Paola Santiago and the River of Tears: Chapters 19–26

Paola and her friends love science, astronomy, and the natural world — but when they encounter La Llorona, a ghost from Mexican legends, they embark on a supernatural adventure.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–6, Chapters 7–13, Chapters 14–18, Chapters 19–26, Chapters 27–33
35 words 8 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. reedy
    thin and high-pitched in tone
    “Where’s Dante?" Ondina parroted, her voice high and reedy.
  2. synapse
    the junction between two neurons
    “Then what are you?" Pao asked, knowing she was close to figuring it out from the electricity that sparked between her synapses.
  3. fleeting
    lasting for a markedly brief time
    For the first time, Pao detected fear in Ondina’s expression. It was fleeting, but it was there.
  4. saccharine
    overly sweet
    “You’re right,” she said, in just as saccharine a tone. “I’ll rest awhile, if that’s okay.”
  5. strife
    bitter conflict; heated or violent dissension
    Even if she made it to the rift by midnight, got inside, figured out what was causing all the supernatural strife, and found Dante and Emma...there was no guarantee she’d make it back out before the solstice was over.
  6. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    “Do a good job, Paola Santiago," he said in a tone way too solemn for an eight-year-old.
  7. nostalgic
    unhappy about being away and longing for familiar things
    This is hardly the time to be waxing nostalgic about childhood.
  8. indiscriminate
    failing to make or recognize distinctions
    She screamed, falling onto her butt with an undignified thump, swinging fists and shopping bag and knife and flashlight indiscriminately as the thing finally made contact.
  9. wretch
    someone you feel sorry for
    She gave it to him anyway. “Terrible,” she said in a cooing, affectionate voice. “You’re a terrible, disobedient wretch.”
  10. incapacitate
    make unable to perform a certain action
    “If we run into any of your big brothers, maybe we can use the candy to incapacitate them."
  11. deluge
    an overwhelming number or amount
    She thought of the Niños, waiting at camp for a deluge of monsters.
  12. phantasm
    a ghostly appearing figure
    Its body wasn’t entirely solid, but it wasn't entirely phantasmal, either. She had seen the way they shattered against the weapons of more experienced fighters, and she’d even delivered a blow to the wrist of one she had fought at the fireside.
  13. disgorge
    cause or allow to flow or run out or over
    She was fighting with everything she had, and the throat of the rift yawned beyond, waiting to disgorge as many of its monsters as was necessary to make sure Pao never reached its heart.
  14. conduit
    a passage through which water or electric wires can pass
    But her hand was stuck to the key, which was unlocking something buried deep in her chest, acting as a conduit for the light and heat and vibration.
  15. clinical
    detached or unemotional
    The key was going to drain the last of the life force from her, she thought clinically.
  16. loll
    hang loosely or laxly
    Bruto cocked his head to the side, his tongue lolling out absurdly.
  17. spire
    a tall tower that forms the superstructure of a building
    The faraway structure glowing faintly green, she realized—was a glass palace, twisted in elegant lines toward the very top of the bubble, ribbons of lightning shooting from its spire.
  18. mote
    a tiny piece of anything
    The green lightning gathered, zapping the rock until it was nothing more than dust motes floating through the air.
  19. citadel
    a stronghold for shelter during a battle
    There were hundreds of bloodthirsty void creatures between Pao and that citadel, she knew now, and unfortunately, her magic flashlight was in pieces on the ground somewhere behind them, in a place they could no longer access.
  20. comprehensive
    including all or everything
    Even worse, there appeared to be some kind of moat surrounding the palace, and from what Pao could tell, it was spanned only by a single bridge—guarded by two giant horned beasts she’d never seen before, not even in the most comprehensive of her mom’s bestiary books.
  21. throttle
    kill by squeezing the throat of so as to cut off the air
    Instead, she drew her knife and did the exact thing she had wanted to throttle Dante for more than once since this whole mess had started.
  22. desolate
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    They laughed together, a strange sound in this desolate landscape.
  23. impassive
    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
    They stopped before Pao and Dante, surveying them impassively.
  24. indignantly
    in a manner showing anger at something unjust or wrong
    With Bruto in her arms, she landed awkwardly, and he spilled onto the ground, yelping indignantly at the rude awakening.
  25. leach
    cause a liquid to slowly seep or be drawn out
    She felt like her bones were being leached of their nutrients, making them brittle and achy.
  26. susceptible
    yielding readily to or capable of
    But Ondina apparently wasn’t susceptible to shocks. Instead, her body killed the current, and the door opened wide as Pao—armed with the surprising results of her most recent experiment—changed her strategy.
  27. wayward
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    His head tilted again, and a wayward bat talon caught his ear.
  28. parquet
    a floor made of a patterned wood inlay
    He trotted across the glass, his nails tapping on the surface as if it were a rich lady’s parquet floor.
  29. haunch
    the upper part of the leg of an animal, often used for food
    With a smile that looked much too smirk-like to be on the face of a dog, he plopped down on his haunches right at her feet.
  30. vain
    unproductive of success
    Bruto circled and barked in a vain attempt to get them to stop fighting.
  31. acclimate
    get used to a certain environment
    “I’m not troubled. I’m just... acclimating.”
  32. narcissistic
    having an inflated idea of one's own importance
    You don’t seem like that evil a person—a little annoying, and definitely completely narcissistic, but not evil.
  33. gist
    the choicest or most vital part of some idea or experience
    “You don’t know her,” Ondina said, but suddenly she didn’t look so sure.
    “I don’t," Pao admitted. “But I’ve been wandering around this weird place long enough to get the gist..."
  34. incessant
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
    We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment, and I’m not going to let you or your incessant questions mess it up for me.
  35. thrall
    the state of being under the control of another person
    Franco had underestimated the thin, ragged, wailing spirit who'd held the world in thrall for generations.
Created on December 7, 2020 (updated December 23, 2020)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.