From School Library Journal
Grade 5–7—Twelve-year-old Izzy is dismayed to learn that her widowed mother will be finishing her studies in Costa Rica, and that she will spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico. Before she leaves, she uncovers a baseball that belonged to her father. It has a mysterious message scrawled across it, "Because…magic," and, like all things relating to her late husband, Izzy's mother won't explain. Nana warmly welcomes her granddaughter to her remote village, a place that seems frozen in time. Izzy meets Nana's friends and neighbors, learns to make tortillas, and watches her grandmother, a curandera, prepare folk remedies. She also begins to uncover the mystery surrounding her father's life and death. Cervantes's prose is lean and lightly spiced with evocative metaphor. Unfortunately, the plot feels all too familiar: the wise grandmother, the loving mother who refuses to speak of the past, and the melodramatic resolution. The characters are gracefully limned yet fail to rise above convention. This gentle family story may hold appeal for those who have enjoyed the works of Pam Muñoz Ryan and Toby Johnston.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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Cervantes first novel is rich with local color-both physical landscapes and traditional spiritual beliefs....this should be popular with readers who enjoyed Sharon Creech's Granny Torrelli Makes Soup (2003) or Pam Mu oz Ryan's Becoming Naomi Leon (2004).
SCHOOL LIBRARY REVIEW
"This gentle family story may hold appeal for those who have enjoyed the works of Pam Mu oz Ryan and Toby Johnston."
[A] strong debut....Cervantes fills her story with mystical possibilities-- talking with spirits, hearing what the wind whispers, gathering powerful herbs by moonlight--but also with the inescapable realities of illness, death, and mourning. The result is an imaginative yet grounded novel.
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Cervantes evokes the beauty of the setting and develops a memorable cast of characters, brought to life through Izzy's heartfelt narration. A beautiful and engaging debut novel.