The Making of Yolanda La Bruja

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Elizabeth Acevedo has said that reading Lorraine Avila feels like an “UPPERCUT to the senses.” You've never encountered an author with prose of this sensitivity and fire.

Yolanda Alvarez is having a good year. She’s starting to feel at home Julia De Burgos High, her school in the Bronx. She has her best friend Victory, and maybe something with José, a senior boy she’s getting to know. She’s confident her initiation into her family’s bruja tradition will happen soon.

But then a white boy, the son of a politician, appears at Julia De Burgos High, and his vibes are off. And Yolanda’s initiation begins with a series of troubling visions of the violence this boy threatens. How can Yolanda protect her community, in a world that doesn’t listen? Only with the wisdom and love of her family, friends, and community – and the Brujas Diosas, her ancestors and guides.
The Making of Yolanda La Bruja is the book this country, struggling with the plague of gun violence, so desperately needs, but which few could write. Here Lorraine Avila brings a story born from the intersection of race, justice, education, and spirituality that will capture readers everywhere.

Lorraine Avila (she/they) is a storyteller. Lorraine was born and raised in the Bronx, NY and is a first generation Dominican-American. Avila spent a decade as an educator in the K-12 education system. She has a BA from Fordham University in English, an MA in Teaching from New York University, and an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. The Making of Yolanda La Bruja is her YA debut.


“Gripping… Avila skillfully depicts the reality of growing up as a Black Latinx teen in the midst of racial violence and social upheaval… Avila carefully demonstrates the tremendous strength in Yolanda’s community and the deep roots of her spiritual life, which keep her grounded as she steps into her full power.” — Horn Book [STAR] “Suspenseful… Avila skillfully cultivates a unique and magical spin on a grounded, socially conscious plot that is rich in Afro-Latinx cultural detail. Yolanda is a boldly characterized protagonist whose intersectional identities as a queer and Deaf person of color informs her sharp-witted narrative voice and conviction around combatting racism within her community.” 

— Publishers Weekly (starred)

Most Anticipated YA of 2023 - HipLatina [STAR] “Unabashedly political…A remarkable, beautifully rendered debut.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

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