Book Reviews,  Coming of Age,  Detective and Mystery,  Middle Grade,  Romance

Book Review: Tia Lugo Speaks No Evil

Tia Lugo Speaks No EvilTia Lugo Speaks No Evil by Danette Vigilante
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tia is a thirteen-year-old Latino girl growing up in a close-knit family in Brooklyn. Her best friend lives close by, and so does her eccentric Gram, who she adores. Gram visits every day, and more often than not brings some odd potion, charm or statue from the local botanical store. Does Tia believe in the supernatural, too? She believes in her grandmother, so maybe there really is protection in colorful necklaces, bath oils, candles and statues.

It’s a happy place to growing up – until late one night while Tia’s looking for her asthma inhaler, she glances out her bedroom window and sees something that changes everything. And she doesn’t dare tell anyone about it!

I remember being thirteen. I had a couple of dark secrets of my own, and I recall the burden of carrying them. I empathized with Tia and her secret, which she keeps for a very good reason—to protect those she loves. But what chance does a young girl stand against a full grown man who’s committed murder… and knows he’s been seen?

There’s a strong lesson that threads its way through every page of this book. By emphasizing how frightening it can be to keep a secret, and what a relief it can be to let it go, readers may follow Tia’s example when they’re confronted with upsetting situations in their own lives.

As an adult, I found the story to be interesting enough to keep me page-turning to find out how everything would turn out for Tia. I also found it a little heavy-handed and melodramatic, as her agony goes on and on. But this book wasn’t written for me. It was written for thirteen-year-olds who have to grapple daily with a grown-up world, and might have to carry some of the burden of our world inside of them. I hope the message is clear and helpful to those young readers.

My thanks to author Danette Vigilante, North Star Editions, Jolly Fish Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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