Lobizona - Review
For the B2Weird book of the month club pick, I got a chance to dive into the witchy/werewolf novel Lobizona by Romina Garber. Let me tell you; there was blood during the voting process between this book and something that has to do with space cats. Take what you want from that. Anywho, Lobizona won by a hair, and I am glad I get to check another TBR book off my list!
"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."
Let me go ahead and say that I will never understand the feelings and struggle immigrants go through. I will never know the fear of possibly be thrown in an ICE detention center, documented or not (thanks, Trump, you have indeed done a number in your Presidency). I can only watch the news in horror and listen to stories passed through the grapevine. So with that being said, Lobizona is a mirror I stepped through to learn and understand the conflict of our Spanish brethren.
Lobizona is basically an alternate daydream of the author’s life. Garber’s surroundings heavily influenced the book. With actual character names, her Argentinian heritage, and the massive amount of love for Harry Potter, this book was a personal spawn in the making. Garber is a well-read author who implemented some of her favorite novels into her Argentinian special. I can connect the sport Septibol to Quidditch from the Harry Potter series, and Women’s Rights is derived from The Handmaid’s Tale.
And speaking of Women’s Rights and The Handmaid’s Tale, the elements and the topic of immigration were the secondary themes in this novel. I like that Garber didn’t just spew out, “this boy hates this girl because she’s better than him,” but instead goes deeper to try and find an answer as to the thought process behind it. With so many political views being iterated, it’s a shock that the main character didn’t break down with anxiety. I’d even go as far as to say that the main character made sensible choices during her devil and angel shoulder moments. They were well thought out for the bigger picture rather than brash personal decisions.
Overall I rated this book 3.5 stars. There were a few loose ends I’m sure will be answered in Garber’s sequel, Cazadora, but it was enough to jar my attention away from the story. Again Lobizona wasn’t made for me, but it is heavily peppered with conversations in Spanish, so have your translators ready. It came in handy for me, although I did well-using context clues. The half star comes from the reveals towards the end of the book that I didn’t see coming. Surprised me! I’m currently in a reading slump, but that’s not stopping me from continuing the journey with Cazadora!