Cover Image: Lobizona


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DNFd about 40% in. I really did not enjoy this author’s writing style. I really wanted to love this book because I loved the concept and intent so much, but I just could not connect with the story.
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As an undocumented immigrant forced to hide from her father's Argentine crime family Manuela Azul's entire life has been compacted to fit inside one small apartment in Miami. When the woman she regards as her grandmother is assaulted in their apartment, Manu's life begins to unravel, her mother is caught in an ICE raid and lifelong secrets are brought to light. Suddenly homeless, alone, able to make her own decisions and without the answers she seeks Manu takes a risk of following a man she's seen casing her apartment marked by the only clue to her past she's got - a strange "Z" emblem.

Following the man leads her down the rabbit hole into a world hidden from our own - one that is connected to her father and his criminal past. This world is connected to the Argentine folklore regarding the seventh consecutive son being born a lobizón and the seventh daughter a bruja. It just might be a world that would allow her and her extraordinary eyes to be a part of something larger than herself. Finally among others able to help they delve into her past a part of which dates back to a historical city that was cursed in Argentina but Manu doesn't anticipate that her life is illegal and not just according to U.S. immigration laws.

The fact that the President of Argentina can become the godfather of the seventh son in a family is weirdly fascinating. This practice isn't inherently tied to the myth that a seventh son will turn into a werewolf after their thirteenth birthday but was a way for the President to stem the murders of seventh sons by adopting them as his godchildren. In my quick search I couldn't find anything regarding seventh daughters being associated with the same myth but if it does I shudder at the thought - it took nearly 70 years for the same rule to apply to daughters. This book is based upon being illegal and for Manu that applied in the real world and the fantastical one she discovered she was a part of. The actions in this novel could be a sensitive topic for some but it is not a violent novel.

"...Sometimes reality strays so far from what's rational that we can only explain it through fantasy."

The Argentinean folklore surrounding this novel regarding the lobizón and brujas is interesting - I enjoy stories about gods and goddesses from other cultures. This is the second book that I've read in one day so far this year and yes I'll admit I do have a soft spot for YA fantasy novels. I especially love to read novels like these after reading something difficult, time consuming or disturbing. The cover for Lobizona is absolutely beautiful and it is definitely something that I would pick up if I had just seen it sitting on a shelf in my local bookstore. This book does have a little dash of Harry Potter (even references) and a little bit of Twilight.

I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy YA, fantasy, folklore and paranormal/supernatural books. A big thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this splendid book. Thank you to Romina Garber for persevering to get Lobizona published - I loved it!
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It has its low points but it was overral an entertaining read. Felt close to home to see a cast formed only by latinxs, and the casually uses of Spanish. The queer represatation could have been better and the way the straight couples is the one that has to come out to the sapphic couple is just so... weird. don't care about any of this people's honestly but do care about the world, will continue reading
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I really enjoyed this YA fantasy. It explored Argentine folklore and paired it with a timely discussion of immigration issues. Manu is constrained by factors outside of her control: as an undocumented immigrant and one with highly distinctive eyes, she is forced to remain in an apartment to avoid drawing the attention of ICE, unable to work, attend school, or socialize, and she can't ever show her eyes to anyone other than her mother or Perla, the woman whose apartment they live in. On top of all of that, she has to take pills just to get through the pain during the first few days of her cycle, and each month, she notes a new physical change in her body.that she can't explain.

Although she isn't happy about her life the way it is, she doesn't see a way out. Until Perla is attacked and she goes to track down her mother, only to see her taken away by ICE agents. She discovers information that creates even more questions, and so she follows the only clue that she has. Which leads her straight to a hidden world that she likens to Harry Potter. 

That's where the story really gets interesting. As she faces challenges, discovers new information, socializes with people her own age who accept her for who she is, and realizes that it isn't just her immigration status that is illegal, it's her entire existence. She's forced to make some important decisions about her life - for the very first time.

I loved seeing the interactions between the characters, who often weren't what I expected. Seeing Manu come into her own and realize not only what she was, but what she could do, was one of my favorite parts of the book. The writing is beautiful and incorporates Spanish and English, making this story more relatable. The fact that it addresses personhood over legal status creates a story that is highly relevant to present day issues. 

In addition, the author creates an incredibly rich fantasy world, mixing in elements of actual Argentine folklore. It was a peek into the legends, culture, and social relationships within a culture different from my own. The way elements of nature were worked into the world-building was impressive, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series once it comes out!
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Romina Garber brings Argentine and Guaraní legends to center stage in this rich narrative that explores what it means to be “illegal”, and the bonds that connect people regardless of social and physical barriers. 

Manu and her mother, Soledad, are undocumented immigrants living in Miami, Florida. Because of this, Manu spends most of her days confined in their small apartment while her mother is at work. However, their undocumented status is not the only reason Manu and Soledad must stay in hiding - they are also on the run from Manu’s father’s criminal past. When Soledad is intercepted by ICE, Manu makes a run for it, and uses the only clues she has to find out more about her family: her oddly colored eyes and a mysterious symbol in the shape of a Z. What she finds will change her understanding of the world forever - as the world she finds is not entirely human.

This enchanting story, woven seamlessly with Spanish language and Argentine culture, will leave the reader eager for more. The plot is action-packed, yet still takes the time to introduce complex characters, each with their own motivations and histories. One cannot help but cheer on Manu as she and her friends piece together her past and fight against discrimination and injustice. Lobizona will be an exciting addition to every YA library, and will especially appeal to fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. OVERALL RATING: 4.5 stars.
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So I realized that selecting "will not give feedback" counts against my percentage, even though I was invited to read this😭

I picked it back up and stumbled through another couple chapters but I just can't read it.  Author lost me immediately when talking about a 3 day old pad, like why are we just being gross?  Also if we are going to do bits of other languages, translations should be provided if even elsewhere like a footnote or glossary. DNF at 30% with my apologies to the publisher and my thanks for the invitation
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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.
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I really enjoyed this book! It took werewolf lore to another level. There were some familiar aspects to it, but it was really interesting to see a fresh perspective. Entwined with some of the Argentinean culture, it was really fascinating. I found it relatable and interesting, it kept me hooked from start to finish.
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I absolutely loved this book amd how different this was! 
It was such a good read and I recommend t this book to anyone looking for something different
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For me, "Lobizona" is about finding ourselves, our place, our identity.
Between its pages, lies a story of self-discovery. A story about teenager who thinks she doesn't belong anywhere. A story about being an immigrant in a country where people think you are either "stealing jobs" or "stealing houses" if you're not white. A story about forbidden love. 
I really enjoyed the world-building. Being argentinian myself, it's the first time I see my culture represented in a YA fantasy book. If I had read this book as a kid, I would have been proud of my own culture sooner.
I loved how relationships between women was portrayed in the book. They NEVER compete for men's attention or try to ruin each other. And that's something we need to see more in YA books, other women are our friends, not our enemies.
If you have ever felt like an outcast, you'll like this book.
Loved this story and I'm SO ready for the second book!
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This is the first book in a fantasy series. This book is important and captivating. The writing is atmospheric and beautiful. The characters are well written and developed. A great read.
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Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I had high hopes for Lobizona - the first chapter was very intriguing, and a set up for talking about undocumented status and the injustice of the immigration system... with werewolves involved. I thought maybe it would fill that tiny piece of MTV's Teen Wolf missing in my heart, with deeper messages and better characters. So, knowing that, I may have set my expectations too unfairly high for this book, which I DNF'd at 40%. I'm going to eventually try to go back and finish it, but honestly, the writing and the characters really did not pull me in or make me want to stay in the world that was created. The full set up told me very little about Manu and her desires, or give me a big bad that felt tangible enough. At the point at which I finished, they had just introduced a full new slate of characters and a new chapter for Manu that didn't have any additional depth for me. I love the Argentinian folklore woven throughout but unfortunately, the magic was missing.
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"But why settle for being a son of the system, when you can mother a movement?" - Romina Garber 

Lobizona is going to take the book community by storm. Not only does Garber artfully build a new world for readers to fall in love with, but she also addresses relevant issues like gender roles, immigration, and sexuality.  

Manuela Azul, an undocumented immigrant on the run from her father's Argentine crime-family, lives in fear of being deported with her mom and her surrogate grandmother. Manu is stuck in a small apartment where she can only leave the confines of her complex if her mother and grandmother are with her. 

For three days every month, Manu is transported in her dreams to a fantastical new place. Each time she resurfaces from these dreams, things about her change. 

When her surrogate grandmother is attacked and her mother is arrested by ICE, Manu is thrusted into a situation she has no idea what to do about. Without anywhere to go or anyone to help her, Manu takes the reins of her life, for the first time, and tries to figure out who she is. 

She uses the only clue that is connected with her past - a "Z" emblem that leads her to a secret world hidden within our own. This world is straight from an Argentine folklore about brujas and lobizónes that Manu's mother used to tell her when she was a child. In this new world, Manu begins to uncover who she truly is and she finds out her entire existence is illegal (not only in the US but in the new world as well). 

Follow Manu as she discovers her real identity, makes new friends and even falls in love. 

This book is so important for the much needed diversifying of the YA Fantasy community. I can't wait to share this with my students. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Romina Garber, and Wednesday Books for a free arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you Netgalley and publishers for sending me this arc. I will be reviewing this book.properly in the near future with an honest teview.
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Thank you NetGalley St. Martin's Press for an arc! 

But why settle for being a son of the system, when you can mother a movement? 

I am going to level with you. I had a difficult time getting into this book. The last 20% really was what made it a fun read for me. It has a lot of important messages about community, alienation, and breaking free from the rigid barriers that society has   put in place. 

I don't know if I'll continue with the series but I do absolutely see how much value there is in Manu's story.
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This just didn't pull me in as I was expecting. It just felt incredibly generic once we got through the introductory chapters and just could not pull me in enough to make me care about the stakes. Interesting world-building but the plot wasn't for me.
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Such an amazing debut. With Harry Potter and Shadowhunter vibes, Garber is able to weave together a fantastic story by mixing together myth, reality, and the need to belong. By highlighting her Argentinian heritage, the author is able to create a wonderfully lush magical world.
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Note: Review to be posted to Goodreads on February 23, 2020 and on retail sites (Barnes & Noble, Amazon) upon publication date, May 5, 2020.

This eARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lobizona is the next “can’t miss” YA fantasy book, masterfully examining pressing political issues, such as immigration and gender equality, through the lens of both today’s reality and a fictional world of mythical creatures. Romina Garber takes readers on an unforgettable journey, in the same vein as Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, yet provides the diversity and representation needed in modern YA fantasy. Lobizona is truly exceptional, every page brimming with magic and wonder. Simply put, please read this book; you will most certainly not regret it. 

Strongly influenced by South American folklore, Lobizona tells Manu’s story of self-discovery while beautifully interweaving the myth of the Argentinian lobizón (werewolf). Manu’s narrative details her search for acceptance, set against a backdrop of worlds, both real and fantastical, who tell her she does not belong. Garber delightfully transports readers from real-world Miami to a secret, magical school for lobizones and brujas (werewolves and witches). Without giving too much away, let’s just say that Lobizona takes readers on quite the adventure, with unpredictable twists and turns at every corner.

Romina Garber’s writing in Lobizona is a tour de force, imaginatively breathing life into every page. From the lush, awe-inspiring sights of El Laberinto to the aromatics of an Argentinian-style parrillada (barbeque), she imbues the five senses in her descriptions, only further heightening your reading experience and submerging you into Manu’s story. In addition, Garber’s worldbuilding is exquisite and feels completely fresh and unique for the YA fantasy genre. No matter how swept away you are by the magical elements of Lobizona, her fictional world certainly echoes the very real struggles happening today and incites readers to fight for a better tomorrow.  

However, the characters were easily my favorite element of Lobizona, as they’re truly what makes this story come alive. Manu’s character is the female heroine needed in YA literature today, justifiably serving as a role model to young readers trying to understand their cultural identity and place in today’s world. Every character felt completely real and three-dimensional; even the most minor characters make a lasting impression. In addition, it was absolutely refreshing to see Garber fully embrace the Latinx roots of her character and celebrate their diversity. The minute I finished reading Lobizona, my heart was already aching to return back to these characters and dive back into this mystical world of lobizones. 

Lobizona is easily one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve ever read. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check out this book as soon as it’s released on May 5, 2020!
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First, a Thank You to NetGalley and the author for sending me this arc in exchange for an honest review!

This was such a fun, heart twisting read and it gave me all the feels! I loved the MC and her growth through out was just beautiful. The story was smooth paced and never once did it lose my attention. 

I can’t wait for this to come out so I can do a reread but in audio!
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Wow. This book was heartbreaking, raw, and powerful. I am so impressed with Romina Garber and her writing style. This YA Urban Fantasy was gripping right until the end. I am 100% here for the Argentinean folklore and the female empowered heroes journey.

Lobizona begins with Manu, an undocumented immigrant from Argentina who is in hiding due to her immigrant status and due to the unusual look to her eyes. She is a very thoughtful, caring, and intelligent young woman who is put in impossible situations due to her mother's choices. This book explores the very much real immigrant experience. My heart was pounding during the very first section of the book. I appreciated how heavily the Spanish was used, as it made Manu's life feel real to me. 

Finding a hidden school and the secrets about her father (whom she has been on the run from her entire life) also intrigued me, considering that those two things were tied together. I also appreciated the queer representation within this novel. I think that it's so important to represent all types of people and this book really took it to the next level without making it seem forced. Manu's life is a strange yet powerful one and I cannot wait to see what Romina does next.

Thank you so much for allowing me to read an advanced copy. I loved everything about it. This book goes on Sale 5/5/20 and is up for preorder now!
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