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Adrianna Cuevas

Author of The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

7 Works 252 Members 6 Reviews

Works by Adrianna Cuevas


Common Knowledge



Cumba's family is uneasily living in Cuba after the rise of Fidel Castro and when a local soldier threatens to conscript Cumba into the army, his family sends him off to America instead.

This was an interesting historical fiction read, although I admit it was a bit slow going at first. Cumba arrives in America a little before the half-way point of the book, and I confess to enjoying that second part more than earlier chapters where I anticipated he would be sent off the island. (Perhaps the intended audience of late elementary school-age children and middle schoolers would be more surprised but I knew it was inevitable.) Seeing Cumba trying to fit into his new home, meeting new folks (including other Cuban refugees), trying to improve his English, etc. was far more engaging. Also, I think these parts are great for young readers to develop some empathy for their classmates and neighbors who might be immigrants and/or refugees. I also appreciated that the ending was both happy and realistic, with not every character getting a picture-perfect conclusion but not everything is doom and gloom.

The backmatter includes a glossary that I didn't find super helpful as it didn't define all of the Spanish words used in the text. In some cases, that was fine because context clues made it obvious the meaning, but in other cases I had to resort to using online translation services. Personally, I think no glossary would have been better than one that didn't include everything. There was also a note from the author here explaining how Cumba's story was actually based in large part on her own father's story. This was very insightful; I only wish it had been a preface because it really did make the story that much more meaningful and impactful.
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sweetiegherkin | 1 other review | Jan 13, 2023 |
What a great book -- it's original, funny, kinda salty, and has great characters. It's got a little mystery (where are the animals going?) great friends (2!) and enemies (unexpected!), a little magic (talking to animals) and surprises (animal trivia. Also, the animals are kind of jerks, which is funny) and some serious stuff (how to deal with a deployed parent. how to move and move and move again). Fast paced and full of adventure! Love the slightly bilingual nature of the book, and the seamlessness of Nestor's Latinx (Cuban) heritage -- as in, it's all throughout the book but nobody makes a big deal out of it and clearly the town he's moved to in Texas is full of kids from a variety of backgrounds.… (more)
jennybeast | 3 other reviews | Jul 28, 2022 |
Retelling: Nestor Lopez is the son of an Army Sargent serving in Afghanistan. He and his mother are constantly moving, so he has trouble setting down roots. When mystical creatures threaten the animals of his new town, Nestor quickly overcomes his reservations about making friends, reveals a secret special ability, and solves the mystery to save the day.

Thoughts and feelings: The mysterious creatures of the woods had me turning the pages of this fast-moving book, but I did get weary of listening to Nestor's self-pity. I also wish that the book's villains had a little more depth. I loved the sarcastic animals, who often reflected my own attitude towards Nestor, and the quirky Grandmother. I would love to try her pastelles for breakfast or any time.… (more)
Ms.Penniman | 3 other reviews | Jul 20, 2022 |
Cumba's parents send him to the United States for safety after Fidel Castro's revolution threatens to conscript Cumba as a child soldier. He ends up in Florida living with Prima Benita. Without friends or family, speaking little English and under the stress of worrying about his family, Cumba is overwhelmed. Letters from his brother Pepito help and eventually Cumba becomes friends with Alejandro and Valeria, the other charges in Benita's care. But he still longs for his family to be reunited. Young readers may need some background to understand the history behind the story but it may be enough for the casual reader to know that Fidel and his soldiers are not good guys. A note of suspense runs throughout, from the looming menace of the soldier Ignacio to Cumba's uncertainty about life in the U.S. and the status of his family.… (more)
Salsabrarian | 1 other review | Mar 7, 2022 |



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