Sunday, January 12, 2020

Charlie Hernandez & The League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo - ESSENTIAL

Charlie Hernandez & The League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo, 321 pages. Aladdin (Simon and Schuster), 2018. $18.

Language: G (0 swears 0 'f') Mature Content: G; PG (bullying, monster fighting)



12yo Charlie Hernandez grew up with an abuela who told him all the stories - all of them - he knows every hispanic legend, all the folklore stories, all the mythological characters from his culture. But the stories didn't prepare him for middle school. Middle school is hard - strict teachers, bullies, old friends, new friends - and Violet is finally noticing him! But, when Charlie's body starts changing - I mean CHANGING - like growing horns, sprouting feathers, Charlie finds himself caught in the middle of a war between ancient beings, La Liga (the good guys) and La Mano Negra (the evil creatures out to take over the world) Good thing he knows all the stories, because Charlie is now living them.

Wow! What an amazing debut novel! Ryan Calejo is a great storyteller, masterfully weaving the Hispanic legends together into a gripping adventure, full of danger, monsters and life and death decisions. I was familiar with many of the characters, but I can imagine how much more exciting this would be for a reader with a stronger background knowledge than I have. Drawing from South and Central America, as well is the Iberian Peninsula, Calejo has set up what promises to be an engaging series. Looking forward to book II. Includes a glossary.

Lisa Librarian

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