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Paola Santiago and the River of Tears

By: Tehlor Kay Mejia

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.

ISBN: 9781368049177

JLG Release: Oct 2020

Sensitive Areas: Violence: General

Llorona (legendary character) , Supernatural , Mexican Americans , Horror , Hispanic and Latino Americans , Arizona , Legends, myths, and fables , Family , Paranormal

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Fantasy/Science Fiction Middle Plus

Grades 5-8

14 titles/year


Book Details



First Release

October 2020



Dewey Classification


Trim Size

5 3/4" x 8 1/2"

Page Count


Accelerated Reader

Level 5.9; Points: 15;

Scholastic Reading Counts





Print Book


Hardcover edition


Rick Riordan Presents

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Violence: General


Llorona (legendary character), Supernatural, Mexican Americans, Horror, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Arizona, Legends, myths, and fables, Family, Paranormal,

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Cover Art

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