Member Reviews

It took me a while to get into this book, but once I was hooked, I couldn't put it down. The detail and world building is intense but fabulous and it was a great read.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an impartial review.

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3.5 stars!

I’M INVESTED!!!

I’m not 100% sure about the writing, but I am 100% sure about this cast of characters and my willingness to follow them everywhere and anywhere!!

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Full of insights pulled from other literature, Lobizona is a story with heart whose voice executes its mission of merging the fantastic with the real life tragic. The fact that it accomplishes all of this without being preachy or awkward is a testament of its own. Looking forward to reading the sequel.

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This was such a good book!!! I can’t wait for the next one. This author really knows how to build a world. I felt like I was in this book. I really appreciate that about an author.

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A truly captivating novel. I caught me by surprised how incredible well written it is. Spectacular work

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This was a bit average to me. I did find the message of belonging extremely powerful, but the rest fell a little flat for me, unfortunately.

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I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to review this book. I admit in my joy at joining NetGalley I may have been overzealous in my requesting numbers. As this book has already been published, I am choosing to work on the current upcoming publish date books in my que. As I complete those I will work on my backlogged request and will provide a review at that time. I again send my sincere thanks and apologies.

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Romina is wonderful . I loved the push pull of Manu's feelings about her family, the struggles with ancestral pain and the use of magic to focus on the issues surrounding marginalized identities of Latin descent.

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Easy 5/5 stars! Beautiful POC novel. I was immursed into the culture of this book, and loved every second of it. Definitely one of my top 3 books for the year!

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I am soooo disappointed :(

You ever feel so strongly that you ~should~ like a book that you end up really disappointed with yourself for not?? That's how I am with Lobizona. It has all the makings of a story I would really enjoy, but I just can't get behind it. I loved the first 25%, but after that, it really needed to be fleshed out more. I expected more about ICE, immigration, and her familial history/culture, which were discussed in the first 25%, but then were nearly completely dismissed. Considering they play such a large part in the synopsis I expected more. After that point, it's essentially an Argentine-inspired Hogwarts story. I LOVED learning more about Argentine culture, but it just didn't make up for the lack of connection I felt towards the characters and plot. I was just expecting something SO different based on the synopsis and it isn't at all what I got.

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for an eARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Lobizona is a #OwnVoices YA Fantasy novel based on Argentinian folklore. Manu and her mom are undocumented immigrants hiding from ICE and Manu's father's crime family. Manu is special, the stars in her eyes tell us this, she just doesn't know how special yet.

In this story Romina Garber addresses some of the more painful aspects of immigration in the United States while creating a well cared for, colorful, culturally unique fantasy world that helps readers feel a sense of belonging.

I'm curious to see how the story and relationships between the characters develop. I can't wait for the next book.

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Lobizona was a fantastic read with Argentine culture and folklore featuring witches and werewolves. Manu, the MC, has such a captivating background the reader can't help but become engaged in the story. She starts off living illegally and in hiding with her mother and family friend. Her mother eventually gets detained by ICE and in her search for her, Manu finds herself at a magical school for witches and werewolves.
There was romance subplot that I wasn't too interested in at first, but eventually got on board. Many of the side characters were likeable that added some drama/intrigue to the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fantasy, magic, mythology, folklore, or paranormal genres.

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I love when an author forces their reader to make connections, to see how this fantastical,magical world has the same the injustices as our world. For some readers who have suffered these injustices it will give them a home in the pages, a feeling of being seen and heard in a world that might otherwise seem to not be listening. For those who are ignorant to these injustices hopefully it will make them rethink what their home should look like and how they could be better humans to everyone.

Manu lives a sheltered life, she believes because she is undocumented living in Miami. That facade comes crashing down when she realizes she is an “other” or an “illegal” in other worlds besides ours. As she battles to find a sense of belonging in her otherness she also finds herself battling the misogyny of more than one culture and the gender roles forced on all individuals. Through her friends, family and new tribe Manu begins to find herald. I loved this book qnd can’t wait for the second in the series

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This was a beautiful story about the exploration of immigration, acceptance, gender, and so much more in a package rich with folklore. The magic and mystery mixed with the beautiful writing drew me in and kept me intrigued through the whole book. Not only that but the emotions this book made me feel was overwhelming. This is such a timely and relatable read to so many people and I felt for Manu in her journey of family and self-acceptance.

Simply beautiful.

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In the stunning novel by Romina Garber, "Lobizona", character Manuela Azul is faced with the terrifying reality that she does not belong in the human world... or the magical one. Fearful of her life as she tries to avoid ICE in the United States, Manu must also protect the secret that she is a magical being seen as a disgrace to those of the magical realm. Forced to uncover the story of her past and the heritage that had be kept hidden to her her whole life, Manu races against time when not only her and her family are in danger but the entire existence of her kind.

Slow to start, the novel is highly recommended for individuals who want a new, and relevant, story to add to their fantasy reads.

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I’m disappointed to say that this one seemed to miss its mark. It continually felt like something was off and it wasn’t sure what direction it wanted to go.

On one hand, I felt as though the cultural aspects, commentary on and representation of immigration in the United States, and challenging of gender stereotypes and norms were the most powerful parts of this book. It was refreshing to see a modern world, with modern systems of oppression represented in this story, particularly one that weaves magical realism into its storyline.

However, I also felt like this book took quite a lot of time to really get going and even when it finally did, it was difficult to ascertain the direction of the story. To a degree, it felt as though it was simply circling around everything Manu has happening in her life, without actually jumping in to tackle any of it until well past the halfway point.

I was also uncomfortable with all of the allusions to a certain bestselling series that also features a magical boarding school. I certainly understand how important it is to Manu and it’s significance to the themes of this story, but it was almost -too- obvious a piece of the story, to the degree it was overshadowed at times. I believe the story would have been stronger without the allusions.

The premise in this is great and I definitely enjoyed Manu’s discovery of the school and making friends with her classmates and discovering more about who she is, but it takes too long to take off and once it does, it seems to be split down too many paths. It takes over half of the book for a specific event to occur, despite knowing it was coming from the very first chapter.

I was tempted to set this book aside a few times, but I really wanted to give it a chance and definitely am interested in Manu’s journey. I’m just not sure this book truly has much to offer as far as the magical realism and fantasy aspects go. The aspects of Manu’s human life/world were infinitely more compelling and the strongest part of the plot.

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CW: homophobia, bigotry, sexism, fear of deportation, ICE, menstruation talk

Manuela, Manu, has never felt like she fit in. Living undocumented in Miami, Florida she is always looking over her shoulder, cautious. If that wasn’t enough, her eyes also mark her as different with their vibrant yellow hue and star shaped pupils. Through a series of events, Manu loses everyone she could depend on, Perla and her mom, she barely escapes. On the run, she finds a school for witches and werewolves and despite not being either, Manu finds a way to get into the school where she can start discovering herself.

I was excited about this book. Witches, werewolves, magical school, competition, I thought I would fall in love with this story, but I didn’t. I didn’t click with <i>Lobizona</i> and that breaks my heart a little bit. I was thrilled to dive into Argentinian folklore and ended up being disappointed in it.

<i>Lobizona</i> started off fast, albeit with a difficult scene, and I was interested. I was eager to see where the story would go and continued that way for a while. Then, it started to feel a little repetitive for me. I fully understand that I am not the audience that fear of deportation is really going to resonate with, I can try to understand the best I can, but I will never understand, I know that, so it does feel that the author really wanted to drive home this aspect. It felt like anytime Manu felt like she didn’t belong she related it back to that experience. It was all because she never belonged. I understand having that moment relating back too and getting stuck in that rut of “this is why this is happening,” but this happened to the point where it felt pretty teen angst.

The romance simply wasn’t for me. I never connected with the characters or really believed the romance. Truthfully, it felt a little forced to me.

Also, there were Harry Potter references and while I understand that had a big cultural impact can we not?

I know I’m not the audience that this book could really impact, so I really hope that this book finds it’s way to those individuals that it could impact not only through the talks of how the fear of deportation could impact someone, but through the talks of women trying to break from the roles and expectations that are put on them so that they can be who they truly are.

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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.

This book starts off quiet, for both the reader and the main character, Manu. There is a quietness to the way Manu lives her everyday life, due to her situation, that the reader can clearly see and feel. However, things soon pick up and take off like a rocket. While some may struggle to get past the seemingly non-magical opening chapters, I definitely encourage readers to push through, as the payout is exceptional. The story is filled with heart and plenty of twists and surprises.

Manu is an intriguing main character. She seems to stumble through most of her scenes and accidently find herself in the way of most of her obstacles, as well as the solutions. I appreciated such a down to earth protagonist. I also loved the supporting characters, who were all well developed and intriguing. Even the secondary characters stood out in my memory long after finishing the story.

The world the author created for this story is my favorite part of the book. She manages to weave together reality and fantasy in a way that even the reader begins to question how much of the story could actually happen. This book features a dual world in a way that isn’t quite a portal fantasy but also shows a definite duality to the world Manu knows.

This book is a very appropriate modern-day take on the magical realism genre. The book takes a number of tropes and turns them on their head while incorporating real-world problems such as immigration and human rights. The author’s writing is absolutely beautiful as is the construction of her world and characters. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Young Adult Fantasy.

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I loved this book. I will definitely put this in my school library I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves YA fiction.

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LOBIZONA is an Argentinian-folklore-inspired YA fantasy that I tore through in one day!

Our young heroine, Manuela, has spent her entire life hiding in fear of being deported, hiding from her father’s Argentine crime family, and hiding her unique eyes behind sunglasses. When Manu’s mother is taken by ICE, she sets out for answers about her father’s family and his mysterious past. Her search takes her from Miami to a Hogwarts-style school for witches and werewolves who travel between worlds and come alive every full moon. In this magical world, Manu starts to discover who and what she really is.

This was such a fun, eye-opening read. Garber educates her readers on the struggles and injustices that undocumented immigrants endure every single day in this country. The incredible world-building takes us to a vivid, magical realm rich with Argentinian culture but much like our own modern society, this world is also plagued with bigotry. LOBIZONA explores heavy-hitting topics such as undocumented immigrants, race, gender roles, menstruation and all of the characters are Argentinian or Latin-X.

Garber has crafted a fantastical tale about family, friendship, belonging and what it means to be an immigrant. I highly recommend and cannot wait for the next book!

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