12 must-read August YA book releases to close out your summer

The Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
The Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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Lobizona – Romina Garber

A genre-bending magical tale from Romina Garber, Lobizona mixes supernatural fantasy with real-world politics to make something entirely unique.

Manuela Azul and her mother are undocumented immigrants from Argentina who spend most of their lives in hiding in Miami, attempting to avoid both the criminals who killed her father and the Immigration and Customs agents who would see her deported. Given that her unique eyes – her irises are yellow suns, with silver star-shaped pupils – are so easily identifiable, Manu must also wear sunglasses whenever she goes out and avoids closeness with others.

But when her mother is taken in by ICE, Manu goes on a search for answers and discovers that the world of Argentinian werewolves – known as lobizones – is real, leading her to infiltrate a magical school in the hopes of finding out both who and what she is.

The official synopsis provides more detail on the story.

"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 available on August 4.