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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Monsters of Chavez Ravine by Debra Castaneda is an urban fantasy tale set in the Chavez Ravine canyon of Los Angeles in 1952. When news of her father's failing health reaches the ears of Trini Duran, a young woman of Mexican American descent, she reluctantly returns to her childhood home at Chavez Ravine. Trini is soon shocked by the desolate state of her old neighborhood, where she sees most of the families forcefully evicted by the City Housing Authority. To make matters worse, mysterious creatures are attacking the remaining inhabitants at night. Upon investigating further, Trini and her friends discover a sinister plot hatched by the local councilman to get rid of the last remaining members of the community. Alongside her friends, Trini must now take a final stand to preserve their heritage.
Inspired by actual events, author Debra Castaneda crafts a captivating tale with a fantastical twist to shed light on the plight of people who lose their homes to the greed of higher authorities hell-bent on profiting off human misery. The plot moves quickly, seamlessly incorporating real-life events that provide an enhanced sense of authenticity to the narrative. The characters are salt of the earth people, who you meet in every small town. I enjoyed the relationships Trini had with her friends, especially her dynamic with Bobby. The author deftly incorporates the supernatural elements, and they provide a unique flavor to the story. If you enjoy urban fantasy tales, I highly recommend The Monsters of Chavez Ravine.