Thank you so much to Scholastic for sending me an eARC of The Way to Rio Luna, Zoraida’s first dip into the middle grade world! It was a fun escape even though I was quite worried about the characters. I hope you enjoy my review!
Eleven-year-old Danny Monteverde believes in magic. He knows that pixie dust is real, that wardrobes act as portals, and that rabbit holes lead to Wonderland. Most of all, he believes that his older sister, Pili, is waiting for him somewhere in Rio Luna, the enchanted land in their favorite book of fairy tales.
Danny doesn’t care what the adults say. He knows that Pili isn’t another teen runaway. When the siblings were placed in separate foster homes, she promised that she’d come back for him, and they’d build a new life together in Rio Luna.
Yet as the years pass, Danny’s faith begins to dim. But just when he thinks it might be time to put foolish fairy tales behind him, he finds a mysterious book in the library. It’s a collection of stories that contain hints about how to reach another world. A map to Rio Luna . . . and to Pili.
As his adventure takes him from New York to Ecuador to Brazil, Danny learns that meeting your favorite characters isn’t always a dream come true. But nothing will stop him from finding his sister . . . even if it means standing up to the greatest threat the magical realm has ever known.
This is such a wonderful debut middle grade book from Zoraida Córdova. I absolutely loved that the two main characters, Danny and Pili, LOVE to read and have a book that they treasure greatly. It broke my heart when their own final copy of this very rare book The Way to Rio Luna was thrown away by one of Danny’s foster fathers. The lack of compassion that some of these foster parents and siblings had was terrible, but I also know that this is realistic too. Sadly enough. One of my favorite scenes of this book that I so vividly imagined was when Danny was walking in the museum and the arrows that lit up on the floor. This was so magical for me and I think Zoraida did a phenomenal job being descriptive, especailly when it comes to magical elements. The chaotic adventure that ensued was one that I could not part from. I was flipping the pages nonstop to figure out how Danny would find his older sister, and then when the unspeakable happened (I don’t want to spoil it)… I could not believe it! I was shocked myself. This novel will be great for students to escape and I think students can easily connect with the characters in this book too!
About the Author
Zoraida Córdova is the author of many fantasy novels for kids and teens, including the award-winning Brooklyn Brujas series, Incendiary, and Star Wars: A Crash of Fate. Her short fiction has appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View, Star Wars The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark, Come on In: 15 Stories About Immigration and Finding Home, and Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft. She is the co-editor of Vampires Never Get Old:
Eleven Tales with Fresh Bite. Her debut middle grade novel is The Way to Rio Luna. She is the co-host of the podcast Deadline City with Dhonielle Clayton. Zoraida was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. When she isn’t working on her next novel, she’s planning a new adventure.
I love the idea of escaping into the world of another book, but I’m not sure if I would want to get trapped there forever! What book would you love to jump into? Share with me below!