August 21, 2022

BLOG TOUR Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows by Tehlor Kay Mejia

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE SANCTUARY OF SHADOWS by Tehlor Kay Mejia Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book


Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia

Pub. Date: August 2, 2022

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 352

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindle, Audible, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD,, Book Depository

*Please note - this post contains affiliate links, from which we may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Tehlor Kay Mejia's third chilling story based on Mexican folklore. This time Paola Santiago faces El Cucuy, aka the Boogeyman.

"Paola Santiago is a whip-smart Latina who dares to explore the shadows between folklore and middle-school friendship. A thrilling adventure."--Nina Moreno, author of Don't Date Rosa Santos

Paola Santiago has recently returned from Oregon, where she defeated the Hitchhiker ghost and saved her father from the vengeful spirit that was possessing him. The poor girl deserves a rest! But first she has to rescue Dante from the void, where he’s been imprisoned by some unknown force. Even though Dante has turned against Pao, she can’t just leave him there--they’ve been friends for too long.

Paola’s prophetic dreams seem to have dried up, so she has to find other ways to locate a new rift where she can enter the void. Signs point to Texas--but how is she going to get there from Arizona? It just so happens that Emma’s new group of politically active friends, the Rainbow Rogues, are planning a field trip to San Antonio. It’s the perfect ruse for Paola, if she can stand being with the judgmental girls for that many days. . . .

Relying on her wits, training from the Ninos de la Luz, and the emotional support of her best friend Emma, Pao makes it into the void. Once there she must face down not just one but two enemies: El Cucuy, the bogeyman . . . and someone even scarier who looks a lot like Pao herself.

This third exciting journey into Mexican folklore has our lovable, intrepid protagonist making discoveries both wonderous and fearsome.

Grab the first 2 books in the PAOLA SANTIAGO now!

Book 1 is FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription!

Check out my review of Paola Santiago and the River of Tears here!

Check out my review of Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares here!

REVIEW of Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Rating: 4 Stars
Format: ARC (Provided by Disney Books and Rockstar Book Tours)

After the events of the last book, Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares, Paola is reeling from major revelations and the loss of Dante (who is now stuck in the void). The adults in Pao’s life want to keep her out of the action, but she’s determined to save her friend no matter the cost. Now, in the final book in the series, Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows, Pao makes another journey to rescue Dante from the clutches of El Cucuy (and finds herself in the process). 

The folklore is incorporated into the story well, and I love getting to see the various figures out of Mexican myth and legend make an appearance. El Cucuy, the lord of nightmares and fear, is a truly imposing figure. He’s the most powerful fantasma in history, and he’s planning on destroying the world. Given that he is such a mysterious being, it was fun to unravel the mystery of how to defeat him at the same time Pao did. Ms. Mejia did a great job with painting the picture of whatever setting the characters were in; both the physical scene and the mood were evident in the imagery she used. 

In addition to the pieces of lore built into the story, I also enjoyed how Ms. Mejia wove some social commentary into the book. First of all, everyone can see Pao’s been through a lot over the course of the series. It’s no surprise she has PTSD; the revelation that La Llorona is her grandmother certainly hasn’t helped things. Mejia really emphasized how this kind of trauma is not something that goes away overnight, and I think that’s something readers of all ages need to be reminded of. There have also been some changes in Pao’s family on a less supernatural level. Now that Pao’s father is back, he doesn’t want her to have to deal with monsters. It’s understandable as an adult that he wants to keep her safe, but it’s also understandable how Pao gets frustrated that he doesn’t seem to acknowledge her accomplishments from the previous books (which include saving him from the previously mentioned murderous grandmother). This comes full circle towards the end of the story, and it was encouraging to see the adults recognize Pao’s leadership.   

One theme I’ve noticed throughout all of the Rick Riordan Presents books is the strength of the middle schoolers leading the story. It’s a reminder that children are always more capable than most adults give them credit for. My favorite quote was, “Why does the fight between good and evil so often rely on a middle schooler getting ahold of a bus ticket without parental supervision?” Paola is not the only ‘child’ who pulls their weight in this story; Emma and the Rainbow Rogues help Pao on the first leg of her journey, and she later rallies the Ninos de la Luz in defense of their home. Outside of Pao, Emma was my favorite young character (Senora Mata is still my favorite adult - talk about a plot twist there). She’s a great ally, and a bright light in the series to contrast some of the darkness that Pao and Dante internalize. Pao and Emma’s relationship does undergo some strain in this book, but ultimately it ends up developing into a bit more by the end of the story. 

I enjoyed listening to Frankie Corzo narrate this audiobook (she has been the narrator for all three books). Frankie really brought the characters to life and nailed the tone of the story.  

Overall, this was a perfect ending to the Paola Santiago trilogy. It’s currently in development to be produced as a television series with Eva Longoria at Disney, so I’m excited to see the characters hit the big screen. If a tale filled with mythology and folklore that blends elements of the horror and fantasy genres sounds like something you would enjoy, go check out the series today!

Thank you to the author, Disney Books, the Rick Riordan Presents team, and Jaime at Rockstar Book Tours for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.

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. 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a finished copy of PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE SANCTUARY OF SHADOWS, US Only.

Ends September 6th, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:



IG Post


Author Z. Knight's Guild



Ya Books Central



BookHounds YA

Excerpt/IG Post


#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog



laura's bookish corner

Review/IG Post

Week Two:


Lifestyle of Me

Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post


Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Review/IG Post


The Momma Spot

Review/IG Post


One More Exclamation

Review/IG Post

Week Three:


A Dream Within A Dream



Two Points of Interest

Review/IG Post


The Bookwyrm's Den

Review/IG Post


Kait Plus Books

Excerpt/IG Post



Review/IG Post/TikTok Post


The Book View

Excerpt/IG Post


Lisa-Queen of Random

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Four:


Eye-Rolling Demigod's Book Blog

Review/IG Post


Two Chicks on Books




IG Post



Review/IG Post



IG Review/Read Part of Book Out Loud


A Backwards Story

Review/IG Post


PopTheButterfly Reads

Review/IG Post/TikTok Post

Week Five:



IG Post



Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post



IG Review/TikTok Post

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