Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Jolly Fish Press for the early review copy and opportunity to be on this tour!
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 botanica.
Tis Lugo tells no evil is a thrilling middle grade novel about a murder mystery and the one witness to afraid to say what she saw. Danette masterfully captures Tia’s ever-changing emotions as she tries to do the most right thing to her without telling everyone what she has seen. The story takes you on twists and turns that will keep you turning the page wondering if your prediction was right. It led to an even bigger twist that will make you question your detective skills – it’s okay, it’s a twist that is gasp worthy.
The story succeeds in showing Tia’s growing fear and the actions she takes to protect her own identity, her secret and the people she loves. Speaking of Tia, she is such a well written character! Tia is from a Puerto Rican family with a grandma dedicated to believing in the powers of a good botanica. Tia also has asthma and although it is a key point to the story, her asthma does not define who she is. Seeing this as a Latina who is asthmatic, it was refreshing to read a story where the illness did not take away from the character. Tia in good faith believes her actions are the right thing to do even as a reader we just wanted her to say something. I had to step into the shoes of Tia to understand how hard it would be to say the thing you want to say when the murderer is amongst the people in her community.
Along with Tia, we are introduced to Julius, Tia’s best friend and her grandmother. Both characters were equally loveable in their own ways. Julius is sincere, caring and can never get mad at Tia even when he finds out that Tia was keeping a big secret from him. Julius is the great example of a friend who will ride or die for you and I absolutely loved seeing their friendship grow through the story. Tia’s grandmother is wise beyond her years, dedicated to protection and will not stand for anyone discrediting her beliefs, even her own son; Tia’s father. That dedication and warmth Tia’s grandmother receives from her local visits from botanica become vital in Tia’s own search to feel more safe. While she was bullied because of her grandmother’s belief, as the story moves along you see Tia’s perspective change and appreciate her grandmother for who and what she believes in.
Overall, Tia Lugo speak no evil is a thrilling and strange read. It gives you goosebumps without the need for the gore. The author manages to make a spooky read be more than just the spookiness we get in most murder mystery novels. You have the main theme of the fear of the unknown and that driving theme wraps up nicely into an ending you didn’t expect but still love anyways.
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.