cover image Freddie vs. the Family Curse

Freddie vs. the Family Curse

Tracy Badua. Clarion, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-358-61289-6

Twelve-year-old Filipino American Freddie Ruiz and his family have been plagued with bad luck, which they’ve dubbed the “Ruiz Family Curse,” for as long as they can remember. As a result, Freddie’s reputation for inadvertently courting misfortune precedes him, often ending friendships before they can begin. After Freddie uncovers an anting-anting, an amulet that grants its owner good luck, he believes he’s found the answer to his problems (“good luck—or heck, even nonbad luck—would be life-changing”). Instead, Freddie accidentally releases the ghost of his great-granduncle Ramon Ruiz, the amulet’s previous owner, who died at 17 during Imperial Japan’s invasion of the Philippines in WWII. When Ramon reveals that his summons also released vengeful spirits, Freddie and his curse-free cousin Sharkey Mendoza only have 13 days to save their family and break the Ruiz curse or risk trapping Ramon—and Freddie—in the amulet forever. Freddie, Sharkey, Ramon, and the rest of the Ruiz brood form an eclectic cast that feels loving and familiar. A madcap supernatural adventure infused with Filipino mythology, Badua’s debut highlights one Filipino American family’s experience navigating familial obligation, tradition, culture, and history. Ages 8–12. Agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. (May)