ARC Review: The Monsters of Chavez Ravine

TW: Suicide, Violence, Death

I love a horror story that takes place pre-modern technology. There are challenges that characters will have to face that are foreign to the modern world. But there are also things that are, sadly, very much the same. Brenda Castaneda brings a tale of family, home, and social justice in The Monsters of Chavez Ravine.

In the 1950s, the citizens of Chavez Ravine are trying desperately to keep their land from the clutches of the City of Los Angeles. Some citizens have taken low buyouts, but those that remain are steadfast in their resistance. Trini Duran is one who has moved on, but her father remains in Chavez Ravine, determined to die where he was born.

As whispers of strange happenings reach Trini, she returns to the Palo Verde neighborhood and soon learns that someone – or something- with stop at nothing to move the citizens from the land.

This is such a great story! Trini’s struggle with escaping her hometown, and then returning is something that a lot of us can identify with. She finds that she still has very strong ties to the community and that it will always be a part of her identity.

Castaneda also tackles issues of racism that are still prevalent with low-income primarily minority communities today. The City uses excuses that the houses are rundown and the roads are unpaved as a reason to push the citizens out, when the City itself denied improvements to the community.

I really enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more from Debra Castaneda! The Monsters of Chavez Ravine hits shelves on April 5, 2021.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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