Viking. Aug. 2022. 272p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593465974.
Gr 5 Up–Readers meet Jorge while he is sitting on his roof, stewing over how his mom sent him to live with his grandparents in New Mexico. Jorge is not looking forward to starting a new school, and his first day does not go well after he tries to help another student but finds himself on the wrong side of the principal. Later that day, Jorge ends up saving a chupacabra, Carter, from the principal after Carter saves him from almost being hit by the principal’s car. The two become fast friends. Jorge gets Carter blood (chupacabras are mythical creatures known for killing livestock) and they talk about their lives. Jorge also befriends two kids at school, Liza and Ernie, and introduces them to Carter. Carter eventually has to leave because there are real monsters and principal hunting for him. This novel has humorous moments. Jorge is a kid who tends to act before he thinks, which is how he ends up living with his grandparents. He has trouble taking responsibility for his actions but is shown to have a good heart when he speaks up for Ernie and helps Carter. Jorge and his friends do not sound like typical kids, using dated vocabulary (chillax, dweeb). Jorge is fleshed out a little by the end, but most of the characters are superficial. While there is some good and gross humor, the language is a little more advanced than one would expect, which may make some scenes not land as well as they should. There are also some dated references such as Speedy Gonzales and Caspar the Friendly Ghost that intended readers might not get.
VERDICT While there are funny moments in this fantasy-infused tale, this is an additional purchase.

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