‘Paola Santiago and the River of Tears’ by Tehlor Kay Mejia



“If you think my candles and cards are responsible for all the prejudice against Latinx people in this world, Paola Santiago, you have a lot more to learn about the people in it.”


I loved this book with all of my heart, Paola Santiago is me. I explained all phenomenon in my childhood with science and disregarded any folklore my mum told me. I side-eyed her even. I was embarrassed by my heritage, thinking it was the reason people treating me differently (and not the fact they were just racist).

This book confronts so much though, TKM knew what she was doing. The loss of friendship, confronting your bully and finally confronting YOURSELF.

I can’t explain how well thought out this book is, it’s amazing. The storyline of La Llorona is amazing and while you know what is going to happen in the end, because it’s a middle-grade book, the twists in this book kept me going.

Most importantly, this book shows Pao’s growth. Which is ironic, because the beginning of this book starts off with Pao’s mum saying “My old-souled baby, you’ve always been the adult around here.”

But she still has so much to learn, knowledge does not equal responsibility and while Pao is a feminist who realises her faults, she’s really put this to the test in this book. I tore through this book so fast…

I could go on and on about the friendships in this book, but you’ll need to read that to find out, one thing I must say is Dante’s nan is my absolute fave!

I will definitely be reading more Rick Riordan presents.


Book Depository:


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.

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