Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publishing Date: September 27, 2022
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.
Content Warning: bullying and grief
Thoughts and Themes: My first thought is that I keep reading Lechuza as Lechuga and was really confused about there being a legend regarding lettuce that I hadn’t heard about. I am glad to tell you all that this story is not about lettuce at all but that would have been funny. But also prior to this thought, I was so happy to see that the author had now written a middle grade book since I loved her two young adult books so much.
I am happy to say that I loved this book as much as the young adult books if not more. This is a perfect read for second graders and up especially during this spooky season. I love that this book is spooky but not too scary to frighten the younger audience. I loved the references to Mexican folklore that this book includes because so much of these tales were things that I grew up hearing about.
Something that I really enjoy about this book is the added images within chapters. I like how these images bring the story to life and it works really well for me since I have a hard time picturing what I am reading.
Characters: In this story you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Omega. You get to meet her family, her best friend Carlitos, and a ghost that lives alongside them, Clau. Right off the bat it is hard not to fall in love with each of the characters that you are introduced to in this story.
I really loved the relationship that each of the characters that are introduce have with our main character, Omega. I love how supportive each of the characters are of her and how they are supportive regardless of her differences. I love that you can feel the amount of love everyone has for each other seeping out of this book.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Omega. I really enjoyed the story being told through her perspective as it makes you remember the age of our main character. The voice of our narrator really made it hard to put down this book because I just wanted to hear more about the magic and everything going on in her world.
Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel, Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet was a 2021 Pura Belpré Honor Recipient. In addition to writing she’s also the creator and host of the Author Pep Talks podcast, as well as a contributor to the Las Musas podcast. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health.