Kirkus Reviews QR Code
CHUPACARTER by George Lopez


From the ChupaCarter series, volume 1

by George Lopez with Ryan Calejo ; illustrated by Santy Gutiérrez

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-593-46597-4
Publisher: Viking

Having a 7-foot-tall blood-sucking secret friend understandably complicates 12-year-old Jorge’s life.

To kick off their middle-grade series, celebrity comedian Lopez and his co-author Calejo send young Chicano Angeleno Jorge Lopez to his abuelos in remotest New Mexico—where, as if being threatened by his new school’s deranged White principal in an office festooned with animal trophies isn’t scary enough, he stumbles on a toothy and terrifying monster in the local woods. Carter, as the cryptid introduces himself, turns out to be just a lonely young chupacabra separated from his family and hiding out from both human hunters and also a questing pack of vicious vampire dogs called dips. In a narrative punctuated with wisecracks and flavored with Spanish phrases and slang, Jorge’s struggles with his own tendency to respond smartly to taunts and bullying parallel strenuous efforts to keep his new friend’s existence secret. His failure at both (though by the end he does seem a little better at impulse control) drives a plot laden with both comical situations and hair-raising brushes with death…including no less than two near misses for Jorge from the aforementioned school official. By the end, though, Carter has been bundled off to safety in Mexico, and Jorge has two staunch allies at school in vegan activist Liza, who reads as Black, and Ernie, identified as Native American. Dialogue and punchlines spill over into Gutiérrez’s droll illustrations.

Frights and fun in equal measure.

(Fantasy. 8-12)