Subtexts ChupaCabra Meets Billy the Kid by Rudolfo Anaya
The bloodsucker and the outlaw: ChupaCabra Meets Billy the Kid
The title alone of Rudolfo Anaya’s new fantastical youngadult novel, ChupaCabra Meets Billy the Kid (University of Oklahoma Press, Aug. 2018), is enough to let any reader know that they are in for an unusual story. A chupacabra is a goat-like monster that sucks blood — a legend from the Americas — and Billy the Kid is a historical figure who has been turned into a folk hero by the passage of time and by those who romanticize the violence of the Old West. So how are these two meeting anywhere at any time?
For that we turn to Rosa Medina, a social worker from Los Angeles who has returned to her ancestral home in New Mexico, a village called Puerto de Luna, to write a novel about Billy the Kid, about whom she has researched extensively and knows a tremendous amount. Still, she doesn’t quite feel like she’s getting to the heart of the man. When we first meet Rosa, she is instant-messaging with a friend, Marcy, who has, apparently, been kidnapped by aliens. She offers to sell her soul to get to know Billy a little bit better, and suddenly he shows up at her front door. He knows Marcy, and he has a flash drive with some very important information on it. Rosa grabs her laptop computer and timetravels with Billy to the 19th century — and this jam-packed summary barely scratches the surface of the wild scenario Anaya has created, let alone the rest of the book. ChupaCabra Meets Billy the Kid is the third novel in Anaya’s ChupaCabra series, after Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006) and ChupaCabra and the Roswell UFO (2008), both of which also feature Rosa as the studious, adventurous protagonist. — Jennifer Levin