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Twelve-year-old Valentina Mejía’s parents are as different as day and night. Mama is a scientist who studies the effects of climate change in their native Colombia. Papi has a PhD in history and, with the encouragement of his father, became a folclorólogo, someone who studies the history of Colombia’s myths and legends. Valentina thinks her parents get along because they have such different interests and goals. She realizes that she "occupied some space between the two of them – too creative for Mama, too logical for Papi – and she felt like she didn’t belong anywhere.”  

Valentina’s world is shaken – literally and figuratively – when an expedition with Papi and her younger brother Julian in the Andes Mountains in search of a legendary creature is interrupted by an earthquake. When Papi is injured, the children go in search of help. But when they inadvertently enter a portal to a legendary world in which humans are hated for past atrocities they have committed, the children wonder if they will be able to save Papi’s life. 

When they learn that their only hope of returning to their world is to travel to the castle of this land’s queen, and that her hatred of humans is boundless because her son was kidnapped by a human and is presumed dead, they almost despair of success. But, surprisingly, not everyone they encounter despises humans and the children are helped in unexpected ways. 

In The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía, author Alexandra Alessandri offers children ages eight to twelve a fast-paced plot, a magical journey, and a surprising conclusion which explores the themes of love, belonging, and home. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers

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