Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Paola Santiago loves science and is mortally embarrassed by her mother's ghost stories and tarot card readings. She's been told not to go near the Gila river since she was small but it's the best place to see the stars. One night when she and her two best friends, Dante and Emma, were going to meet to star-gaze, Emma fails to appear, and Pao and Dante see a shadowy figure in the reeds. After the police seem to have no ideas, Pao and Dante set off to look for Emma, encountering all kinds of mythological and ghostly beings that challenge Pao's science-based views of the world. She has to face her fears and her failings in order to rescue her friend. A story, not only about myth, but also friendship and self-acceptance, with a lot of depth.

— Caroline


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).

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.

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

About the Author

TEHLOR KAY MEJIA is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire, as well as its forthcoming sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm, and Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore).

Her debut novel received six starred reviews, and was chosen as an Indie's Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an Indiebound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It has been featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine's, and named a best book of 2019 by Kirkus and School Library Journal.

Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, two very small dogs, and several rescued houseplants.

Praise For…

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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781368049177
ISBN-10: 1368049176
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Publication Date: August 4th, 2020
Pages: 368