Mari and the Curse of El Cocodrilo
by Adrianna Cuevas
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Pub Date 03 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 01 Dec 2023
HarperCollins Children's Books, HarperCollins
From Pura Belpré Honor–winning author Adrianna Cuevas comes Mari and the Curse of El Cocodrilo, a new middle grade novel about a young Cuban American girl who must fight to break a curse of bad luck set upon her by El Cocodrilo when she rejects her family’s traditions.
If Mari Feijoo could, she would turn her family’s Peak Cubanity down a notch, just enough so that her snooping neighbor and classmate Mykenzye wouldn’t have anything to tease her about. That’s why this year, there’s no way that Mari’s joining in on one of the big-gest Feijoo family traditions—burning the New Year’s Eve effigy her abuela makes.
Only Mari never suspects that failing to toss her effigy in the fire would bring something much worse than sneering words at school: a curse of bad luck from El Cocodrilo. At first, it’s just possessed violins and grade sabotaging pencils, but once El Cocodrilo learns that he becomes more powerful with each new misery, her luck goes from bad to nightmarish as the curse spreads to her friend Keisha.
Instead of focusing on Mari’s mariachi band tryout and Keisha’s fencing tournament, the pair, along with their friend Juan Carlos, are racing against the clock to break the curse. But when Mari discovers her family’s gift to call upon their ancestors, she and her friends will have to find a way to work with the unexpected help that arrives from the far corners of Mari’s family tree. Only will it be enough to defeat El Cocodrilo before he makes their last year of elementary school the worst ever and tears their friendship apart?