Review: Lobizona by Romina Garber (Wolves of No World #1)

Lobizona by Romina Garber // VBC Review

Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1)
Romina Garber
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 (Wednesday Books)
Purchase at: Amazon or Bookshop
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Manu knows what it’s like to be invisible. Ever since she and her mother came to America undocumented, her world has consisted of her mother, her surrogate grandmother, and their tiny apartment. Manu has known that at any moment their lives could change. On the day her mother’s work is raided by ICE and Manu’s surrogate grandmother is attacked in their home, Manu is on her own for the first time in her life. Not knowing where else to go, she begins to follow the small clues she has about the identity of her father. Clues that lead her to a secret world. A world where brujas and werewolves exist. As Manu desperately finds herself wanting to belong, her presence will shake this newfound society to its very core.

I feel like going into this book it’s easy to discern certain aspects of the story. Not so much blatantly stated, but very much inferred in everything from the very title to the blurb itself. So, following Manu along in the early parts of the book was, at times, daunting because readers know what’s coming and Manu is pretty much clueless.

Fortunately, while we’re waiting for Manu to catch up with the rest of us, Romina Garber unfolds this wonderful world steeped in history and magic with brujas and werewolves that’s so vivid and complex that I, too, wanted to spend all my time learning about it. Which is probably one of the reasons why I love the school setting so much. Schools are mini societies within themselves so it’s easy to take these larger world ideas and fit them into a more relatable configuration.

Romina Garber takes the ideas of gender roles and identity, mixes them with South American Folklore, directly compares them with the issues many immigrants are facing today and delivers a masterfully put together book. I don’t know that I’ve read a book that gives weight to so many issues, but makes the connections between them so seamlessly. And it’s not just throwing a bunch of current events into a blender, no, it’s taking things such as assigned stereotypical male and female roles, branching off into what it says about identity, then moving back to where these roles originate and how changing up the norm makes some people scream “wrong”, “different”, “illegal”.

Manu gets these feelings from both aspects of her life. Her life in the human world and then, just when she feels accepted, she’s back in the position of being illegal. But it speaks a lot to Manu’s strength that she keeps moving. She doesn’t let the naysayers bring her down because she also begins to realize that many are looking at her to be the face of change. Bringing us into the whole “Chosen One” idea. Which I think will have a bigger impact in the next book.

There were some revelations that felt a bit rushed. Like maybe too much time was spent in the buildup that things had to be crunched together toward the end, but overall it’s a great starting point for a new series that perfectly blends reality with the fantasy.

 Sexual Content: Kissing

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