October 13, 2021

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Paola Santiago Book 1) by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Paola Santiago Book 1) by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Rating: 5 Stars
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (Rick Riordan Presents)


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I love how this book combines elements of magic and science. In my opinion, magic is just science we don't understand yet. While others might think that magic and science have to be in contrast with each other, this book proves that they don't have to be. I really like how much the characters in this story are developed. The author's in-depth scene settings and descriptions make it easy to understand why Pao and Dante fear the chancla. I would too, man. The interactions between Pao and Dante are cute, as they're at that age where you're not always screaming about cooties and you're just starting to discover that you like others in a romantic way. I'm rooting for them! No idea what their ship name would be though.


This book had me hooked from start to finish. I can't wait to see its big-screen adaptation (Eva Longoria announced that she is handling that) and the sequel - Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares.


As a separate note, I listened to this book in an audiobook format. Frankie Corzo put on a great performance and I hope that they keep her as the narrator for the next book. She really helped bring the characters to life.


About the Book

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents author Tehlor Kay Mejia and her thrilling fantasy adventure based on the Mexican legend of La Llorona (the Crying Woman).

This fast-paced journey into Latinx folklore, with its clever protagonist, is sure to keep readers turning pages into the night. - Booklist (starred review)

Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It's all they've heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.

Hating her mother's humiliating superstitions and knowing that she and her friends would never venture into the water, Pao organizes a meet-up to test out her new telescope near the Gila, since it's the best stargazing spot. But when Emma never arrives and Pao sees a shadowy figure in the reeds, it seems like maybe her mom was right. . . .

Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.


About Tehlor Kay Mejia:

TEHLOR KAY MEJIA is a bestselling and award winning author of young adult and middle grade fiction.

Her debut young adult novel, WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, received six starred reviews, as well as the Oregon Spirit Book Award for debut fiction, and the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award runner up honor for debut speculative fiction. It has been featured on Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books lists, and was a 2019 book of the year selection by Kirkus and School Library Journal. Its sequel, WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM, followed to continuing acclaim, while MISS METEOR (co-written with National Book Award Nominee Anna-Marie McLemore) was named to the American Library Association’s 2021 Rainbow List, honoring outstanding contributions in LGBTQIA teen fiction.

Tehlor’s debut middle grade novel, PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE RIVER OF TEARS, was published by the Rick Riordan Presents imprint at Disney/Hyperion. It received four starred reviews, and was named Amazon’s best book of 2020 in the 9-12 age range. It is currently in development at Disney as a television series to be produced by Eva Longoria.

Tehlor lives with her daughter, partner, and two small dogs in Oregon, where she grows heirloom corn and continues her quest to perfect the vegan tamale. She is active on Twitter and Instagram @tehlorkay. 

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