Today's vlog is super awesome because it features TWO books:
1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky ALbertalli, and
2. Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova. (Bruja Born was so awesome that I had to review it twice. (Read the blog review here.)
This second instalment of the Brooklyn Brujas series was SO MUCH BETTER than the first! Where the first book felt too fast and missed opportunities, BRUJA BORN was WONDERFUL! I felt so much closer to this character, Lula, then I did to Alex. Where Alex was quick-tempered, Lula was thoughtful. She felt how things would affect not just herself, but her family, which was one of the things that I didn't like about Alex, but all three of the sisters seem to have grown in this book.
Lula, the oldest of the Mortiz sisters, has just been broken up with before boarding the bus to the district championship soccer game with her friends and teammates. On the way to the game, there is a terrible accident and everyone is killed except for Lula. In the hospital, she and her sisters stop death from coming for Macks, Lula's (ex) boyfriend and create a much bigger problem than 28 dead teenagers-they end up keeping them all from fully dying and creating an army of "casimuertos" or non-dead people who live off of human hearts and can't pass on. Lula has to figure out how to help these casimiertos move on from this world BEFORE they destroy all of New York, and free Lady de la Muerte-Lady Death-who is trapped between worlds.
The whole "having to find the Spear of Death" piece of the story honestly felt a bit unnecessary, but I see how it made the family and community have to come together to help Lula. The scenes leading up to finding the spear and returning it to La Muerte felt rushed, but great and anticipatory nonetheless.
Overall, the book had a very familiar feel as the movie Practical Magic, but with more culture and history embedded which I appreciated. Strong female lead characters, a great family theme, and plenty of magic gave this book five stars. My favorite thing about this book that the first didn't have was how there are other magical groups at play in New York that are both for regulatory purposes but also that help keep the non-magical people safe as well as some hinting as to where Lula and Alex' father was while he was "gone."
Zoraida Cordova outdid herself with this story; my only complaint is having to wait for the next one!