Werewolves, magic, love stories and more, Lobizona by Romina Garber is every fantasy lovers dream wrapped in heartfelt commentary on the immigrant experience in the US.
Lobizona follows Manuela “Manu” Azul, an Argentinian teenager living in Miami, Florida. Manu is an undocumented immigrant and lives in a small apartment after escaping her dad’s crime-family in Argentina. In Miami, she has two anchors that she can really rely on, her mom and her surrogate grandma, Perla. Both of these women hold Manu’s secret. Manu is special. She wears glasses at all times to hide her star shaped pupils, and we learn that Manu experiences something called lunaritis. It happens every time she gets her period, always on a full moon. She is given pills that sedate her for sixty hours (Septis) and put her into a deep sleep. What her mother and Perla don’t know is that for these sixty hours, she is transported to another magical place much different from her own. It is fantastical in nature with otherworldly plants and a place called the Citadel. A part of her instinctively tells her not to go near the Citadel, but that is where “other Manu” lives, her doppelgänger with a different accent.
Everything springs into action when her support system takes a hit. Perla is attacked, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Her two worlds start to bleed into one another, and as readers, we are swept into a grand adventure as the layers of Manu’s identity begin to be unraveled.
Lobizona accessed a part of my brain reserved for magic, mystery, and endless possibilities. It’s the kind of book that makes you truly believe every single bit of lore and enchantment is completely plausible — if only for the moment. Your mind will race alongside every bit of tension and reel at the twists and turns as if you are on the funnest rollercoaster. I really appreciated Garber’s descriptions of her own Argentinian culture within Lobizona. Latin America is not a monolith, and I think it’s very important to differentiate countries and customs within novels. I loved learning more about food, sayings and more; it really helped paint a more vivid picture of the book.
There is still much to discover and so many questions to be answered by the end of Lobizona, but as a the first book in a series, I am so excited to see in what direction the rest of the sequels go. Read this book to make your fantasy loving heart happy that at the same time touches on some incredibly timely subjects.