Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Paola Santiago is a 12-year-old who is obsessed with space, astronomy, and anything she can prove with the scientific method. However, she has a low tolerance for her mother’s passion for the supernatural or her embarrassing rules. One rule for example is never to go near the river because La Llorona, a wailing ghost woman, wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for children to drown.
Paola and her two best friends, Emma and Dante enjoyed spending time together. Since Paola did not believe in her mother’s superstitions and knowing that her friends would never venture into the water, she organized a scientific meetup to test out her new telescope near the Gila river as it was the best stargazing location. However, Emma never made it to the meeting and Paola saw a shadowy figure in the reeds. Looks like her mother may have been right…
Paola had relied on scientific evidence to make sense of the world around her, but in order to find her friend, she will have to let go of that logical side and enter the world of her nightmares filled with unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and terrifying spirits! Now Dante and Paola would embark on a quest where failure means death. Can Paula save her friend and the world? Find out in Paola Santiago and the River of Tears.
My older daughter is huge fan of Rick Riordan ever since I introduced the Percy Jackson series to her. She finished the books so quickly that I started introducing new books from the Rick Riordan Presents collection to her. In this collection, Riordan enlisted authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds to tell their own stories. These stories are inspired by mythology and folklore of their own heritage.
I told my daughter that these books are not about Greek mythology, but these other stories derived from other types of mythology all around the world. She was also familiar with the Kane Chronicles, so she understood the concept of different mythologies and beliefs. She also knows that books in the Rick Riordan Presents collection are written by other authors who are just as talented and imaginative as Rick.
In this book, she learned about the legend of La Llorona along with additional Mexican folklore. She enjoyed the scientific thinking of Paola, the adventures she has, and meeting the other characters in the book. She did feel the book was a little advanced for her as she was confused at some parts of it.
I enjoyed the book as it was an adventurous read and I got to learn more about Mexican legends and myths. My daughter found some parts confusing, so I think she may be a little too young for this book. Overall, I thought it was a great addition to the Rick Riordan Presents collection and I look forward to the sequel, Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares, coming this August. This book was written by Tehlor Kay Mejia, contains 368 pages and is best for grade levels 5 – 8.
To see more book reviews from my family, visit my Fall 2020 Children’s Disney Book List.