- Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova
ISBN 978-1-4926-5065-2 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8–12
Surviving the hellish realm of Los Lagos has left seventeen-year-old Lula Mortiz (previously seen in Labyrinth Lost, BCCB 9/16, first title in the Brooklyn Brujas series) with a scarred face, a strained relationship with her family, and a desperate need for normalcy. Any chance at that, however, is lost when her school bus crashes, killing her classmates and her beloved boyfriend, Maks. She and her sisters use their bruja magic to bring Maks back from the dead, but defying Lady de la Muerte has its consequences, one of which is a horde of the zombie-like casimuertos—including Maks—descending upon Brooklyn. Córdova brings the wonder and horror she created in Los Lagos to the streets of New York, easily exchanging Bone Valle for Coney Island and a countryside of wandering souls for hipster-ridden cafes, and deftly expanding the story of the Mortiz family in both setting and character as the perspective shifts from middle sister Alex to older sister Lula. Flesh-eating zombies tend to heighten the excitement of any story, and this one is no different as the casimuertos mangle various characters, but there’s also a bit of philosophizing here, with Lula questioning the purpose of the Deos (the gods in bruja culture) and interrogating Lady de la Muerte. Although Lula seemingly gets off the hook for being the cause of a whole host of murders, the final page introduces another supernatural being and the next adventure for the Mortiz brujas.