Series: Paola Santiago #3
Also in this series: , Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on August 2, 2022
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Middle Grade
Source: Blog Tour, The Publisher
Cover Artist: Vanessa Morales
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.
This final book in this series tests Paola’s ever-evolving relationships and explores the theme of community. Paola hasn’t given up on her best friend Dante, even though he said terrible things before he disappeared into the void. She is determined to find him and rescue him. But her newfound relationship with her father complicates things–he sees her as a little girl he needs to protect, which does nothing but frustrate Paola. She feels like she’s earned a measure of respect! And then there’s Emma, who Paola is starting to see in a new and confusing light when she just needs to focus on saving her best friend (and, of course, the world). It all adds up to one very complicated adventure!
Just like the previous books in the series, this one tackles tough topics like privilege, racism, and sexuality head-on and very plainly (meaning they’re more than just general themes–the characters talk about these topics). Some people might think this comes across as heavy-handed, but it’s better than shirking these issues completely. As I said at the beginning of my review, this installment really focuses on Paola’s relationships and the ways that they’re evolving. Every relationship she has is in flux in some way, which a lot of middle schoolers will relate to. The story is action-packed, and the pacing is spot-on, so kids will want to keep turning those pages. And, while I did foresee one twist in the story, the twist at the very end of the book is honestly spectacularly unexpected! If anyone saw it coming, I would be completely shocked and impressed.
A fantastic way to end a series!!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Rockstar Book Tours so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Book 1 is FREE with a Kindle Unlimited Subscription!
About the Author
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.
1 winner will receive a finished copy of PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE SANCTUARY OF SHADOWS, US Only.
Ends September 6th, midnight EST.
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