If you like a spooky story, you need to get your hands on Paola Santiago and the River of Tears! But don’t take our word for it, hear it from the man himself.
DON’T GO NEAR THE WATER
When I was a kid growing up in Texas, I was terrified of going into deep water. That wasn’t just because the movie Jaws had freaked me out. (Although, yes, that giant robotic shark had scared the Twizzlers out of me.)
Worse: I had grown up listening to campfire stories about La Llorona, the weeping ghost who had drowned her own children in a river and was condemned to wander the riverbanks for eternity, looking for their bodies. If she happened to come across a living child at the river, well . . . she might claim you as her own and pull you under.
This story is chock-full of suspense and fantastical elements, but it’s more than just a page-turner.
Whenever my family camped near the river, I would hear strange wailing sounds at night. I’d huddle deeper inside my sleeping bag. The next morning, I sometimes found heavy tracks in the mud, as if made by dragging, shuffling zombie feet. I was sure La Llorona had been on the prowl, looking for someone like me to drag into the cold, murky depths. Yeah, I had a fun childhood. Thanks for asking.
That’s one reason I’m so excited to share Tehlor Kay Mejia’s Paola Santiago and the River of Tears with you. She gives us a brand-new take on the ancient folktale of La Llorona, and I want you to read it so you can be as terrified as I was!
To be fair, our hero, Paola Santiago, is a lot braver than I was at her age. She’s got a scientific mind, and she doesn’t believe in old folk legends like La Llorona . . . despite the fact that she has suffered from horrible nightmares about the nearby Gila River her whole life, and even though her mom is always warn- ing her about evil spirits and lighting velita candles to keep her safe. Ghosts aren’t real. Are they? Her mom is just spouting silly superstitions. Right?
Then, when something terrible happens at the river—something that could shatter Pao’s entire life and the lives of her two best friends—Paola starts to wonder if science will be enough to figure out the mystery.
This story is chock-full of suspense and fantastical elements, but it’s more than just a page-turner. I love Paola Santiago because the characters are so relatable. Have you ever struggled with loving your parents while also being mortally embarrassed by them? Have you ever been jealous of a best friend? Have you ever secretly crushed on a friend? Paola’s got all these problems and more. She’s smart and courageous, but she’s also a bubbling stew pot of conflicting emotions about herself, her friends, and her family. Does she have what it takes to handle all that and confront the truth about the strange disappearances that have been happening around town? You’re about to find out!
I’m really envious of you, reading this book for the first time. You’re going to make some lifelong friends in Paola, Emma, Dante, and the rest of the marvelous characters. So put another log on the campfire, guys. Roast some s’mores. Get ready to laugh and enjoy and maybe even shiver in fear at the story you’re about to hear. But whatever you do . . . don’t go near the water.