Discover a magical new world in Lobizona by Romina Garber
You need to read Lobizona by Romina Garber.
I’m indeed a sucker for a good YA story, but I don’t feel the same about fantasy novels. I tried reading Harry Potter and only made it halfway through the first book. (I recognize I’m probably missing out.) Only watched Twilight (starting with the second movie) because 2012 was sold out that night at the movie theater. (I found it very problematic.)
I devoured The Hunger Games and Divergent series, but it was because I love to feed my dark side with the real scary stuff — collapsed social systems, chaos, and despair. Dystopian fiction is more my jam than anything that includes vampires, werewolves, or magical beings. (Are these even part of the same genre? I digress.)
It’s not that I think I won’t like it. I’m just not curious enough to want to invest time in reading it.
So, imagine my surprise when Lobizona by Romina Garber fell into my lap (actually, into my Kindle), and I couldn’t put it down.
Werewolves and witches that speak Spanish have captured my heart
Lobizona is the story of Manu, an undocumented immigrant from Argentina living in Miami, FL. Manu rarely leaves the small apartment she shares with her mom and their friend Perla for fear of being discovered by authorities. She doesn’t go to school or have friends. Books and trips to her building’s roof where she can look out to the world are her only escape.
When ICE takes her mother, Manu is forced to start making decisions on her own. Her instincts draw her to the back of a pickup van of a man she had seen wandering around her building. And, as she gets further and further away from the few blocks she’s existed in for most of her life, Manu feels like she might be getting closer to some of the answers that she has been seeking her whole life. Why is she different? Why has her mom been lying to her? Who is her father?
Manu already carried the heavy burden of her illegal immigration status in the United States. Similarly, in her search for answers, she finds her existence breaks other laws. Her quest for belonging might mostly take place in an imaginary realm, but her genuine struggle to define her identity and find her place in the world is one immigrants everywhere will recognize.
But, you don’t have to be an immigrant to love this book. Lobizona explores some very real struggles for teens coming of age in our sometimes intolerant and traditionalist world. You don’t have to be a teen either. Even my thirtysomething butt struggles with how rigid and unforgiving society can sometimes be.
How have you not preordered it already?
This book was beautifully narrated and is rich in Argentian folklore and culture. Garber is imaginative and detailed in her descriptions of scenery and feelings. My mind traveled to new and colorful places I would’ve never been able to visualize on my own.
As I read Lobizona, I appreciated how other popular YA novels, as well as Garber’s love for literature, are weaved into the story. She includes nods to the works Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen throughout her book.
I hope you will decide to explore Manu’s world. I can guarantee you an exciting journey through the courage of self-discovery, heartwarming first loves, unbreakable friendships, and unforgettable magic.