All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad.
When he and his mother move to Texas to live with his grandmother after his dad’s latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn’t want anyone to find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals.
But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor’s grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja – a witch who can absorb an animal’s powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner…
Now it’s up to Nestor’s extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja- and save a place he just might call home.
A well balanced mix of fantasy and real world issues. Not an easy feat.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to constantly be moving, let alone having a parent in the military. Trying not to get too close to anyone, knowing that at any moment you would have to move again. Never being in a place long enough to call it home. Constantly worrying and missing your parent. All of this can be a real emotional impact on a kid. In Nestor’s case, he has to handle all of this emotional baggage as well as keeping the fact that he can talk to animals a secret.
I love animals and being able to talk to them would be awesome. Although Nestor makes it clear that it’s not as great as you would think. I guess most animals probably don’t have anything interesting to say. I love all the animals especially Cuervito the raven, with his sometimes obnoxious behavior and witty remarks.
I wasn’t expecting to find another story that features Cuban culture so soon after reading Unicorn Rescue Society: The Madre de Aguas of Cuba. Many Cuban dishes are featured throughout the story as well as a mix of Spanish and English dialogue. Here are a few words and phrases I translated from the story:
Ay, creeme. No necesitan mas vinagre, chica = Oh, believe me. They don’t need any more vinegar, girl.
dejame en paz = leave me alone
valiente = brave
cuervito = little raven
In conclusion, this is a great story for anymore with a parent in the military or anymore who likes animals. Plus the story doesn’t drag on like most middle school fiction. Just goes to show that a story can be well written without being ridiculously long.
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Ravens
Ravens can mimic human speech.