The Making of Yolanda la Bruja

Levine Querido. Apr. 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781646142439.
Gr 9 Up–Sixteen-year-old Yolanda Alvarez had her first vision as a little girl. She has grown and received training from her grandmother, Mamá Teté, who helps her navigate her spiritual journey and has taught her everything she knows about the Unknowns—ancestors who guide them and help them use their gifts. Just as Yolanda is entering an important time in her initiation—when an Unknown will select her to guide her—she receives a vision about a new student, Ben, one of the only white students in the school. Yolanda believes Ben is going to do something to harm the school, but afraid that she will not be able to prove it, she attempts to reach out to Ben herself. Readers will share in Yolanda’s feelings of uncertainty as she tries to find out more about Ben’s intentions, until it becomes clear that Yolanda’s visions harbor the truth, and that Ben’s actions are rooted in sinister racist beliefs. The Afro-Dominican teen attempts to carry the weight of what is happening on her own, leading to a heartbreaking climax. The narrative is thoughtful and gripping, and Avila has created a complex heroine whose identities as a Deaf and queer person of color give a layer of authenticity and intersectionality that will resonate with readers.
VERDICT Readers will enjoy getting to know Yolanda, her diverse Dominican family, and her unique friends and supportive community in this lyrical debut novel that will open up important and difficult discussions about race, activism, and loss.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing