Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza

Little, Brown. Sept. 2022. 336p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316304160.
Gr 4-7–In the small, south Texas town of Noche Buena, magic folk live alongside non-magic. The Moraleses are empaths, able to feel the emotions of others around them. Unlike her family, Omega has not yet obtained the ability to successfully manipulate those feelings, something that has overwhelmed her and caused her to become ill more than once. After her best friend Abby broke off their friendship, Omega finds comfort and company with her cousin Carlitos and Clau, a ghost who suddenly appeared one day and has been living with them. When cats in the neighborhood start disappearing, Omega, Carlitos, and Clau try to dig deeper into the mystery—one that leads them to suspect that a legendary creature known as La Lechuza has arrived in their town. Omega unearths truths about her family, her abilities, how La Lechuza is connected to her, and who truly is behind the dark happenings. This fast-paced and fantastical middle grade novel will envelop readers in its magical but also familiar world as Omega deals with the complexities of friendship, bullying, and first love—all while trying to control her magical abilities. Along with Omega, tweens will discover the power of memories and love, as well as the reality that not all monsters are supernatural. Full of dark mystery and unique and memorable characters, Kemp’s middle grade debut will enchant readers.
VERDICT Heartfelt and suspenseful, this title is an excellent choice for middle grade collections.

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