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I am so impressed at the way Cuevas has balanced the emotional challenges of having a father in the Army alongside magical intrigue as Nestor must uncover and thwart an evil witch's plans. The true delight of this book, however, comes from Nestor's ability to speak to animals. You will laugh out loud as the personalities of ravens, squirrels, coyotes, and even head lice are revealed. The different threads of the story are deftly woven throughout and build to an epic and satisfying conclusion.
Nailing heartwarming AND spooky in the same book is a tall order, but Cuevas gets it exactly right. THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ is a funny, well-plotted, genuinely creepy (without being sadistic or cruel), interesting (loved the animal facts!), and deeply emotionally resonant book. Nestor is a kindhearted, complex character who is just trying to do his best in very challenging circumstances. Cuevas handles the issues around having a parent deployed in the military with really deft sensitivity. I loved the dynamic Nestor has with his friends, including the class bully (Nestor is a great role model for handling conflict and change), and most of all with his abuela. I also really loved Miss Humala, the teacher. Cuevas managed to strike just the right note with her character’s plot arc (I can’t say exactly why due to spoilers!) Kids who enjoy spooky stories with heart will LOVE this book, and I think it should be at the top of any 4th-6th grade teacher’s classroom read aloud list. Highly recommend!!!
Side note—film/tv scouts, where are you? This would be incredible on the screen!
Absolutely loved this book. I have the print and listened to the audiobook (highly recommended). The author nailed what it feels like to grow up constantly on the move and what it takes to be able to trust your friends and feel at home in a new place. The talking animals made it super engaging for my children who found Cuervito absolutely hilarious. The spooky/fantasy element is just scary enough to keep the pages turning without being over the top. I love how Cuban culture is so deftly woven throughout the story, as are other elements of Latinx culture present in Texas. Wonderful book!
This book has the fast-paced action and interesting characters that keep kids (and adults) turning pages. Short chapters make you think “just one more”, but it’s never just one more. I love how it includes Cuban culture, and how difficult it can be for a military brat having to move constantly. I’m sure there are many kids who can relate to that. The ending was action-packed and did not disappoint. I kept wanting his dad to show up, though. Just the right amount of scary for middle grade.
Loved the balance between sadness for Nestor's dad away on combat duty and Nestor's determination to make Abuela's home his home, too. Any kid who has had to move from place to place will identify. Any kid who has had to make new friends will find the story engrossing.
“The Total Eclipse Of Nestor Lopez” is a delight. I read it on Kindle. It is fast-paced and engaging. The story moves quickly enough to keep middle school readers engaged, but not so challenging as to let them lose interest. The author has included Spanish expressions and dialogue, all of which are understandable to non-Spanish speakers through contextual clues. The reader will be learning a bit of Spanish while enjoying a fast-paced story. I have purchased this book for ‘tween grandchildren and look forward to discussing it with them. I highly recommend this book.
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Torres is an action packed story, full of middle school antics and angst. Adrianna Cuevas artfully weaves her own Cuban heritage into the storyline. This book offers a springboard for meaningful discussions with middle schoolers about friendship, cultural diversity, military service and sacrifice, family, loyalty and courage. As Ms. Cuevas says in her acknowledgments, "our kids can be heroes." Yes, they can. Looking forward to more from Adrianna Cuevas!
Let me first say that I'm not into the magical realism/sci-fi/fantasy genres, but I have enjoyed stories of these genres. The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez is certainly one of them. I found myself unable to put the book down. Nestor's voice captured my attention and he held me firmly until the end. I can't wait for Cuevas' next novel!
This was such a fun, lighthearted read. Don't be fooled by it's age group for it has something for all ages, and this is the perfect family read because everyone will be entertained by Adrianna's wit and humor! I can't wait to read more of her work!