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Into the Tall, Tall Grass

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  44 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
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  111 ratings  ·  44 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.

T
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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! :)
Alda
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!
vanessa
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.
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
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Kathie
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
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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
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
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Christina
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
Barbra
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
Alysa
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
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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
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Haya
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
Adriana
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
Mary
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
Anne
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.
Jenna
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. 🐕
Jennifer
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.
Tasha
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
Rosemary
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
Juanita
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
Sarah Yung
Apr 25, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars, rounded up for the mostly non-white cast.

I was really looking forward to this book, as the premise is right up my alley—magical realism, intergenerational POC family saga, and inherited gifts? Sign me up!

But for some reason, this just didn't cohere into something transcendent for me. It feels like a very beat-by-beat adventure, with the parts feeling almost... predictable? Inevitable? I wanted more atmosphere, more of a sense of danger / history from the townspeople, more of a sense o
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Megan Schmelzer
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Into the Tall, Tall Grass is a story that builds. I felt the beginning was slow, and I had to force myself to focus. However, once the journey to the pecan tree started, all the building made sense, and I was hooked. The complexities of all the characters are real and genuine. You see the friction at the beginning of the story and how all their experiences have tied together. The flow of the grandmother's story is what really tied everything together. The tragedy was raw, and I loved it. This st ...more
Jacquelyn
May 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How can twin sisters look completely different and also have very little in common? Into the Tall, Tall Grass tells the story of the journey Yolanda and her twin sister, Sonja, take with their grandmother, Wela. Their friends, Ghita and Hansik, also join them on this voyage through the tall, tall grass. They are on a special mission to help their grandmother make it to an old pecan tree. This book is full of magic, grief, and family. I love how this book ties in different cultures. The beginning ...more
Val
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Link to my book talk: https://youtu.be/PnS0ELxQwgY

What an amazing book! INTO THE TALL, TALL GRASS has a good mix of fantasy, magic, adventure, science, mystery, family, and friendship. It's a lovely and heartfelt story with a happy ending. I sometimes avoid books that are heavy on fantasy and magic. But this book has such a beautiful balance that I think both contemporary and fantasy readers would enjoy. 
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Ashley Acevedo
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished the book yesterday. I ended up being 5 min late from my lunch hour because i couldn’t put it down, I HAD to finish it. Such a moving story about family and the love they share for each other. The book has mystery, humor, suspense, magic, love, loss, hope and a lot of life! I plan on reading it with my 5 year old soon daughter soon.
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