Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Sheri Joseph

Second Advisor

Dr. John Holman

Third Advisor

Mr. Joshua Russell


Inspired by Mexican-American folktale, La Llorona, (the Weeping Woman), Malas is a work of fiction. The novel is set in the early 1990s, in Las Cienegas, a fictional town on the Texas-Mexico border. Nerdy high school freshman by day, wannabe rock singer by night, fourteen-year-old Lulu Muñoz is out to make her mark on the world in spite of her complicated father, Julio Muñoz.

When her father’s relationship with a married woman brings violence into Lulu’s life, and he reacts by shutting her out, Lulu decides to take matters into her own hands. She sets out to find the truth about her father while keeping him from discovering her own secret life. She’s the front-man for a high school punk band, Pink Vomit. She’s sneaking into night clubs across the Mexican border. Battling her father for her own autonomy, she breaks the family taboo and seeks out Pilar Aguirre, her estranged biological grandmother, and the woman who, local history says, tried to drown Julio at birth.

Available for download on Wednesday, July 15, 2099