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Into the Tall, Tall Grass

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A girl journeys across her family’s land to save her grandmother’s life.

Yolanda Rodríguez-O’Connell has a secret. All the members of her family have a magical gift—all, that is, except for Yolanda. Still, it’s something she can never talk about, or the townsfolk will call her family brujas—witches. When her grandmother, Wela, falls into an unexplained sleep, Yolanda is sca
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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 ·  133 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Shannon Doleski
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got to read Ryon's book prepublication, and I am so happy I did. In this middle grade full of magical realism, Yolanda must take her abuela to the pecan tree at the edge of their property to set things right. This book has it all: magical butterflies, girls in STEM, family secrets, LGBT characters, naughty little dogs, and machetes. Along their journey (teamed with her sister, her ex best friend, and a cinnamon roll boy) Wela tells the story of the pecan tree and finding one's magical gifts.

Erin Kelly
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely and imaginative.
Loriel Ryon
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Well, this is my book and I've put my heart and and soul into it. So of course I'm rating it a 5! :)
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Got to read it early! And I really enjoyed it! I’m ready for the next adventure. Great Job!
This will work for so many people, but I think I expected less fantastical/magical realism elements. That’s on me, but I couldn’t get past many of those parts. The bits of story from the main character’s Wela were the best parts. I wanted to like and care about the main group of kids more.
Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
What I Liked:
Yolanda – I found so many things about Into the Tall, Tall Grass‘s MC relatable. This twelve year old is bright, opinionated, and struggles to express her feelings. Life hasn’t felt right ever since Yolanda’s grandfather past away. Her grandmother has fallen ill, her best friend dumped her for her twin sister, Sonja, and she’s still waiting for her family gift to appear. Yolanda is prone to jealousy, is desperate for someone to truly understand her, and just wants everything to go b
Raquel Gilliland
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I gave myself a week to read Into the Tall, Tall Grass by Loriel Ryon. And I finished it in two days. It would’ve been just one day, if it weren’t for hosting company, because I did. not. want. to put this book down. This story casts its own magic on the reader, enchanting you from the very first page.

Yolanda’s abuela, Wela, is asleep and she can’t awaken. We’re introduced to the family gift through the butterflies who’ve made a home of Wela’s hair. You see, there’s a genetic trait that goes alo
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to the author and publisher for an eARC of this book.

I was drawn to this book because I love to read intergenerational stories, especially those from cultures with which I'm not familiar. The women in the Rodriguez family all have special gifts, including Yolanda's twin sister, Sonja, who has a special ability with plants and insects like their grandmother, Wela.

But Wela has been unconscious for a couple of weeks, and the neighbor who's been caring for the girls while trying to contac
Rebecca Balcárcel
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
A joy to read, this family story uses a sprinkle of magic to keep the reader guessing what mysteries the strange, desert land holds! Twelve-year-old Yolanda seems ordinary, especially in a family whose women have a reputation for mysterious powers. But soon, the girl without a gift will be making a journey that could save her friends, her grandmother, and the whole drought-stricken region. Though many troubles could distract her -- such as a dad who has been deployed, a sister who is distancing ...more
The Bookish Austin
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about heartbreak, grief, loss, sisterhood, and friendship. All wrapped up in some magical realism! <3 ...more
Tomes And Textiles
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_latinx, 2020
Full review and photo can be found on TOMES AND TEXTILES.

MINI REVIEW: Into the Tall, Tall Grass by Loriel Ryon is a delightful middle grade novel focused on Yolanda Rodríguez-O’Connell, who is a STEM girl all the way. When her grandmother (Wela) falls ill, she delves into her magical world when she must take her to the pecan tree at the edge of their property. Things are not what they seem and Yolando, her sister Sonja, and their two best friends end up on a journey that you simply must read to
Nicole M. Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Into the Tall, Tall Grass is magical realism at its best. Yolanda struggles with so many real-life issues: the death of her abuelo and her abuela's serious illness, the loss of a friendship, sibling rivalry, budding romance, her military father's absence, and so much more. Add to that a touch of magic---all of Yolanda's family members except for her have magical gifts---and you have a recipe for a story filled with won
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A magical journey overflowing with love, unfaltering hope, and agonizing heartbreak, INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS (releasing April 7th) by Loriel Ryon is a beautiful debut that’s impossible to forget. Yolanda and her twin sister, Sonja, have already experienced enormous loss in their young lives. When Yolanda is presented with an opportunity to save her Wela and make everything “all right” at home, she sets out to bring her grandmother to the last pecan tree standing on their vast property...but cu ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Yolanda’s family has a strange history of magic. The women have all had special gifts that led the townspeople to call them brujas-witches. Her sister and grandmother, Wela, can control insects and plants, her mother was a healer, but Yolanda so far seems ordinary. This unique and intriguing book is a story within a story as Yolanda’s dying Wela reveals secrets about her own past. When Wela’s dying wish is to be taken to the old pecan tree, four friends set out on a journey of self-discovery and ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magical realism at its best, Into The Tall Tall Grass is the story of friendship, frenemies, first love and family. It's about trust, love, and learning to find the magic inside yourself. An intergenerational tale the book explores the rich terrain of what it means to inherit abilities from your family.
This upper middle grade novel explores the rich terrain of finding your own truth while looking to the past to understand who you are.
A wonderful read for upper middle grade readers who are read
Crystal M
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow. Grief, grandmothers, sisterhood, magic, world war 2 love stories, family secrets, and healing. The imagery was gorgeous- I would love to see this in movie form. Beautiful and evocative. The characters were complex and real. I can't believe this is a debut novel. And I'm usually not a fan of magical realism! But it felt so perfect. The middle school girls were treated with dignity and depth. The story didn't shy away from seriousness and death, but didn't wallow in it.

Elements reminded m
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! I read it to my class and they loved it! This is a great review
Ooh. I don't know how to feel about this one. I enjoyed the science aspect even though it wasn't my favorite subject. I like it when books get me interested in something I previously wasn't. This centered heavily on grief and healing. I like books that made me cry so this was up my alley. But was it too much grief? I don't know. I have to think about this more. I didn't expect to have a f/f relationship in this middle grade. I thought it was done really well. Overall, I enjoyed this although the ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not usually one for fiction that includes magical realism but this middle grade novel was amazing. It had other elements that I do enjoy; friendship, romance, sadness, and a satisfying ending. It's about two sisters who come from a long line of family with special abilities. Yolanda hasn't received hers yet. Along with this, the death of her Welo, and her father being gone, she has put up a wall between her twin sister Sonja and her best friend Ghita. In order to save her Wela, Yolanda must ...more
3.5/5 stars.

Overall a cute story, but nothing too memorable or new. It was a bit predictable at times, and I also felt like it dragged sometimes too.

I liked how the characters were from different races/nationalities. It added diversity. There was also a nice LGBT twist, which my bi heart can always appreciate.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg, y’all, READ THIS BOOK. Give it all of the awards! Assign it for all of the assignments! Why isn’t this book getting more attention?? This is a gorgeous story. Also, there is a dog. 🐕
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Wonderful, magical story of Yolanda, who decides to carry out her grandmother's dying wish set in the striking landscape of New Mexico. Her family has gifts that make people whisper they are witches. Told from Yolanda's perspective with interspersed stories from Wela. And I love a middle-grade novel that addresses the first feelings of love, both for Yolanda and her twin sister, Sonja, who falls for Ghita, Yolanda's best friend.
Its Nobody
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting story! I'd love to hear more about the adventures of these two.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
Yolanda’s family has lived on the pecan farm for generations, but they aren’t accepted by the townsfolks who call the brujas, or witches. Yolanda herself seems to have not gotten a magical gift though. Her younger sister has hers, with bees flying around her head and the ability to make plants grow and flower. It’s similar to her Wela’s gift with butterflies. Now though, Yolanda’s family is dwindling with only her sister and grandmother left. As her grandmother falls into a strange sleep, Yoland ...more
Charmayne Davies
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good book. It is about a girl who comes from a family where they all have special talents. The main character, Yolanda, goes on a mission to save her grandmother. There are a lot of secrets and stories that unfold in this book, some that are sort of predictable, but others that are not. One thing about this book, was that there were some scenes, that were not really necessary, but I guess that's just a part of the storytelling. This book kind of reminded me of Savvy, in the sen ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've read so far this year. Yolanda Rodriguez-O'Connell and her twin sister, Sonja, are part of a magical family. Every generation is bestowed with a gift of some sort: in Sonja's case, she can control bees. Butterflies flock to her grandmother, Wela. Their family has been the talk of the town for generations, calling the family brujas: witches. Since her grandfather's death a year ago, Yolanda has distanced herself from her best friend, Ghita, and her sister; Ghita ...more
Alyssa Reynoso
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Into the Tall, Tall Grass by Loriel Ryon and I LOVE IT! This book is like a middle grade telenovela with sisterhood rivalry, friendship drama, TONS of family secrets, and a touch of romance. I could not put this book down.

1. It has an Abuela in it that reminds me of my Abuela. I am a sucker for stories with a gma.
2. It has MAGIC and we all need a little magic during this tough pandemic.
3. It has sister drama!!! I don't know about you, but my sister and I fought a lot. We
Ash Otterloo
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Into the Tall, Tall Grass is a beautifully told story about a clever, determined girl named Yolanda born into a family with unique and mysterious gifts. As Yolanda struggles with her own jealousy of her magically gifted sister and her unexplored grief over the recent death of her grandfather, she's caught up in a request by her sick grandmother to take her to a special tree deep into the tall, tall grass of her family's long-ruined pecan orchard.

I don't want to include spoilers, so I'll just sa
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Been thinking about this one days later and decided i owe a review. Its not actually bad per se despite my low star rating, I think i was just not the right audience. I am an adult who enjoys juvenile fiction, but some stories just don't work for me as an adult. For example I could not quite get past the ridiculousness of having bees flying in your hair as a "gift" or butterflies carrying extremely heavy objects...Or i get annoyed the characters are so selfish and shortsighted and then remember ...more
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