Half a year has passed since Paola Santiago took on the legendary spirit, La Llorona. Since that time, a lot has changed in Pao’s life and she wouldn’t say for the better.
She has grown distant from her two best friends, Emma and Dante. Truth be told, she barely speaks to them anymore. Add to this the fact that her Mom has an annoying new boyfriend practically living at their house. Yeah, not great.
Additionally, Pao’s still having nightmares. This time set in a dark, creepy forest where her Dad plays a role as a recurring character. The Dad she really knows nothing about and barely remembers.
When Dante’s abuela collapses right in front of Pao, some things she was saying just prior, prompts Pao to believe the two occurrences, her dreams and Dante’s abuela’s mysterious illness, are connected. Pao also believes that her father may be the key to saving Dante’s abeula.
It’s a race against time as Pao, begrudingly joined by Dante, hits the road to Oregon to try to track down her Dad. Luckily, the two are able to pair up with their old friend, Ninos leader, Naomi, who contributes quite a bit on their journey.
Again the kids must face down incredibly dangerous and frightening supernatural entities on more than one occasion. This book got scary, y’all. I mean it!
Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares is an incredible sequel. I felt like with this novel, even though it is packed full of action, I got to know the characters more.
Pao in particular. In the first installment, I felt a bit disconnected from her. There was so much action, it was chaotic and I never felt like I really understood her.
I was so focused on what was going on in the periphery. But with this novel, I feel like learning more about her family, her feelings of loneliness and self doubt, I truly came to care for her.
She is such a soft, sweet, yet strong character, who grew by leaps and bounds over the course of this story.
Mejia does a great job of tying creatures of folklore into a modern, compelling tale. It’s evident from this book that there is a lot more of Pao’s story to tell. I feel like we are just scratching the surface of complications for this spunky girl.
In short, this is a super fun Middle Grade adventure story, perfect for Readers who enjoy a bit of darker, don’t turn out the lights, content in their stories!
I am greatly looking forward to meeting up with Pao again and going on another adventure.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books and Rick Riordan Presents, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.
As always with books found within the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, this dazzled me with its high-stakes, page-turning content. Well done by Mejia!!