Cover Image: Reclaim the Stars

Reclaim the Stars

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Member Reviews

Reclaim the Stars is a collection of science fiction and fantasy filled with unapologetically Latine stories!

     I was so excited to read this collection! It was full of so many great story ideas and authors who I’ve been wanting to read from! Sadly, I was disappointed and couldn’t finish this book. 

     First, I just want to say that I really enjoyed the stories The Tin Man by Lilliam Rivera and This is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro! I gave both of those stories four stars individually. That being said, I got through eight stories in this collection and those are the only two I enjoyed at all. For the other six I read, I gave them either two stars or below or I just couldn’t make myself finish them. 

     I spent almost every story confused. Nothing was explained. The world building was just not there. I don’t expect the same amount of world building that would be in a 500 page fantasy novel, but I do expect to be able to picture what is going on in the story. Most of the stories I read were just not fleshed out very well at all. I’ve been trying to read this since January and I just don’t think I can try anymore. 

     I am not at all trying to discourage anyone from reading this collection. I think people should at least give it a try because I absolutely love the idea of a collection of SFF Latine stories. The execution wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not for everyone. So give this a try if you don’t mind less explanation  in your stories and more vibes and atmosphere! And don’t forget, I did really enjoy Lilliam Rivera and Mark Oshiro’s stories! I’ll definitely be reading more from them in the future!

1.5 stars rounded up to 2.

Thank you NetGalley and Wednesday Books for this arc. All opinions are my own.
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This book was an interesting blend of fantasy and sci-fi stories. I would love to see many of them as fleshed out novels! I loved learning about the many different cultures of the protagonists and I liked many of the worlds that were built in a very short time!
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This is a very strong anthology of short (mostly) fantasy stories with a vibrant cover. I was wowed by several stories and liked them all. I would read more of these authors.
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These short stories were captivating and very thought provoking. As i often do with short stories, I always find myself wanting more. Each story was gripping and when it ended you were like “wait a minute”. I found myself thinking of the characters long after the story was over. I tried to listen to this slowly so I wouldn’t get the different stories mixed up but overall a great anthology that is perfect to introduce you to new authors!
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Who can resist an anthology full of magical realism and stars? I certainly can't. Reclaim the Stars consists of seventeen short stories, all of which are centered around one main subject: space and the stars beyond. That is not the only element tying these stories together, as they all feature the Latin American diaspora. In other words – this is an absolute must-read!

There are so many talented authors involved in this project, including ita Ayala, David Bowles, J.C. Cervantes, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibanez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Circe Moskowitz, Maya Motayne, Linda Raquel Nieves Perez, Daniel Jose Older, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro, and Lilliam Rivera. I'm going to try a slightly different review format down below and just stick to my immediate reactions to every short. We'll see how I like this format going forward?

Reign of Diamonds by Anna-Marie Mclemore
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Reign of Diamonds is a classic sapphic and enemies-to-lovers story, which is always a delight in my book. It's a solid start to the anthology and helps set the tone for what is to come. In other words, it's perfect.

Flecha by Daniel Jose Older
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Flecha is apparently a prequel to Daniel Jose Older's Flood City, so now I'm going to be adding that book to my TBR. As if I wasn't already drowning in books. But I want to see how the story develops from here.

The First Day of Us by David Bowles
Rating: ★ ★ ★
I found The First Day of Us to be mildly confusing, mostly due to the perspectives. I don't normally have an issue following along with this style though, so it might have been the mood/tiredness level I was in?

The Tin Man by Lilliam Rivera
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Tin Man is super sweet, and quickly became one of my favorites from this anthology. It stands out a bit in my mind even now, so I would really make a point of reading this short story if you get the chance.

This is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Ohh, if you love tales of rebellions and the like, then you're really going to enjoy This is Our Manifesto.

Creatures of Kings by Circe Moskowitz
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Dark and twisted – just the way I like it. I honestly would do just about anything to get more of this story. No seriously, what do I need to do?

Eterno by J.C. Cervantes
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Okay, Eterno is another contender for top shorts in this anthology. I would read a thousand more pages if they existed if only to get a chance to see more of the world and mythos within.

White Water, Blue Ocean by Linda Raquel Nieves Perez
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Family curses and acceptance? This is my jam. I really enjoyed White Water, Blue Ocean – the writing was strong and the themes even stronger.

Leyenda by Romina Garber
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
There are a lot of tropes in Leyenda – but that actually made it a lot of fun for me. I could totally see this one getting extended, though I'm happy with what was already made available.

Color-Coded by Maya Motayne
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Okay, I love the core concept of Color-Coded. It's quite clever. We have obvious tropes/elements such as puberty and teens, but we also have magical realism. The two merge together in surprising ways, making for an entertaining read.

Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Luz is a fantastic leading character for this story, and honestly? I'm saying it a lot with this anthology, but I mean it: I want more.

Rogue Enchantments by Isobel Ibanez
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Another really sweet short story. Rogue Enchantments is basically set to steal all our hearts, and you can't convince me otherwise.

Sumaiko Y La Sirena by Vita Ayala
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Fairytales and romance blend together (again) to create the foundation for Sumaiko Y La Sirena. It worked really well here, especially as Vita Ayala's writing is phenomenal (as always).

River People by Yamile Saied Mendez
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
The title is quite indicative of this tale, and there is SO much depth hidden within this one. I honestly was sad when it ended.

Moonglow by Sara Faring
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Moonglow is an extremely strong and powerful read. However, it is definitely not for everyone. Trigger warnings include abortions, detailed medical issues, emotional abuse/trauma.

Killing El Chivo by Claribel A. Ortega
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Avenging witches! Assemble? But seriously, once again I love the core concept of this tale. Killing El Chivo made for a tense but great read, one that wasn't afraid to toy with my anxiety.

Tame the Wicked Night by Zoraida Cordova
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Tame the Wicked Night is essentially a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – and I LOVE it. It's so much richer than the original, and I want more.
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Reclaim the stars if full of beautifully written short stories. Each one grabbed my attention and I was kind of sad when it had to end. I was so happy to see that a whole group of Latin writers were getting together to write this book. As a fellow Latina it made he so excited to see people like me share their stories. 
The characters that were introduced has so much depth and the settings were so magical. 
Thank you netgalley for sharing this copy with me.
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These stories by Latinx authors spanned sci-fi, contemporary fantasy, and high fantasy and often drew from the authors' respective cultures. I did not read all of the stories (there were several authors who are known for being anti-Indigenous) but I enjoyed most of the stories I did read. The speculative elements were almost always well-integrated. My favorite stories were Eterno by JC Cervantes, Color-Coded by Maya Motayne, Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno, and River People by Yamile Saied Méndez.
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I enjoyed these stories!  The break up of three parts made it a little more understandable, however I wonder if that's the reason I compared stories that where in the same section.  

There where some that I very much enjoyed (Tame the Wicked Night by Zoraida Cordova!), but some that I wish were longer and more fleshed out.  I think some of them can stand to be full novels in their own right vs this shortened version of what we received.
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I've recently discovered that I love short story collections, so when this one came up, I couldn't resist giving it a go, and boy am I glad I did. I do wish it had less of a "young adult feel", though I do still love YA. The collection was really interesting and, as always with this type of work, some stories I lvoed and others I could have done without. Tame the Wicked Night, Reign of Diamonds, and Creatures of Kings were definitely my favorites, but I still found myself entertained by most of the stories here. Despite them all being different, they still flowed together rather nicely and made for a really unique and exciting collection.
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Reclaim the Stars is an anthology of seventeen unique science fiction and fantasy short stories that are all rooted in Latin American mythology, language, and existence. I have featured three select pieces from the different sections of the collection that highlight the wide variety of settings, relationships, and magic systems at play throughout. I personally recommend them all because they are unforgettable and left me hoping for more.  

“Even with telescopios, no one could have seen through the swirling atmosphere that I was still breathing. They could not have seen the shape of Ignacia’s lips, how many times she said my name.”
The first piece within Reclaim the Stars, “Reign of Diamonds,” is a beautiful introduction to the Latin American-inspired sci-fi and fantasy stories that await. With a wonderful mix of detailed storytelling and realistic characters, I was rooting for a happy ending from the first page. Anna-Marie McLemore weaves together a literal star-crossed love story as the heroine must fight to the death to maintain her family’s control over the La Ruta interstellar trade route. However, it will not come easily as her rival is another woman who has become more familiar than an enemy kept close. 

“Reign of Diamonds” was possibly my favorite story in the collection, partially because of the undeniable queer representation. Mainly, though, it’s because of the way that McLemore seamlessly integrates the futuristic and cosmic storytelling with the very realistic, central romance between two brokenhearted but ultimately warring women. Spanish is also intermixed with great care, so that English-only readers, like myself, are able to understand. This ultimately grounded the relationships and worldbuilding beyond the science fiction elements. I found myself constantly returning to this sapphic, galactic Romeo and Juliet with a much happier ending.

“Panic urged me away, the usual reaction to the cursed foam that was slowly pouring from her eyes and ears, surrounding both of us in a bubble of rotten clouds.”
If the women in your family are cursed to rot from the inside out with every lie, and the men are destined to never love, how can you live any semblance of a normal life as a nonbinary person? Gabriel carries with them the generational, maldición eterna, which began when a female ancestor was forced by her family to lie and deny her love for a goddess. This fantasy story is based in the real world, allowing Gabriel’s mother and father to have freedom of choice and love far away from their family’s whispering ocean shore and the cloying stench of relatives pretending to accept you. 

This piece entitled “White Water, Blue Ocean” by Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez primarily explores traditional familial expectations, and how for many young queer people, your very identity can break apart those relationships. Gabriel’s relationship with their father is a particularly bright spot in this story. Gabriel’s mother’s family holds the curse, and Gabriel’s father can sympathize with not fitting in with the dysfunctional family. The lore within Pérez’s story is very well integrated between the trauma, but I will warn any potential readers that Gabriel is deadnamed and intentionally misgendered by their family multiple times. It is overall a realistic (and magical) examination of the repercussions of ancestral lying and broken family dynamics.

“This is the story about the boy who would unleash an ancient power for the sweet sin of a banished god’s love.”
The final story of the anthology, “Tame the Wicked Night,” by collection editor Zoraida Córdova is an interesting fusion of historical fiction, Latin American mythology, and transformative romance. Aurelio Saturnelio becomes the head of his family’s house when his older brother goes to war. With his immense abilities to influence the growth of plants, he finds more solace in nature and with the animals around him than with any other human. When Aurelio must enter the deadly Midnight Mountains to slay a beast called the wicked night as penance for rejecting a marriage proposal, he is met with a fascinating monster-woman, who is perhaps the true love that Aurelio has been searching for.

I chose to include this concluding piece from the anthology because it encapsulates the magic, romance, and self-identity that each story within Reclaim the Stars searches for. Aurelio and the monster goddess, Solana, quickly fall in love because they are able to relate to each other as outcasts. I really enjoyed the unique dynamic of a man willing to leave his entire world behind for the one woman who makes him happy. The writing is superb with quick and funny dialogue and very detailed depictions of the fictional country. Zoraida Córdova’s final story echoes back to her introduction about the impossible magic that readers once believed in through beautiful Latin-American stories of love, violence, magic, and healing.

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing us with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

PRR Writer and Editor, Kayla Chandler
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This is a great selection of SFF short stories from Latinx authors - I really loved the range of worlds and styles within. I found it a bit jarring to jump from world to world, but that was a "me as a reader" problem, not a problem of this book. I love Cordova's work and this book is no exception. What an excellent collection!
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“For many people in Latin America, and those living in the diaspora, science fiction and fantasy is the now. Communities ravaged by climate change. Myths that live in our islands and rivers and seas. Violence that leaves the imprint of ghosts through generations and into the future. And yet, when it comes to our literature, there are a million stories that have yet to be told. Let’s start with these seventeen.” — Zoraida Córdova

Split into three sections (To the Stars, The Magical Now, and Other Times, Other Realms), Reclaim the Stars is full of young adult speculative fiction from the Latin American diaspora. 

I allowed myself to DNF the one story I really didn’t vibe with, and otherwise had an average rating of 3.45. My absolute favorite story was This Is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro (despite my deep dislike of his 2021 Each of Us a Desert). 

Rounding up to 4 stars  because I enjoyed many of the stories.
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An absolutely wonderful collection of short stories! I think I have figured myself out here — I need a collection of stories, centered around a theme or idea, but by different authors. I like the variety this type of collection offers — not just with the authors, but also with the styles and approaches varying from story to story.

Córdova has gathered together an offering that spans a variety of ways to tell a space-fantasy story, a magical realism story, and a fairytale. The diverse representation was refreshing — from authors and characters. I wish I could have made Reclaim the Stars last — at least I have already purchased the hardcover for myself. These were almost all absolute winners and it's hard to choose a favorite.
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This is a fascinating collection of science-fiction stories, the likes of which I've never read before. Each one is filled with culture and language that I'm unfamiliar with, yet none of it was too difficult to sift through. 

The trouble I had was with the language used, which I believe was Spanish. Most of the time, it wasn't a problem because the author gave context to the language. But a couple of the stories didn't and I ended up spending time trying to figure out what the characters were saying to one another. It isn't a bad thing that Spanish was included in these stories: it's actually amazing and awesome that it is. It prompts more readers to become interested in the language and cultures associated with it. As an English speaker with knowledge of German, it took me out of the story at times and I struggled to get back in. However, I highly recommend that people read this book no matter what their language or background. I would also recommend using a translator for some moments, though.

The plots of the stories themselves are all phenomenal. I love the massive amounts of creativity that went into them and I wish that they were all longer. As with many short stories, I find myself wanting more character, more development, and bigger plots. I'll be checking out some of the other works by these authors in the future, hoping for longer adventures.
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I'm a fan of short stories and am always thrilled to see what will tie the theme of the collection together. This one has some of my favorite authors and I was not disappointed to read any of them. 

Nothing lagged or felt out of place. If you're looking for soft things or exciting things you'll find what you're looking for here.
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RECLAIM THE STARS is a wonderful anthology with a line up of consistently good quality stories that are both delightfully entertaining and culturally significant. The genre blend of science fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction do more than just entertain, they give the reader something to reflect on long after the reading is over. "Creatures of Kings" by Circe Moskowitz was the standout story for me and I would love to read a full novel based on it. Overall it's a great collection that I highly recommend.
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A very excellent collection of stories that draws the reader into each new world and keeps them there, engaged as the snippet of that story plays out. I love and hate anthology and short story collections for how short of a window we have to get to know the characters and worlds that we are introduced to. I almost always find myself wanting to learn more, to see more of that setting, to hear what happens next—but then we have to move on to the next story where I am drawn in again. But even though the time allotted is small, it is still so incredibly fun to see these parts of a larger design, as though catching a glimpse of someone through a coffee shop window. You won’t see them again, but you know they exist, and they are in your world.

It was really great to see stories from familiar and new authors (I’m especially excited I finally got to read something from Circe Moskowitz, whose debut I’ve been anticipating for years!) and see familiar writing styles bring forth new and exciting things (thinking especially of Nina Moreno, whose voice is so recognizable and lovely and I *loved* her story in Reclaim the Stars).
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (via Netgalley)

A nice collection of stories. Some I enjoyed more than others and wished they were longer!
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Overall, this was a solid anthology with mostly positive stories that I would definitely recommend. I liked the variety of sci-fi and fantasy, the different settings, and the different cultures. Several of these stories had good diversity as well. I would definitely look up several authors who were new to me! I’ve included some notes about each story below, as well as some general rankings for how I felt about them..

To the Stars: this section was mostly sci-fi

Reign of Diamonds - Anna-Marie McLemore
This was very short, but I liked this a lot. We have two rival princesses set to duel to the death, but they love each other. It ended how I hoped, which I liked! I was intrigued by the worlds and powers and thought that this blended sci-fi and fantasy elements in a fun way. I would read a full book about this. Enjoyment: high

Flecha - Daniel Jose Older
This was pretty well written, and I liked the general premise. This has some found family vibes with the main character and her partner/friend. There were definitely some high stakes and deals with finding out rough things. I liked the tie in with some folklore elements of the hunter god. I would read more to see the aftermath of this and what comes next. Enjoyment: middle-high

The First Day of Us - David Bowles
This was basically a high school but in space with some sci-fi tech research that seemed interesting. There was representation for polyamory and non-binary characters. This was somewhat interesting and cute, though I didn’t love the second person tense. This was mostly a story of a relationship forming. Enjoyment: middle

The Tin Man - Lilliam Rivera
This was really weird and kinda sad. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting after some sort of disease, and the main character is the only survivor nearby until something appears. I felt like this was just rather melancholy and didn’t like it much. Enjoyment: mid-low

This Is Our Manifesto - Mark Oshiro
This can be summarized mostly as “Oh damn.” I felt satisfied with this as a story. It deals with wrongful incarceration of teens and is all about trying to right wrongs, protest against racism, etc. This felt powerful and had some good diversity here with LGBTQ and Latinx characters. I would also read a full story of this. Enjoyment: high

The Magical Now: this section was more of an urban fantasy type of vibe

Creatures of Kings - Circe Moskowitz
This was an interesting idea but kinda sad in some ways. It’s almost like not truly living until death. There’s a somewhat neglectful mom not telling her daughter about her heritage, and another character makes some rather terrible choices, but this story was alright. Enjoyment: mid - low

Eterno - JC Cervantes
This was a second story about death, but I definitely liked this more. It’s about a sort of reaper who takes the dark in people but falls in love. It’s rather tragic but sweet, and I felt like the idea of these Eternos was interesting. Enjoyment: high

White Water, Blue Ocean - Linda Raquel Nieves Perez
Interesting idea of family curse where they can’t lie without a visual/olfactory tell. This deals with families not understanding or accepting those who are different. Content warnings for deadnames and family members using them repeatedly. This didn’t quite click for me though I can appreciate what it was going for. Enjoyment: mid-low

Leyenda - Romina Garber (set in Wolves of No World series)
I was really excited to return to this world. It’s very gender based with women being witches and men being werewolves, but Zaybet is trying to make a difference. She wants to enact change for women in society to have a bigger role and more of a say/the same rights as the men. I loved that she has water powers! Really liked her as a character too. This reminds me that I definitely need to read book 2. Enjoyment: highest

Color-Coded - Maya Motayne
Liked this idea! Here, there’s the “change” where teenage girls’ hair color changes indicating that they will develop powers. I liked the idea of the magic colors, especially because that seems fun to play around with. The story ends on a pretty abrupt note though, and I would have liked more to it. Enjoyment: high

Magical Offerings - Nina Moreno
A bit strange - I’m not entirely sure what happened but it was kinda interesting? I liked the gator and the putt putt course renovation. I guess this is generally about finding a home for yourself? Enjoyment: mid or mid-low

Other Times, Other Realms: this section is mostly high fantasy with some urban fantasy

Rogue Enchantments - Isabel Ibañez
Graciela inherits her grandmother’s stall in the market and wants to sell her enchanted art supplies, but other people aren’t happy that it was given to her instead of someone else and want her out. I actually really enjoyed this story and was a fan of the types of magic at the market. There’s magic art (I wish I had this) and things like enchantments to keep your plants alive forever, wooden figures that come to life, and more. I liked Graciela overall too - she seems good natured and tenacious. I also liked that the dead attend the market at night. Enjoyment: highest

Sumaiko y La Sirena- Vita Ayala
Definitely a darker tone here with men trying to take advantage of women who work for them, but I really liked how this turned out. I enjoyed the connection with the sea and La Sirena - it reminds me of selkies with not being able to return without the skin/scales. I enjoyed the romance here and wanted them to be together. Suma just wants to be free, and I can definitely sympathize with her. Enjoyment: high

River People - Yamile Saied Mendez
This involves immigrants from Ireland to Argentina (I think?). Malena can hear ghosts and the river god and is warned that something bad will happen to her family. I enjoyed her trying to stop this, even when her own brother tells her she’s just a woman, what can she do? She is willing to do what it takes to keep her family safe. I really liked her overall and her connection with the river. She and her family are just trying to make a life for themselves and have to overcome hardships, but some family members have adapted to their new lives while others haven’t. Enjoyment: high

Moonglow - Sara Faring
This was weird and confusing, and I’m not entirely sure what happened. I would describe this as more magical realism (which generally doesn’t work as well for me). We have a family where the father has kicked them out to live with his mistress instead. I liked some of the resolution, but it’s very odd. Content warnings for abortion. Enjoyment: low

Killing El Chivo- Claribel A. Ortega
A story of rebellion and vengeance. There are three sisters with powers who try to overthrow a dictator creature. This was also a little confusing, and I’m not sure I really felt much for this. Enjoyment: mid-low or low

Tame the Wicked Night - Zoraida Cordova
This had a somewhat abrupt ending, but I guess you can fill in the gaps/use your imagination (though I would have liked to see where this went). I enjoyed the story and romance, and I liked the idea of having magic for growing plants and how the darkness wasn’t what it initially seemed. This was predictable in terms of where the romance went, but I really enjoyed it. I liked that our main character is a male and that he does not want to marry someone he doesn’t love and ends up setting off on a quest since that feels like a bit of a gender flip here of this type of story. Enjoyment: mid-high

My video review can be seen on my booktube channel (around minutes 25:31-34:26 of this video):
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I tend to avoid short story anthologies because I feel like once you get a feel for the characters and stories it’s over. 17 fade to black endings where I am still wondering what happened next. Despite that, I really enjoyed most of these stories. This anthology introduced me to authors I would not have looked at otherwise

Favorites Included 
The Tin Man by Lilliam Rivera - She was already on my TBR but this bumped her up. I loved this story
This is Our Manifesto by Mark Oshiro - I would have never read him probably but I loved this short.
Creatures of Kings by Circe Moskowitz - this put this author on my radar I loved this story and she has a Graphic Novel out that i’m interested in checking out
White Water, Blue Ocean by Linda Raquel Nieves Perez - Fellow Plus Size Afro Boricua Non Binary! I loved their story and look forward to reading more by them
Leyenda by Romina Garber - This story felt more complete to me although I was curious about what happened after it ended when the true Leyenda found her brujas
Color-Coded by Maya Motayne - This was a fun story about how when girls turn of age their hair turns colorful colors and they then have some sort of magic power, the ending felt like a more complete story but I was also reading Girl On Fire and a similar thing happened w her mom in that GN that also goes unexplained so i'm a little tired of the mom who went missing dropping in suddenly trope.
Magical Offerings by Nina Moreno - was a complete story and I enjoyed it though it was a little - too perfect too happy at the end.
Sumaiko Y La Sirena by Vita Ayala - Loved this story and also felt like a complete story.

Overall I really enjoyed these short stories.
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