Felice and the Wailing Woman

Kokila. (Los Monstruos: Bk. 1). Apr. 2023. 288p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593326497.
Gr 5-7–As a baby, Felice was the sole survivor of an accident where her mother and brothers drowned. Raised by her maternal uncle Clem in Corpus Christi, TX, she lives a fairly normal life, other than a severe case of aquaphobia. But everything changes with the sudden arrival of Reynaldo, the Mayor of Felice’s birthplace (Tres Leches, TX). Reynaldo comes with the shocking news that Felice’s mother, now known as La Llorona, still haunts the river where she drowned, making it inaccessible. Felice must return to Tres Leches and save the day. Felice’s adventure is filled with obstacles, many of them magical, on her way to save her mother and the town. Along with Felice, the town of Tres Leches introduces a quirky cast of characters, some also hailing from Mexican folklore like La Lechuza and the Dancing Devil. The story makes reference to various Mexican traditions along with the use of Spanish terms throughout. The novel presents a great lesson on love, acceptance, and overcoming fears.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy a fast-paced fantasy with folkloric roots. This is a good addition to any juvenile fiction collection, especially for those seeking shorter, less magic-heavy, books in the fantasy genre.

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