were the few moments that characters seemed to lose their voice or the fewer times scenes played out awkwardly. Still, not enough to deter me from following this series to the end (and then buying the box set).
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I was really happy to get to try this book as an ARC from NetGallery

Picking up this book, the premise was really exciting. Witches, werewolves, magic and mobsters with a beautiful Argentinian twist!

Without spoiling too much, this was just not what I expected.

When you pick up books that are heavily based in non western culture, theres an expectation that you are going to be experiencing that culture though your characters and the world they inhabit- especially when the folklore of your fantasy is so rooted in culture. While yes, Lobizona made that attempt, it fell so woefully short it makes me want to cry! In the first 5 chapters is when this is most glaring. It feels like a list of South American tradition, food, and sports VS being a genuine cultural experience. The author will list something, like a food the character likes, or maybe a football jersey someone is wearing, and rather than dive into it, rapidfire this several times in a paragraph- then have a character speak in spanish to tie the bow on it.

This just doesn't do it for me. Maybe this would be more interesting to a different person, but I felt like the first half of the book, the author was trying their damnest to prove how Argentinian she was instead of telling a culturally inspired story. Over the course of the book, this does start to improve, but its a rough ride. The writing of it just wasn't good enough to justify the drag through the beginning.

I also struggled with some of the YA tropeyness of it. I wasn't sold on the tone of the book, so when it came to aspects of it like the romance (slightly forbidden with a taste of cheating) and the typical chosen one plot, I just didn't have patience for it.

In an ever expanding library of culturally significant YA with increasingly diverse characters, we don't need to settle for below average stories anymore. So why bother?
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@wednesdaybooks sent me this eARC to read and review.  Lobizona by @rominagarber took me on a wild adventure.  The summary intrigued me, but I was unsure if I would really enjoy it, but let me tell you this book exceeded all expectations.  This story captured my attention and stole a piece of my heart. This is a book that needs passed around to everybody.  What a powerful message of love and hope and acceptance. My mind was opened and my heart was  changed and I need book 2 right now! .
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Oh wow! I loved this! If Harry Potter was Latina and a werewolf, then you would get the mc of Lobinoza! I loved of diverse this was, as I can definatley see this being a hot book.
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