Review: River of Tears

“Dante nodded, and Pao immediately felt bad for using her phony posh voice. Emma never sounded like that. That was her life, the same way this ones was Pao’s. It just felt strange that they were so far apart sometimes, like Emma was in a world Pao couldn’t reach.” page 24

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Paola Santiago #1) by Tehlor Kay Mejia.
Rick Riordan Presents, Disney Hyperion, New York, 2020.
MG fantasy, 354 pages.
Lexile: 840L .
AR Level: 5.9 (worth 15.0 points) .

Paola loves space and finds her mother’s fantastical beliefs embarrassing – there’s no scientific reason why she and her friends shouldn’t meet up near the Gila River. But then Emma never arrives at their rendezvous, so Paola teams up with their best friend Dante to mount a rescue that involves little science or logic, and a whole lot of mythology.

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia.

I’ve been wanting to read more Latine MG fantasy novels, and Mejia certainly delivered with this series starter. Paola is a practical dreamer who wants to be a scientist but knows it’s going to take hard work to get there. She has two best friends; Dante lives in the apartment above her with his abuela, and Emma joined their circle when she moved to the area from Colorado a few years ago. Although we hear a lot about Emma and Pao even talks to her parents, Emma herself is not present – it’s her disappearance that leads her friends into the magical world.

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