The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

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Annotation: In this magical coming-of-age story, a Cuban-American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja--a witch who transforms into animals.
Catalog Number: #293867
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 278 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-374-31360-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9851-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-374-31360-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9851-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019948764
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Twelve-year-old Nestor has a secret: he can talk to animals. As he starts sixth grade at his sixth school his new residence of New Haven, Texas battles angst, anxiety, and bullying. He also battles a power-hungry tule vieja (witch) who is responsible for the disappearance of local animals. When the townsfolk accuse Nestor's abuela of being involved with the missing creatures, he must overcome a suspicious teacher, his father's absence, and middle-school trivia contests in order to uncover the truth and ensure that the witch doesn't rise to power. Readers will devour this fast-paced adventure as they root for Nestor and his ragtag bunch of friends and animal allies. The characters here eatures and classmates alike e quick-witted, sardonic, and hilarious, providing fresh voices that will linger in the reader's mind long past the final page. In a unique take on South and Central American folklore, Cuevas brings to life an earthly type of twisted magic that transcends spells and transfiguration, extending into the feelings of belonging and finding a true home.
Kirkus Reviews
A Cuban American boy who can speak to animals moves to a new town where he faces off against a dangerous witch with a nefarious plan.Twelve-year-old Nestor Lopez has moved five times in the past few years while his military dad is deployed (now in Afghanistan). When Nestor and his mother move in with his abuela in New Haven, Texas, his plan is the same as always when getting to a new place: unpack just the essentials, avoid making friendships he can’t sustain, and keep his ability to talk to animals a secret. But the plan takes a turn when Nestor becomes friends with schoolmates Maria Carmen and Talib just as his abuela falls under suspicion for the mysterious animal disappearances in the woods. Nestor needs to use his powers—with a little help from his animal and human friends—so he can prove his grandmother’s innocence and defeat the real culprit, a mythical tule vieja who steals powers from animals. Debut author Cuevas reinterprets the tule vieja legend from Panama and Costa Rica to tell a story about a boy who deeply feels the burden of being “man of the house.” The importance of community and working together are deftly explored alongside Nestor’s longing for a more stable life, preferably with his dad by his side. Maria Carmen is Latinx; Talib’s name suggests Middle Eastern heritage.A charming and vibrant debut fantasy. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
When Army brat Nestor Lopez moves to the small town of New Haven, Tex., to live with his abuela while his father is deployed to Afghanistan, he doesn-t expect to be there for long. After all, he-s only in sixth grade and is already on his 10th first day of school. His plan is to avoid making friends and attachments, and certainly not to let anyone know that he can speak with animals. Despite this, he soon winds up joining the school trivia club with new friends Maria and Talib. And his gift rapidly sucks him into a mystery involving missing animals and the threat of a terrifying shape-shifting tule vieja-a witch. With this heartwarming debut, Cuevas draws upon Central American legends and her Cuban heritage to flesh out Nestor-s experiences (his feelings of frustration and impermanence are particularly well-rendered), crafting a tense, satisfying tale of magic, family, and finding one-s true home. Ages 8-12. Agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 With a dad in the military, Nestor has moving down to a science: pack his bedroom in under five minutes, keep his head down at the new school, and make sure people don't learn he can talk to animals. For Nestor, each stop is nothing more than a countdown until he moves again. But this move is different. Nestor and his mother have come to New Haven, TX, to live with his Cuban abuela while his father is deployed to Afghanistan. Nestor has another new experience when he inadvertently makes two friends, Maria Carmen and Talib, who soon come to Nestor's aid. Animals have been disappearing throughout New Haven. Forest creatures tell Nestor that it is the work of a tule vieja, a witch who can absorb characteristics of an animal by biting it during a solar eclipse. But the people of New Haven begin whispering that Nestor's abuela is responsible. With an eclipse approaching in days, Nestor, his friends, and an unlikely ally head into the woods to confront the tule vieja and rescue the town. Cuevas crafts a riveting story based on folktales from Panama and Costa Rica. Spanish words and Latin American customs are integrated throughout. Despite rising tensions in the town which result in overt hostility against his family, Nestor overcomes years of self-imposed isolation to learn that being a friend means allowing people to help you. Additionally, he and his friends are forced to probe beneath the surface of the class bully, who is pulled into their quest. Magical folklore provides the foundation for the plot, but themes of home, family, and friendship are the core of the book, with a heaping dose of creepiness to make it morefun. VERDICT Hand this unique story to fans of "Rick Riordan Presents" and students looking for scary books. Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District, Lancaster, PA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
Pura Belpre Honor (5/1/20)
Publishers Weekly (5/1/20)
School Library Journal (5/1/20)
Word Count: 46,286
Reading Level: 4.7
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.7 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 508742 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q78029
Guided Reading Level: Z
Fountas & Pinnell: Z

In this magical middle-grade debut novel from Adrianna Cuevas, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez , a Cuban American boy must use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his town when they are threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals. All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad. When he and his mother move to a new town to live with his grandmother after his dad's latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn't want to anyone find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals. But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor's grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja--a witch who can absorb an animal's powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner... Now it's up to Nestor's extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja--and save a place he might just call home.


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