ChupaCarter by George Lopez and Ryan Calejo
The delightful debut novel for authors George Lopez’s & Ryan Calejo’s middle-grade fantasy adventure series, CHUPACARTER!
When the struggle to make ends meet and provide the stability he needs becomes too much, twelve-year-old Jorge’s mother makes the tough decision to send him to live with her parents. However, the dry and dusty town of Boca Falls, New Mexico, feels like an alien planet to the boy from LA, and he dreads being the new kid coming in mid-semester to a new school again. But the night before his first day at school as Jorge sits on his grandparent’s roof looking at the stars and the desolate surroundings, he catches a glimpse of a strange creature in the lone pine tree near the house: a strange creature who tells him his name is Carter and he’s a chupacabra.
ChupaCarter is a delightful middle-grade fantasy chapter book from the multi-talented George Lopez and co-writer Ryan Calejo. The book debuts the series about the friendship between twelve-year-old Jorge and Carter, the young chupacabra who was accidentally separated from his family.
The main character, Jorge, has been an angry, frightened, and worried child for some time. His father is not in the picture, and his mother is foundering as she tries to keep body and soul together as a single parent. Jorge has been acting out in school, and his quick wit and fast mouth have gotten him into trouble. This is all too much for his mother, and her solution to send him to live with his grandparents feels like a huge betrayal to the boy. It is a wonderful moment when Carter gives Jorge a new perspective on her motives. Both benefit from their relationship as they learn that it is only how THEY see themselves that matters, not how others do.
The story is fast-paced, with fun moments, sparkling dialogue, and tense situations. Readers with a Spanish language background will enjoy the natural mix of English and Spanish throughout the text. And readers learning Spanish or English may be able to hone their reading and comprehension in a light and entertaining way. The witty exchanges between characters and Carter’s incomplete understanding of common idioms and phrases are sure to generate a smile or two, as will Jorge dodging his abuela’s chancla.
I am happy to recommend CHUPACARTER to upper-elementary and middle-school readers.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author or publisher through TBR and Beyond Book Tours.