Review: Call Me Iggy by Jose Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Call Me Iggy by Jose Aguirre cover shows a girl with a cross-body bag and a boy with a hoodie and backpack.

Call Me Iggy
Jose Aguirre
Illustrated by Rafael Rosado
First Second
Published February 13, 2024

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Call Me Iggy

Ignacio “Iggy” Garcia is an Ohio-born Colombian American teen living his best life. After bumping into Marisol (and her coffee) at school, Iggy’s world is spun around. But Marisol as too much going on to be bothered with the likes of Iggy. She has school, work, family, and the uphill battle of getting her legal papers. As Iggy stresses over how to get Marisol to like him, his grandfather comes to the rescue. The thing is, not only is his abuelito dead, but he also gives terrible love advice. The worst. And so, with his ghost abuelito’s meddling, Iggy’s life begins to unravel as he sets off on a journey of self-discovery.

CALL ME IGGY tells the story of Iggy searching for his place in his family, his school, his community, and ultimately—as the political climate in America changes during the 2016 election— his country. Focusing on familial ties and budding love, CALL ME IGGY challenges our assumptions about Latino-American identity while reaffirming our belief in the hope that all young people represent. Perfect for lovers of multigenerational stories like DISPLACEMENT and THE MAGIC FISH.

Call Me Iggy on Goodreads

My Review

This is such a sweet story. Iggy accidentally wakes the ghost of his grandfather and the two agree to help each other. Iggy needs help learning Spanish and getting the girl he’s interested in, and in exchange, Abuelito would like Iggy to find an orchid field where the family can scatter his ashes.

Sometimes Abuelito’s help leads to disastrous (but funny) consequences. At other times, he helps Iggy see things in a new way or challenges the views he holds about himself, his culture, and his family.

The story takes place during the 2016 presidential election, so some scenes reference some of the campaign speeches and rhetoric that some voters ascribed to. Iggy’s parents share their views on the political climate, and so does Iggy’s friend Marisol, who could be deported under the new presidential administration.

As a character, Iggy demonstrates so much growth and new confidence through the conversations he has with his grandfather and his friendship with Marisol. I loved the illustrations of his different expressions. Those paired with the dialog made for an incredibly moving story and a pretty quick read.

I had a lot of fun reading this book. I can see the comparison to THE MAGIC FISH, though there are no fairytales in this book. It has some of the same feeling of searching for one’s place in the world. Readers looking for a sweet romance or story about finding where you belong will enjoy this book.

Call Me Iggy on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 10 up.

Iggy and his family are Columbian-American. Marisol and her family are undocumented Mexican immigrants.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Iggy’s grandfather teaches him his favorite swear word in Spanish. He and Iggy use the word several times.

Romance/Sexual Content
A boy and girl have romantic feelings for one another.

Spiritual Content
Iggy knocks over his grandfather’s urn, spilling his ashes, and his grandfather’s ghost appears, offering Iggy a deal: Spanish lessons and help getting the girl he’s crushing on in exchange for his finding a place to scatter his grandfather’s ashes.

Violent Content
Includes racist quotes from one of Donald Trump’s campaign speeches. Some other minor characters make racist comments. Iggy helping a girl pick up her school papers becomes a racist meme shared online. Characters assume Iggy is Puerto Rican and speaks Spanish.

Drug Content
At one point, Iggy’s father asks him if he’s using drugs. He’s guessing– there’s no evidence to make him think this.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of CALL ME IGGY in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Call Me Iggy by Jose Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

  1. Ms. Yingling says:

    Thanks for the review! I wasn’t sure if this would be a middle school book or not. I have it on reserve at the library, so will be even more eager to take a look now!