Release date: August 4th 2020
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.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.
triggers for sexual assault, prejudice, homophobia, and violence
Freshly wrought. Inked with permanence, like documents. Rooted in colonialism and rebellion, Garber’s Lobizona shows the past impacts the future. Remember the stories of immigrants and their experiences. Through the past and into magical portals, we see magic has room for Argentinean teens.
Manuela’s life is centered by her identity as an Argentinean immigrant living in the United States. Documents surround her existence, a constant reminder of what will arrive in the mail. Her mother, taken by ICE, forces Manuela to see a new life: one of magic, transformation, and true origins.
Lobizón refers to the myth of the South American werewolf. It stems from European werewolf myths with the luison, which is from the stories of the Guaraní, an indigenous tribe in South America.
Garber forms a world of banned books, magical institutes, of law enforcement and military control, documents and identity, rage and binary systems, icy witches and sporty werewolves. Inspired by the impacts the tyrannical and violent military dictatorship, Guerra Sucia, had on her people, Garber relates the trauma that undocumented immigrants experience by using fantasy as a medium to tell a beautiful and enjoyable story.
Manu walks through the mist and enters a portal and into a magical world: El Laberinto, a territory of brujas and werewolves (or Septimus).
Lets just stop for a second. Please just appreciate that a magical Latinx led academy is right smack in the Everglades. Racist Hogwarts can’t compare.
Manuella’s references to Harry Potter remind me that this world isn’t exclusive to white magical kids. I want to point out that while Garber references Harry Potter she does so to make a point. She doesn’t praise or uplift it and instead seems to critique it negatively to make a point about the exclusivity of Rowling’s world.
This is a dream come true for all Latinx kids that felt they could never be worthy of seeing themselves in a magical story. Garber makes discussions around immigration, documents, and tyranny complex on a level that those outside of those experiences cannot. She has the range.
Welcome to the revolution, gentlepeople.
Manuella builds a tight knit group with Cata, Saysa, and Tiago. A group of gaggling puppy werewolves have their back at every turn. This book just gets better with each touch and every sentence. Guaranteed: this book will turn you into some frenzied ravenous werewolf and you’ll end up digging around in your fridge at 3 am for bookish snacks. I can’t say the last time a truly fun paranormal ever did that for me.
This book transformed into some furry sharp toothed book of magical rage and hot spicy relationships.
I am ride or die for this group. I am Han Solo runnning, shooting, screaming at the resistance; all be damned if his friends die. I’m all about the anti-toxic masculinity narratives Garber has for us. I’m all about boy werewolves that are sweet on their friends and bloody beasts against their enemies.
The way these boys fight against their binary world lights my heart on fire.
I don’t often read teen boys who are feminists. If you want girls who drone on about magical boys: Manu’s waxings on Tiagos’ ‘sonrisa’ eyes had me fainting like a feminist damsel in distress. Grave distress. Give me the burn! I pine for it daily. Give me a girl who waxes poetry about sweet eyes anytime. Can we also talk about how beautiful it is to hear two people speak sweet nothings in Spanish to each other? Lobizona has my whole heart.
These romantic monster fights is where literature is at. I accept no other questions at this time.
I will be waiting impatiently to assassinate my way through publishing in order to read all about Garber’s revolutionary brujas and lobizón.
Thank you Wedneday Books for an advanced readers copy via Netgalley.