The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía by Alexandra Alessandri

Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejia Book Cover


GoodreadsThe Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía
Series: None
Age Category: Middle Grade
Source: Library
Published: 2023


Valentina loves her Papi, but she wishes he would stop embarrassing her with his stories of magical creatures in the woods. Then one day, while searching for a patasola (a vampire woman with one leg), her father falls and is injured. Valentina and her brother Julián attempt to find help, but instead find themselves in a land where all their father’s stories seem to be true. Now, they will have to make a journey to the castle of Madremonte to find their way back home. But Madremonte hates humans, and her servants will do anything to stop Valentina and Julián.

Star Divider


The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía has an old-school charm with its alternate world, classic journey/quest, and missing heir trope. All the elements of a beloved portal fantasy are here, but, of course with a twist, courtesy of the elements drawn from Colombian folklore. Readers will delight in finding a new book that is sure to become an old favorite.

I can easily see middle grade audiences devouring this one as it has similar vibes to fantasy classics like the Chronicles of Narnia. The story hits all the right notes, from its relatable protagonist Valentina (kind, but sometimes frustrated by her family members) to its fast-paced action (very episodic) to its short length (perfect for busy students or reluctant readers). Add in a dash of humor courtesy of characters like the river dragon and a heaping spoonful of danger and you have a book that is just begging to be recommended to tween readers.

For many, of course, the focus on Colombian folklore will be a major highlight. Alexandra Alessandri’s love for Colombia and its heritage shines through on every page, and is evident in everything from the fantastic cast of characters to the liberal usage of Spanish throughout the book. Readers are also introduced to some Colombian history and to current environmental issues facing the country. These issues become intertwined with the folklore, as Madremonte is supposed to keep the earth in balance, but no longer trusts humans who devastate the environment through greed.

The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía will appeal to readers who like fast-paced adventure stories, portal fantasies, and quests. Its delightful cast of characters and loving depiction of Colombia and its folklore make this an enchanting read!

4 stars

2 thoughts on “The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía by Alexandra Alessandri

    • Krysta says:

      Hm, I can’t remember reading any books based on Colombian folklore, either! I did look into some of the folklore mentioned into the book and it scared me, though! So much creepier than in the book!

      Liked by 1 person

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