Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Felice and the Wailing Woman

Lopez, Diana. Felice and the Wailing Woman 
April 18, 2023 by Kokila
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Felice's mother and two older brothers drowned in the river near the town of Tres Leches when she was an infant, and her father was already married when he met her mother so has never been in the picture. Her Uncle Clem managed to save her, but he couldn't stand the memories and moved her to nearby Corpus Christi. It's understandable that she has an intense fear of water. When her uncle's friend, Reynaldo, visits and asks her uncle to return to the town as his cracksman (making pinatas, cascarones, and crispy taco shells?), she sees an opportunity to get to know more about her mother. The only problem? Her mother has become La Llorona, and haunts the river of Tres Leches, and Felice is too afraid to go anywhere near it. With the help of her new friends Rooster (whose father is a devil) and Ava (whose mother is an owl-witch), Felice tries to figure out a way to help her mother find peace. Reynaldo is the mayor of the town, and was elected on a platform of making the river safe for recreation, but has failed to do this. He is running against Bonita, who seems to have more power, not all of it good. Felice makes some bargains with Bonita, but the town comes under attack by other monsters. Not only that, but the town bakers, widely known for their fabulous cakes, are turning out horrible baked goods. Will Felice be able to get to know more about her mother and also make the river of Tres Leches safe again? 
Strengths: Other than Lubar's Monsteriffic Tales, there aren't a lot of books that deal with legendary monsters, and seeing Rooster and Ava hang out with Felice because she was La Llorona's daughter was rather interesting. Tres Leches is an eerie town with a lot going on, and Felice's quest to work with the odd inhabitants in order to make peace with her mother works well. This is a fast paced tale, with lots of good details of legends as well as an entertaining setting. 
Weaknesses: It would have been helpful to include notes explaining some of the legends; I felt like I was missing something with a lot of characters, especially Bonita. 
What I really think: This is a good choice for readers who enjoyed other titles embracing the La Llorona legend or other Latine legends, like Meija's Paola Santiago and the River of TearsCuevas' The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, Barron's Maya and the Rising Dark, Cueva's Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls.

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