by Zoraida Córdova
I’m just a girl and there is also magic in that.
Alex is the most powerful bruja in her family in generations. But that doesn’t mean she likes it. In fact, she’s been actively suppressing her power, and her family doesn’t even know her power has been manifesting itself. So when her Deathday comes, Alex works a spell to wish her magic away. She just didn’t expect said spell to transport her entire family to Los Lagos, a magical in-between land. Soon Alex is on a mission to save her family, and inadvertently come into her own.
I am slightly conflicted over this one friends. I picked this up at BEA with no prior knowledge of the title and was instantly PUMPED for this premise. I was excited for this one for many reasons 1) Witches 2) Diverse witches, brujas. And I loved the idea of a Deathday. It makes me think of Dia de los Muertos, which has always seemed a little magical to me. 3) I got wind of LGBTQ representation on the internets. 4) I really like the author on social media, and she was also a delight in person. Plus she has awesome glasses. 5) Look at that cover. Basically, I love all the things in this recipe.
What I had a harder time with was how the recipe came out. Everything felt so easy and surface level here. I adored the beginning with Alex and her family. The minute we transferred over to Los Lagos it just all felt convenient, and I didn’t feel connected to Alex or the other characters. It became more tell than show, although there were the beginnings there, and so much promise. And while I was ALL FOR the lesbian romance hinted at, it never felt developed. I wasn’t allowed to feel their chemistry. I was supposed to just assume it based on their shared history, a history I didn’t get much of a glimpse at. It just felt rushed in many places.
Based on the writing, I would probably recommend this for younger YA readers. I am a little bummed I did not absolutely love this as I was hoping to. Honestly, this would have been a 2, but I was really behind all Córdova was attempting to do here. And while it wasn’t a complete home run for me, just having such positive representation be a matter of course will mean a lot to a lot of girls, and boys. This is an important story and I want to see more of stories like this. I want more multicultural magic. I also want more from this universe, because I am intrigued by Alex’s sisters and did not get to spend enough time with them.