New YA Books: Bruja Born and Moonrise

Posted June 5, 2018 by shooting in Book Review / 27 Comments

Today I’m sharing book reviews for two new YA books; one a sequel and another told in verse. I do recommend both!

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.

Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back…

Review of Bruja Born

Bruja Born is the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series (Labyrinth Lost was first – my review can be found here). I do recommend reading the books in order as things that occured in the first book are repeatedly mentioned throughout Bruja Born. Plus, you’ll get to know a bit more about Lula and her family. Now, if you have read Labyrinth Lost, then I should note that Bruja Born is told in the point of view of Lula, the eldest sister, instead of Alex. While I really liked Lula and appreciated what she had to go through in the book, I’m not sure I liked her more than Alex.

This book was a fascinating look into how this family’s powers work in the real world, and it also clearly shows that they can’t just do anything they want. When Lula’s boyfriend Maks dies in a horrible bus crash, she is desperate to bring him back. Obviously, this has consequences that really affect a lot of people. I could understand Lula’s wish for Maks to be back in her life, but what she does puts a lot of people at risk and I’m not entirely sure she understood that in the end. It almost felt like she got off a bit too easy maybe? At any rate, the book was really well written and I loved learning more about this family. I’m very curious about the youngest sister, Rose, and I hope the next book is about her! Bruja Born wraps up Lula’s story, but it does end with a little “push” if you will to entice you to read the third book!

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Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): ‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

Review of Moonrise

This book is told in verse, but even if you aren’t sure about verse novels, I would still recommend this book. I felt like it read so well and I often forgot I was even reading a verse novel. Plus, it focuses on such an interesting, important topic. Moonrise would make a great book for discussion, so people in book clubs might want to take note!

Moonrise is about Joe, whose brother used to be his hero, best friend, parent, all rolled into one. With a mom who wasn’t around much, and didn’t really seem to care, Ed was the oldest person in the house and he made sure to look after Joe. That is until he’s arrested one day for the murder of a police officer in Texas. Being a capital punishment state, Ed has now been in jail on death row for years – and his execution date is fast approaching, so Joe heads down to Texas to be with Ed.

Whether you believe in the death penalty or not, I think you’d find something poignant within Moonrise’s pages. To Joe, Ed is his family, and while he’s fairly sure Ed is innocent, he does have his doubts. Despite this, he knows that he doesn’t want Ed to die, and he hates the fact that he hasn’t visited him in all those years he was in jail. Not that this is Joe’s fault. He was underage and when his mom ran off, his aunt was in charge and she didn’t want to hear or think about Ed anymore.

Written in verse, this book is a fairly quick-paced read. However, it also makes you stop and think. If Ed was your brother, could you forgive him if he was guilty? Would you be okay with him getting the death penalty? These are just a couple of the questions Moonrise asks you to think about. Definitely an emotional, but impactful, read!

27 responses to “New YA Books: Bruja Born and Moonrise

  1. Moonrise looks like such an interesting book and can bring up a really big discussion during book clubs! Gonna have to check this one out.

  2. BOTH BOOKS SOUND AMAZING!!!! I loved the synopsis of Moonrise, I’m intrigued! And I have heard amazing things about Bruja Born, the cover is amazing🙌

  3. I don’t remember the last time I read a book in verse but the second one sounds very interesting to me. Also I love the concept of defying death and magical powers to bring back someone who is no longer here in the physical world. Thanks for sharing both books with us, Lauren!

  4. Moonrise sounds so intriguing. I wasn’t in love with the first book in the Bruja series, maybe I should try the second though it sounds really good.

  5. Jen

    Told in verse? Now that sounds intriguing! I love the first book you shared. I need to go snag the 1st book in the series.

  6. Both these books deal with such tough topics. I didn’t quite like Moonrise because I thought the use of verse left too much unsaid that should have been explored. But I should definitely be adding Bruja Borne and the first f it’s series to my TBR!

  7. I still haven’t read Labyrinth Lost, even though I bought the ebook ages ago! I think I have too many series I’m reading and I’d like to get some of them out of the way before I start another one, haha. It’s a shame that you felt like the character didn’t really understand the consequences of her actions by the end of the book, though :/ That might get to me.

    I have a copy of Moonrise! I think the story sounds very poignant and interesting. I’m interested to see how the story flows being told in verse. I’m pretty sure the author wrote One, which was told in verse and very enjoyable. So I’m keen to read it!

    Lovely reviews, Lauren 🙂

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