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<< Back to Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club

Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club

Kirkus Reviews
"Garza excels at writing scenes full of awesome luchador action and high-octane antics. … Pretty darn good fun."
In the third book of Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures, the titular hero struggles through the complexities of young love as he prepares to fulfill his luchador destiny. “Who knew the life of a twelve-year-old could be this darn complicated?” Uh-oh. Things are heating up between Max and Paloma. Though she’s moving to another city, Max can’t help but wonder if his newfound friend—who also shares a familial link to the lucha libre world—is more than just a friend. Max’s long-distance relationship with the girl of his dreams, Cecilia Cantu, also ends on a less-than-ideal note, muddling matters even more. Meanwhile, Max flies to Los Angeles to watch his tío Rodolfo, the legendary Guardian Angel, compete against some of the fiercest luchadores in the world. As he trains to follow in his renowned uncle’s footsteps, Max must face off against a rival of his own. Can Max triumph in both love and lucha libre? Book 3 of Max’s journey keeps to the same structure as its predecessors, with short, breezy chapters and a bilingual format (English text on the left, Crosthwaite’s Spanish translation on the right). The highlights here are the lucha libre matches. Garza excels at writing scenes full of awesome luchador action and high-octane antics. Though the romance plot at times feels overcooked, it fits within the high-stakes melodrama of the story. Pretty darn good fun.
- December 6, 2016  Visit Website
Children's Bookwatch
“An unfailingly entertaining read.”
Max seems like any other nerdy kid until he’s asked to join the Lucha Libre Club. The super-secret club admits only the offspring of wrestling royalty. And Max is a prince, descended through his mother from royal blood, his uncle the very king of lucha libre: The Guardian Angel. Trouble is, the club is so secret that Max can’t tell his best friend or girlfriend what he is up, vexing Paloma no end. An unfailingly entertaining read from cover to cover, Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club is a bilingual novel (English/Spanish) that is especially recommended for young readers ages 8 to 12, and will prove to be a popular addition to school and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club is also available in a paperback edition and in a Kindle format.
- February 1, 2017  Visit Website
Booklist Online 1 Stars
"This energetic follow-up to Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel (2011), a Pura Belpré Honor Book, will be hard to wrestle from readers’ hands."
In Max’s third adventure, a family secret prompts him to join a club of other young adults who share the same unspoken connections—they are related to world famous luchadores. Fans of lucha libre will be excited to see 12-year-old Max follow in his family’s wrestling legacy and begin his own luchador career. Max hopes to be like his famous uncle, the Guardian Angel, but he’s a bit distracted with his two love interests, Cecilia and Paloma. Middle-grade readers will be captivated by Max’s story and Garza’s exciting descriptions of the wrestling matches. While the narrative clearly establishes that wrestling is a male dominated world, Garza makes sure to include strong luchadoras like Paloma and La Dama Enmascarda (The Masked Lady). Black-and-white drawings appear at the beginning of each chapter, effectively capturing Max’s emotions and setting the tone for upcoming plot developments. Another wonderful aspect of this story is that bilingual readers can follow the narrative in English on one page and read the Spanish translation on the next. This energetic follow-up to Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel (2011), a Pura Belpré Honor Book, will be hard to wrestle from readers’ hands.
- December 28, 2016  Visit Website
The Horn Book Magazine
"… elements of tween romance, wish fulfillment, and adventure."
In this third series entry, twelve-year-old Max’s girlfriend, Cecilia, has moved to Hollywood, and he’s managed to keep things platonic with the equally beguiling Paloma, despite her crush on him. But then Cecilia breaks up with him over Christmas break and Paloma moves away, and Max is left wishing he had his earlier problem. When Max’s luchador uncle breaks his leg and can no longer wrestle, he turns to writing the storylines for the matches, and Max is invited to the next big event in Los Angeles. Of course, this allows him to see Cecilia again. Paloma is also there because she, like Max, has famous wrestling relatives. She invites him to join the Lucha Libre club, and together they watch the tournament, full of drama, suspense, and spectacle. What this story may lack in literary distinction, it more than makes up for in child appeal, with elements of tween romance, wish fulfillment, and adventure. In this bilingual book, the English is on the left-hand page of a spread, while the Spanish is on the right. Each of the twenty-seven chapters also includes a full-page black-and white illustration, making it an especially quick read for reluctant readers.
- Jonathan Hunt, March 1, 2017  Visit Website
School Library Journal
"Highly recommended, particularly for bilingual collections and where the author’s books are popular."
Maximilian is back in this third book in the series. Wrestling with keeping his lucha libre life and his feelings for Cecilia, the girl of his dreams, a secret, Max doesn’t think his life can get any more complicated. When Paloma, the only friend who knows that Max’s uncle is the great Guardian Angel—the greatest luchador of all time—moves away, Max doesn’t know whom he will be able to talk to about lucha libre. He receives a ticket and backstage passes to attend the Big Brawl in Los Angeles and travels with his uncles and Vampiro Velasquez. He is quickly inducted into the Lucha Libre Club—a group for kids who are related to luchadores—which Paloma is a part of. With the help of Vampiro Velasquez, who provides valuable life lessons as well as instruction on wrestling techniques, the protagonist discovers what makes the Guardian Angel more than just a man in a mask. Written in English and Spanish, this story is filled with excitement and addresses the problems and everyday worries of kids like Max. Illustrations accompany each chapter, and all readers, including reluctant ones, will find something to interest them; the addition of the female luchadoras and their young relatives is a nice touch. Readers of all ages will discover wisdom within the story, especially in the character of Vampiro Velasquez, who reminds us that time passes for everyone. VERDICT Highly recommended, particularly for bilingual collections and where the author’s books are popular.
- Selenia Paz, May 1, 2017  Visit Website

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