Our Shadows Have Claws: 15 Latin American Monster Stories

Algonquin. Sept. 2022. 368p. ed. by Méndez, Yamile Saied & Amparo Ortiz, eds. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781643751832.
Gr 9 Up–This YA horror collection offers revenge, justice, and cautionary advice through the vehicle of brujas, vampires, forest creatures, Haitian shape-shifters, Dominican ciguapas, to name a few; and other unnamed things that can suck one’s soul. Save some space before bedtime to read “Sugary Deaths” or “La Patasola,” both excellent revenge narratives that offer justice to young girls wronged by boys who revel in the banality of evil. Readers who like their horror to overlap with environmental justice should read “Blood Kin,” a tale that provides the Indigenous of Costa Rica with a much-needed win. Sometimes it is the “monsters” that heroically protect the innocent. “Leave No Tracks” also explores the blighting effect humans leave on nature, but ciguapas, while beautiful, will defend land and water without apology. For fans of Shakespeare, this horror collection has star-crossed protagonists from feuding families, one family defending the creatures of the world and the other family wiping them out—until passion consumes a cagüeiro and a daughter of his enemy. In this collection, myths inform culture, blood and sacrifice create heroes, and the villains get bloody justice. These short tales set in the mogotes of Cuba; the deserts of New Mexico; Puerto Rico; Fremont, CA; Montevideo; the Dominican Republic; the Bronx; or enchanted mountains offer thrilling chills for the fans of horror and fantasy.
VERDICT For the genrefied library, buy copies for both the horror and fantasy sections.

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