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Thirteen-year-old Paola is at a loss after defeating La Llorona. Her best friend, Dante, won't speak to her, and her other friend, Emma, is caught up with her new friends after coming out. Pao can't focus at school or talk to her mother, especially since her mother is dating a new man. Pao's dreams have started up again. This time, she is seeing images of her father who she has not seen since she was small. Dante's grandmother may have the answers, but when Pao visits, Senora Mata passes out and goes into a deep coma. Pao joins forces with a reluctant Dante, her friend Emma, and other allies from her past to face fantasmas and other creatures straight from Mexican folklore in order to find her father, release Senora Mata from her coma, and close the rift between the worlds before the evil creatures kill the people Pao loves. Middle grade fantasy readers will enjoy picking up where they left off from the first book in the Paola Santiago series. Racial and socio-economic differences are encountered, including how minorities and the poor are treated by the police and by health care services versus the middle to upper class white. Emma's character, although supportive of Pao, is not as well-developed and is often used to emphasize the racial and financial differences between Emma and Pao. Emma recently came out and gets involved with her LGBTQ+ school club, the Rainbow Rogues. This causes Paola to be more aware of the unfairness of gender bathrooms and other issues faced by the LGBTQ+, but it also causes Pao and Emma to grow apart even though Pao is supportive of her friend. The ending leaves an opening for another book. Pao will need to once again cross the rift to save a friend.
Tension ratchets up in book 2 of the Paola Santiago series. La Llorona may be gone, but the threat of leyendas, fantasmas and other horrors is not over. Now Pao hears her father in her dreams calling for her to come help him. But where is he and how is a 13 year old girl who can't drive supposed to reach him when she finds out? And betrayal comes from a wholly unexpected source. And joy of joys, there's a third book in the series, due out in the Summer of 2022.