Fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears, and Disney's Encanto will be captivated by this fantastical novel about a girl who must learn to trust her ancestral powers when she comes face-to-face with the Mexican legend La Lechuza.
Omega Morales’s family has been practicing magic for centuries in Noche Buena. But over the years, the town's reputation for the supernatural is no longer one the people carry with pride. So Omega’s family keeps to themselves, and in private, they’re Empaths—diviners who can read and manipulate the emotions of people and objects around them. But Omega’s powers don’t quite work, and it leaves her feeling like an outsider in her own family.
When a witch with the power to transform herself into an owl—known in Mexican folklore as La Lechuza—shows up unannounced, Omega, her best friend Clau (who happens to be a ghost), and her cousin Carlitos must conduct a séance under a full moon in order to unravel the mystery of the legend.
Suddenly Omega’s magic begins to change, and the key to understanding her powers is more complicated than she thought. Omega will have to decide what’s more important—trusting the instincts of others or learning to trust in herself.
Mexican 12-year-old Omega Morales feels like the odd one out in the small town of Noche Buena, and in her tight-knit magical family of empaths. While her cousin Carlitos is a natural at controlling his powers, Omega—who's half human as opposed to fully magical—can barely keep her abilities from giving her a stomachache. When an ex-friend accuses Omega of being behind the recent disappearances of neighborhood cats, she wonders what could be stirring up trouble. Accompanied by Carlitos and their best friend Clau, a ghost from Venezuela, Omega digs deeper into the terrifying mystery behind folkloric witch La Lechuza, uncovering long-buried secrets about her own family, and her powers, along the way. Kemp (Heartbreak Symphony) skillfully follows even the most antagonistic characters' interiority throughout, cultivating empathy and understanding around experiences contributing to their behavior. Silver linings balance emotionally fraught moments involving bullying, death and grief, and hate in this well-crafted tale that manages to both deliver scares and elicit laughs. Ages 8–12. Agent: Andrea Morrison, Writers House.