In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.
One of the most powerful things that a book can do is pull you into a world that you have never known and take you on a journey where you live the highs and lows through the eyes of another person. For instance, I’ve never been a fútbol (soccer) person and never ‘understood’ the hype. But then, I read Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez, a phenomenal YA contemporary that just pulled me right into its unforgettable story and, even though I’ve long since finished it, I still feel its hold on me. Through the eyes of Camila, known as La Furia on the field, I came to understand her passion for fútbol and the love someone can have for the sport.
Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
2020 has certainly been a year. In some ways, the occurrences have been moreso a set of consequences that we are enduring for a lack of government response to requests for systemic change and response to climate change, and less happenstance. It almost feels like an alternate reality, and here is when many readers turn to fantasy novels and stories to instill and explore ideas of hope, strategy, and compassion to continue fighting and moving forward. Lobizona by Romina Garber is by far one of my favorite books of 2020 for this reason. It is a mirror to the realities of our current world in a fantasy setting.
Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.
Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.
Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.
As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.
Lobizona is easily one of my favorite books of the year. It is rare to find a book with such a huge scope that is crafted in a vibrant, mysterious magical world, but also has dire and necessary commentary about our contemporary society. Romina Garber has truly done it all.