Book Review: The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas

I was in a major reading slump after reading some books that weren’t doing it for me and then I decided to read this NetGalley book… Boy, I am SO happy I did. I could not put this one down. It hooked me in and I absolutely fell in love with the plot, storyline, and characters. You will LOVE this one if you enjoy animal fantasy x mystery. It releases in a month from today!

Releases: July 21, 2020
Illustrated by: Andrea Galecio


All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad.

When he and his mother move to a Texas to live with his grandmother after his dad’s latest deployment, Nestor plans to lay low. He definitely doesn’t want anyone to find out his deepest secret: that he can talk to animals.

But when the animals in his new town start disappearing, Nestor’s grandmother becomes the prime suspect after she is spotted in the

woods where they were last seen. As Nestor investigates the source of the disappearances, he learns that they are being seized by a tule vieja- a witch who can absorb an animal’s powers by biting it during a solar eclipse. And the next eclipse is just around the corner…

Now it’s up to Nestor’s extraordinary ability and his new friends to catch the tule vieja- and save a place he just might call home.

My Thoughts:

Sixth-grade Nestor Lopez has moved 6 times and has had 10 first days of school. He just wants to live in one place for more than a few months. He ends up in New Haven, Texas with his mom to live with his grandmother. Before, he had to live on military bases so he’s not so sure how this will go. He knows that with having his grandmother here, he will not be able to easily get out of chores and things around the house. No bueno.

Whats so special about Nestor is that he can talk to animals. He does not want anyone to find out though (family included)! Well, word around New Haven is that animals have gone… missing? Two kids in his class were talking about how their dog and goats disappeared. Then he heard more and more. What he least expects is that his grandmother has anything to do with it. But rumors say that she’s been in the woods. The woods that no one wants to walk through because all of the supposed terrors that live in there. As Nestor tries to take this in, his friends try to figure this out with him. Next thing they know a “tule vieja” may be the suspect. A tule vieja is a witch and she can soak in the powers of animals that she bites during the solar eclipse that happens twice a year. Bad news bears for New Haven… the next eclipse is supposed to happen in a few days… right where they live.

What’s different about this book is the dynamic of the character and the twist of magical realism. I think the author did an amazing job with crafting the voice of Nestor Lopez. I felt like I was in the book listening to that crazy crow and going on this upturned quest to help save the missing animals. The relationship between Nestor and his father was very special and I loved that. This is a book that I will highly recommend to my students! It reminded me a little bit of Twist by Sarah Cannon.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Adrianna Cuevas is a first-generation Cuban-American originally from Miami, Florida. A former Spanish and ESOL teacher, Adrianna currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and son. When not working with TOEFL students, wrangling multiple pets including an axolotl, and practicing fencing with her son, she is writing her next middle grade novel.

She is represented by Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel of Full Circle Literary.

Read about Adrianna’s early reading life and the impact of representational stories on the Latinx in Kid Lit blog.

Read an interview with Adrianna about her influences in writing The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez on The Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade blog.

Who doesn’t love a captivating storyline with talking animals and a boy who can talk to them too?! What is your favorite book that has animal fantasy? Share with me below!

Xo, Sierra

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