The Land of Stories meets Dominican myths and legends come to life in Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa, a blockbuster contemporary middle-grade fantasy duology starter from Julian Randall. Fans of Tristan Strong and The Storm Runner, here is your next obsession.
"Magic awaits around every corner in Zafa. Nonstop action and plenty of heart create a story worth escaping into." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A breathtaking journey . . . readers better hold on tight." —Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of the Tristan Strong series
"As funny as it is poignant. . . sure to delight and awe." —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award Winner
"A brilliant, refreshing new voice in young people's literature. ¡Pa'lante!" —Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author
"Pilar is the hilarious hero we need right now. My Dominican heart BURST reading this story, but in the best way." —Claribel A. Ortega, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Squad
Twelve-year-old Pilar Violeta “Purp” Ramirez’s world is changing, and she doesn’t care for it one bit. Her Chicago neighborhood is gentrifying and her chores have doubled since her sister, Lorena, left for college. The only constant is Abuela and Mami’s code of silence around her cousin Natasha—who vanished in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship.
When Pilar hears that Lorena’s professor studies such disappearances, she hops on the next train to dig deeper into her family's mystery. After snooping around the professor's empty office, she discovers a folder with her cousin’s name on it . . . and gets sucked into the blank page within.
She lands on Zafa, an island swarming with coconut-shaped demons, butterfly shapeshifters, and a sinister magical prison where her cousin is being held captive. Pilar will have to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco, if she has any hope of freeing Natasha and getting back home.