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"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


BLOG TOUR --- Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo [Review + Giveaway]

Title: Charlie Hernandez & the League of Shadows
Authors(s): Ryan Calejo
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Edition: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook; 330 pgs
Publisher: Aladdin Books
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon - Kindle - Barnes & Noble  - iBooks - Kobo The Book Depository - Audible
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tour Schedule

Week One:
8/19/2019- BookHounds YA- Interview
8/20/2019- Savings in Seconds- Excerpt
8/21/2019- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt
8/22/2019- Country Road Reviews- Review
8/23/2019- Lifestyle Of Me- Review

Week Two:
8/26/2019- Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review
8/27/2019- Wonder Struck- Review
8/28/2019- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
8/29/2019- Aunt Addie's Bookshelf- Review
8/30/2019- The Desert Bibliophile- Review

Week Three:
9/2/2019- The Layaway Dragon- Review
9/3/2019- Random Bookish Banter- Review
9/4/2019- Eli to the nth- Review
9/5/2019- Novel Novice- Guest Post
9/6/2019- Fyrekatz Blog- Review

Week Four:
9/9/2019- Nicole's Novel Reads- Review
9/10/2019- Marshmallow Pudding- Review
9/11/2019- Nerdophiles- Review
9/12/2019- PopTheButterfly Reads- Review
9/13/2019- two points of interest- Review

The Summary

“This is a perfect pick for kids who love Rick Riordan’s many series, particularly for those eager for mythologies beyond Greek and Roman stories.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A winner for all kids, but it will be especially beloved by Latinx and Hispanic families.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Lightning Thief meets the Story Thieves series in this middle grade fantasy inspired by Hispanic folklore, legends, and myths from the Iberian Peninsula and Central and South America.

Charlie Hernández has always been proud of his Latin American heritage. He loves the culture, the art, and especially the myths. Thanks to his abuela’s stories, Charlie possesses an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the monsters and ghouls who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. And even though his grandmother sometimes hinted that the tales might be more than mere myth, Charlie’s always been a pragmatist. Even barely out of diapers, he knew the stories were just make-believe—nothing more than intricately woven fables meant to keep little kids from misbehaving.

But when Charlie begins to experience freaky bodily manifestations—ones all too similar to those described by his grandma in his favorite legend—he is suddenly swept up in a world where the mythical beings he’s spent his entire life hearing about seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Hispanic folklore and into his life. And even stranger, they seem to know more about him than he knows about himself.

Soon, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind. With only the help of his lifelong crush, Violet Rey, and his grandmother’s stories to guide him, Charlie must navigate a world where monsters and brujas rule and things he couldn’t possibly imagine go bump in the night. That is, if he has any hope of discovering what’s happening to him and saving his missing parents (oh, and maybe even the world).

No pressure, muchacho.

My Review

While people may think that Rick Riordan has cornered the market on young kids adventuring through the different myths of the world, there are plenty amazing authors out there doing the same thing.  The best part is there is always room for fresh new voices, and a deeper dive into specific cultural myths.  This time it is Ryan Calejo and Hispanic/Latinx mythology in Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows.

Calejo, as stated in his bio, comes from a family of immigrants, and this heritage is clearly embraced within CHLS.  The titular character of the book, Charlie, has been told a multitude of stories told straight from Hispanic/Latinx culture by his abuela.  Just the density of the stories, the sheer amount of legends/myths that Charlie's abuela tells is indicative of the rich history of the Hispanic/Latinx people.  The added layer that Calejo brings is making all of those myths come to life on the streets of Miami.

As with most middle grade books, relatability is the key component in CHLS.  Charlie and Violet are well-developed kids, meaning I can envision them as flesh and blood children in our world.  I enjoyed reading about them trying to figure out all the craziness that has descended upon their home, and doing so with the awe and courage that kids that age can possess.  The concrete mixed with the fantastical is always a favorite of mine, and it really sucks you into the story quickly.  Relying on their wits and the legends from abuela, Charlie and Violet often find themselves against foes who are stronger than them.  But that doesn't stop them.  Plucky and intrepid, these are kids you want on your side!

But the real gem of CHLS is the myths themselves.  Introduced in a very smart way, with a glossary of terms in the back of the book to help bridge cultural divides, Culejo has chosen amazing myths from all over the Hispanic/Latinx communities to include in this book.  This is so important: (a) it adds one more book to the underrepresented Hispanic/Latinx children's section; (b) introduces others to the wonderfully diverse world of mythology that exists outside of their own experience.  Well-crafted, the myths and the plot flow in and out of each other wonderfully.

Just a beautifully written, adventure-packed, coming-of-age story, I think that Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows will capture the interest of anyone, child or adult, who picks it up.

Final Rating


Chapter One

Myths, my abuela used to say, are truths long forgotten by the world.

Which is probably why she collected them the way some people collect stamps. Or mugs with pictures of kittens on them. She gathered tales of enormous, horned, snakelike sea creatures, of two-headed vampire dogs with glowing red eyes, of terrifying man-eating ghouls that stalk the night, searching for naughty children to kidnap.

The myths came from all over the Spanish-speaking world. From Madrid to Quito. Mexico City to Buenos Aires. Most of them were hundreds of years old, almost as old as the cultures that had inspired them. Some had spread quickly around the globe, spread like wildfire. Others never even left the tiny rural towns where they’d first been told.

All her life my grandma had been obsessed with Hispanic mythology, with all the legends and stories and folklore, and had spent years teaching them to me.

When I was little we used to hang out in the kitchen on lazy Saturday afternoons, me in my Power Rangers pj’s and chancletas, my abuela telling her favorite tales from memory, making the epic battles and ghoulish monsters come to life with every gesture of her brown and wrinkled hands.

Afterward, she would quiz me on what I’d heard; we played this little game, sort of like Pictionary, where she’d draw a quick sketch of one of the characters, and I would have to guess who—or, in most cases, what—it was. If I got four in a row, she’d let me eat leche condensada right out of the can, which might’ve been the only thing I enjoyed more than listening to her stories.

At the time I thought it was all just for fun, a cool little game between the two of us. But I should’ve known better; my abuela hated party games.

About the Author

Ryan Calejo was born and raised in south Florida. He graduated from the University of Miami with a BA. He’s been invited to join both the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Golden Key International Honour Society. He teaches swimming to elementary school students, chess to middle school students, and writing to high school students. Having been born into a family of immigrants and growing up in the so-called “Capital of Latin America,” Ryan knows the importance of diversity in our communities and is passionate about writing books that children of all ethnicities can relate to. His first novel was Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows.

1 winner will win a signed hardcover of CHARLIE HERNÁNDEZ AND THE LEAGUE OF SHADOWS, US ONLY

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