Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa

Holt. Mar. 2022. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250774101.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Domincana Pilar “Purp” Ramirez is going to be an award-winning director some day. So when her older sister lines up the perfect interview for the documentary Pilar’s working on—a documentary on Trujillo’s dictatorship and the disappearance of her mom’s cousin Natasha—she jumps at the opportunity. But when a file with Natasha’s name on it sucks Pilar into the mythical world of Zafa, she’s faced with a terrifying answer to the mystery she’s been investigating. Set partially in a modern, rapidly gentrifying Chicago and partially in a world of Dominican legend, this first title in a new fantasy duology seamlessly intertwines the magic of Spirited Away and the danger of Jumanji with Dominican history and myth. Pilar is fierce, honest, and funny, a heroine readers are sure to love.
VERDICT Action-packed and engaging from start to finish, this is a great next read for fans of Rick Riordan and Alane Adams. Recommended first purchase.

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