Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today is my stop on the TBR and Beyond Tours blog tour for the middle grade mystery, Tia Lugo Speaks No Evil. It’s the second day of the tour today, and you can find the schedule with links to the rest of the blog taking part in the tour here.
Tia Lugo has a deadly secret.
Tia Lugo considers herself an ordinary thirteen-year-old girl. She just wants to enjoy the end of summer, which means hanging out with her best friend and neighbor, Julius, and ignoring her Puerto Rican grandmother’s embarrassing reliance on creepy candles, weird-smelling herb bundles, and eerie statues—all available for sale at the nearby botánica. But when Tia witnesses a murder late one night from her bedroom window, everything changes in an instant.
Now, Tia is terrified to tell anyone what she’s seen. What if the killer comes after her too? He knows where she lives. Even worse, Tia believes he’s sending her secret messages, reminding her to stay quiet. Desperate to keep herself and her family safe, Tia turns to the last place she ever thought she’d go: her grandmother’s favorite shopping spot, the botánica.
I feel a bit mixed about this book. It almost felt like it wasn’t sure what it was trying to be; it was too young to be young adult, but some of the themes felt too grown up to be fully middle grade. Because of that, it made it hard to assess and rate, but I eventually gave it three stars.
The book is fast paced, and Tia is a likeable protagonist who understandably feels both overwhelmed and conflicted when faced with information that could solve a murder, but could also put her in danger. Trying to keep herself and everyone she loves safe, she keeps silent, until she is absolutely forced to speak out.
Tia takes on a great amount of responsibility for the death of the person she witnesses, thinking constantly that she could have done something to save him. Already struggling with her asthma, she begins struggling with anxiety attacks as well, although she doesn’t know to identify them as such. Moments of post-trauma anxiety haunt her constantly, and she is on edge at all times.
Throughout the panicked pages of trying to keep her secret, there’s also the childhood politics of being a child that stands out because of her family, and trying to work out her feelings for the boy she likes – and if she can trust him with her secret.
About the Author
Danette Vigilante grew up in the Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn, New York. She continues to live in NYC with her family and sweet pup, Luna. One day she hopes to move to a place where the sun is always shining, and the air is warm. Danette is the author of TIA LUGO SPEAKS NO EVIL, THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON, a 2012-2013 Sunshine State Young Readers award nominee, and SAVING BABY DOE, a 2014 pick for the New York Public Library 100 titles for Reading and Sharing list. Danette encourages literacy in her community via a Little Free Library installed on her front lawn.
Thanks for joining me for this stop on the tour, and my thanks to TBR and Beyond for access to my ARC of Tia Lugo Speaks No Evil. I wish the author all the best with the upcoming publication of the novel, and I’m sure it will be one I remember for a while to come.