Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa
The Land of Stories meets Dominican myths come to life in this blockbuster contemporary middle-grade fantasy duology. Tristan Strong, Percy Jackson, and The Storm Runner fans, here is your next obsession.
Everything in 12-year-old Pilar's world is changing. Her Chicago neighborhood is gentrifying and her chores have doubled since her sister, Lorena, left for college. The only constant is her family's code of silence around her cousin Natasha—who disappeared in the Dominican Republic fifty years ago during the Trujillo dictatorship.
When Pilar hears that a professor studies such disappearances, she hops on the next train downtown. After snooping around the professor's empty office, she finds a folder with her cousin’s name on it . . . and literally falls into it. Pilar lands on Zafa, an island alive with mythical warriors, demons, and a magical prison where Natasha is held captive. Pilar will have to go toe-to-toe with the Dominican boogeyman, El Cuco, if she has any hope of freeing Natasha and returning home.
Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. His poetry and essays are published in the New York Times Magazine, POETRY, The Atlantic, and Vibe. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. Julian holds an MFA in Poetry from Ole Miss. His first book, Refuse, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He was also a contributor to the #1 New York Times-bestseller Black Boy Joy. Julian has previously worked as a youth mentor, teaching writing workshops to children on house arrest. Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa is his debut children's novel
"A breathtaking journey through a world teeming with fantasy and history—readers better hold on tight as Pilar swings into her next adventure." —Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of the Tristan Strong series
“Randall takes history and myth and weaves a tight fantasy that is as funny as it is poignant. This novel is sure to delight and awe.” —Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award Winner
* "Magic awaits around every corner in Zafa. Nonstop action and plenty of heart create a story worth escaping into." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Fusing a vibrant, self-assured narrative voice; subtly wrought intergenerational concerns; and rich, Dominican-inspired worldbuilding, Randall creates an undeniable page-turner." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"I love this book so much. Julian Randall is a brilliant, refreshing new voice in young people's literature and he has imbued this story with a whole mountain of love, humor, honesty, and adventure. ¡Pa'lante!" —Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author
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