September/October 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“What would you do if you didn’t believe in monsters, then came across a chupacabra? What if that
chupacabra was sweet like a puppy? Violeta must save Chupie and show everyone that not all creatures are monstrous in this heartfelt graphic novel.”
— Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
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2024 Texas Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List
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IndieBound Indie Next List
Violeta Rubio and her friends are on a mission to protect their local chupacabra from international smugglers and monster hunters in this supernatural island adventure by acclaimed author Amparo Ortiz and debut illustrator Ronnie Vazquez.
Violeta Rubio only has one goal in mind for her first-ever trip to Puerto Rico: help Abuelita reopen her beloved restaurant. The only problem is that Violeta’s whole family thinks they can do it without her. Now, Violeta doesn’t have anyone to hang out with or anything to do. But when best friend duo Diego and Lorena need help capturing the rumored chupacabra, Violeta sees her chance to change all that.
What she isn’t expecting is to run straight into the beast. Only…he isn’t as monstrous as everyone assumes. Sure, he’s got some scales and spikes, big red eyes, and pointy fangs—but he’s totally puppy and loyal to a fault. Violeta must find a way to keep Chupie hidden and convince her newfound friends that he isn’t anything to be scared of.
And if that isn’t hard enough, a new threat lurks around the corner that is dead set on capturing Chupie for their own nefarious means. Will Violeta be able to save Chupie from the danger that surrounds them without sacrificing everything else in the process?
Saving Chupie captures the resilience of a young girl, a family, and an island in the face of nearly impossible odds and proves that love and friendship conquers all in this timely new adventure inspired by Puerto Rican culture and lore.
About the Author
Amparo Ortiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently lives on the island’s northeastern coast. While Blazewrath Games is her debut novel, Saving Chupie is her first book for middle grade readers. Her short story comic, “What Remains in the Dark,” appears in the Eisner Award–winning anthology Puerto Rico Strong. She holds an MA in English and a BA in psychology from the UPR’s Río Piedras campus. When she’s not teaching ESL to her college students, she’s streaming K-pop music videos, vlogging for her eponymous YouTube channel, and writing about Latinx characters in worlds both contemporary and fantastical. Follow her shenanigans online at amparoortiz.com.
Eisner-winning artist Ronnie Vazquez is a queer Puerto Rican illustrator with experience in comics and visual development. With a range of storytelling experience from middle grade to young adult, their signature talent involves designing creatures of the toothy variety. They have illustrated for several independent anthologies and books and currently teach young artists in their community. When they're not drawing pictures or working with young artists, they can be found huddled in a blanket fort working on puzzles and eating fruit snacks.
"Expertly weaves Puerto Rican culture and lore into themes of familial love and friendship difficulties. An enticing, broadly appealing blend of Puerto Rican mythology and relationship-driven adventure. " — Kirkus Reviews
"Highly recommend this fantasy-realism hybrid with plenty of action and humor." — School Library Journal
“Beware: cutest Chupacabra ever!"
— Sophie Escabasse, creator of the bestselling Witches of Brooklyn series
“Everyone needs a Chupie in their life!” — Kat Fajardo, creator of Miss Quinces
“What’s better than a summer vacation with new friends and a mythical beast? Saving Chupie has them both and more.”
— Tim Probert, creator of the Lightfall series
"Expressive, colorful, and full of heart-- perfect for a young animal enthusiast looking for adventure."
— Wendy Xu, author of Tidesong
"I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories mixed with a kid and a secret monster. Saving Chupie is like E.T. in Puerto Rico." — Yehudi Mercado, author of Chunky Goes to Camp
"Saving Chupie is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, standing out in a crowded graphic novel space with a unique voice, stunning art, and unforgettable characters." — George Jreije, author of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria