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The Ghosts of Rancho Espanto

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A new middle grade novel from Adrianna Cuevas—author of the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez—about a Cuban American boy who's sent to work on a ranch as punishment for a school prank gone wrong, where's he's confronted with a mystery as inexplicable as it is familiar and discovers that uncovering secrets will lead to learning hard truths about himself.

 

Edgar Award winner Best Juvenile Novel

Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

2025 Rhode Island Middle School Book Award List

Vermont Golden Dome Book Award List



Rafa would rather live in the world of The Forgotten Age, his favorite role-playing game, than face his father’s increasing restrictions and his mother’s fading presence. But when Rafa and his friends decide to take the game out into the real world and steal their school cafeteria's slushie machine, his dad concocts a punishment Rafa never could’ve imagined—a month working on a ranch in New Mexico, far away from his friends, their game, and his mom’s quesitos in Miami.

Life at Rancho Espanto isn’t as bad as Rafa initially expected, mostly due to Jennie, a new friend with similarly strong snack opinions, and Marcus, the veteran barn manager who's not as gruff as he appears. But when Rafa's work at the ranch is inexplicably sabotaged by a man who may not be what he seems, Rafa and Jennie explore what's behind the strange events at Rancho Espanto—and discover that the greatest mystery may have been with Rafa all along.

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