A new hero’s fantastic and fantastical debut—her next appearance can’t come soon enough.

PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE RIVER OF TEARS

From the Paola Santiago series , Vol. 1

A 12-year-old girl must leave behind her preconceived notions of what is real if she wants to save her missing friend.

Paola Santiago looks forward to summer days filled with daydreaming and “ponder[ing] algae or other fuel experiments” with her best friends, Dante and Emma, down at the riverbanks. Her mother has forbidden Pao from hanging out down at the Gila River, but Pao disregards her advice, as most of her mom’s warnings include folkloric elements, like the fabled La Llorona. Pao, a self-professed scientist, cannot fathom believing in things like ghosts that have “no scientific basis to them.” That is, until Pao and Dante wait in vain for Emma to show up at the river. Emma’s disappearance, along with those of many other young people in the area, leads Pao and Dante on a journey that will shatter the laws of physics and other scientific truths Pao holds dear. As the duo searches for Emma, they will encounter lands and creatures that Pao held to be fictitious, along with her mother’s beliefs, which Pao has often pushed away along with the connection to her Mexican ancestry. Mejia’s writing is fast-paced and engaging, as the colorful imagery places readers in Southwestern cacti fields and in the tumultuous mindset of an insecure 12-year-old. For all its exploration of Pao’s internal landscape, there is action aplenty. Dante is Latinx, like Pao; Emma is White.

A new hero’s fantastic and fantastical debut—her next appearance can’t come soon enough. (Fantasy. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-04917-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents/Disney

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart.

THE LAST KIDS ON EARTH AND THE ZOMBIE PARADE

From the Last Kids on Earth series , Vol. 2

Thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan and his crew of monster-fighting besties are fresh off their victorious battle against the evil Blarg, but there’s no rest for the weary in the middle of a Monster Apocalypse.

First, Joe’s Pizza has become the local monster hangout. And second, the zombies seem to be disappearing. Thankfully, the white boy, his not-so-secret Latina love, June Del Toro, his African-American, science-nerd best friend, Quint, and pre-apocalypse bully–turned-ally Dirk, a large white boy who loves to garden, befriend a man-monster who might have the answers to everything. Equal parts humor, adventure, and warmth, the book offers fans of the series and new readers alike an entirely agreeable outing. Jack’s witty narration and Holgate’s pitch-perfect illustrations make for a terrific read that’s particularly well suited for middle-grade boys who might otherwise be reluctant to pick up a book. There are plenty of foul-smelling, brain-sucking monsters and gizmos and gadgets to delight, but at its core, this is a story about friendship. Orphaned at birth and raised by a foster family he describes as jerks, Jack has always longed for a family of his own. Now that he has one, the only thing scarier than the monsters is the thought of losing them.

An apocalyptic adventure with a whole lot of heart. (Horror. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-670-01662-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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