A fantastical and satisfying romp near the Rio Grande.



A debut graphic novel focuses on a zany family adventure in the American Southwest.

The Meyer brothers take readers to New Mexico in 1949. A mischievous boy named Carlos Lucero loves teasing a local elderly woman. But the woman is not just an average citizen: She is a curandera, or healer. Carlos sees her as an old witch, and he manages to snatch a cookie known as a bizcochito from her home. After Carlos takes a bite of the treat, he is swiftly turned into a calf. Amadeo, the victim’s older brother, and his friend Monree need to figure out how to turn Carlos back into a boy. The first idea is to go to Monree’s grandfather. The man is a shaman, but, unfortunately, he is currently out of town helping a grandson on a vision quest. To make matters worse, the boys realize that the curandera is following them, and she doesn’t seem happy. Her ability to change into different animals only frightens the duo more. The boys make their way back to the Lucero home, where more of the family becomes involved. But how will they manage to save Carlos and battle a woman skilled in magic? Even if it seems unlikely that Carlos will remain a calf forever, the journey to his redemption is full of twists, comedy, and sprinklings of Spanish. The authors provide a helpful glossary at the end that translates the Spanish words like “abuelo” (grandfather) and “cueva” (cave). And the tale’s humor, much like many of the earthy colors used by debut illustrator Hardy throughout the book, comes through strongly. For instance, a large talking rat named José with a fondness for beer, cheese, and dancing tends to steal all the scenes he appears in. In addition, whenever people become creatures, they retain something of their human looks (José has a mustache), and the results are cute and amusing. By contrast, more serious portions can languish. The curandera is given a backstory to explain her cruelness. She mourns a tragic event in her past yet her method of coping seems a little hard to believe even by quirky villain standards. Nevertheless, the narrative never drags and offers plenty of action. There are chases, monsters, and episodes of family bonding galore. There is even room in the end for some sentimentality.   

A fantastical and satisfying romp near the Rio Grande.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73377-301-0

Page Count: 166

Publisher: North Fourth Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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