Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Under the Mesquite” as Want to Read:
Under the Mesquite
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Under the Mesquite

by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  1,552 ratings  ·  334 reviews
Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's battle with cancer in this young adult novel in verse.

When Lupita learns Mami has cancer, she is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit family. Suddenly, being a high scho...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 31st 2011 by Lee & Low Books (first published September 15th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Under the Mesquite, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Under the Mesquite

Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickThe Dark Divine by Bree DespainThe Body Finder by Kimberly DertingHex Hall by Rachel HawkinsSea by Heidi R. Kling
The Tenners! Debut YA & MG novels of 2010
40th out of 86 books — 1,001 voters
Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadLast Sacrifice by Richelle MeadClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsThe Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
YA Novels of 2010
243rd out of 624 books — 2,667 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jo
"Someday my words will
take flight and claim the sky."


This is such beautiful little book.
Little.
That is why this review is not going to be like my others because it would take you less time to just read this book than it would be to read my full review.
So this is the Theatrical Cut.
I could go on and on about how gorgeous Ms Garcia McCall’s writing is and how she seamlessly flits between Spanish and English words and explores two completely different cultures and the issues that come with being...more
Catie
I think this is my first novel in verse, and it’s a gorgeous introduction to the form. Guadalupe Garcia McCall writes very simple, almost sweet poetry, but she also manages to convey so much about the experiences of a young girl, at home in two countries, and forced to shoulder much more than the average sixteen year old.

The novel as a whole is very short, and is strung together with two to three page verses which highlight different small parts of Lupita’s life: her role as the oldest sister in...more
Cara
May 09, 2014 Cara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: verse fans
I hadn't planned on writing a review for this book today, but my mind just kept turning the book over and over in my head and creating a restless energy that I can't seem to stop. This is going to sound corny but I wish that my heart could write the review for me because I don't think my mind has the ability to translate and convey why this book had such a strong impact on me. I can just feel myself get achy inside thinking about the book. A good ache though.

Lupita has many dreams. She moved to...more
Crowinator
Sometimes I unintentionally hit a theme in my reading, and as I started tearing up at a section in this book, I realized it’s the one of many stories I’ve read in the last few months about a young person dealing with the loss of a parent to cancer. (The others are A Monster Calls and Putting Makeup on Dead People, and if I expand it even more, I can count Liesl & Po, where Liesel’s father has just died from illness.) They all are wildly different in plot and execution but have the same emoti...more
Regina
Beautiful absolutely beautiful. Under the Mesquite is a story about a young girl growing up to adulthood. It is a story about saying good-bye and about the loss of a loved one so integral to one’s life that it is impossible to imagine life without them. Under the Mesquite is about a family’s journey across the border of one country and into another country and how people make cultural adjustments and acclimate to a new home. And, this story is about going home and how going home can help us figu...more
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
So I'm going to tell you a secret. Back in middle school/early high school I used to write bad poetry. Then one day I had an epiphany that I was writing mopey teen poetry and stopped. Then I went through a phase where I decided that I didn't like or understand poetry. Until senior year of college when I took a literature course. We studied poetry and I discovered that I do in fact like some poetry (mopey teenagers need not apply.)

So I'm still on shaky ground with poetry. I love "Do not go gentle...more
Bonnie
‘Under the Mesquite’ was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Lee & Low Books.
Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

2.5 stars

The Storyline

‘Under the Mesquite’ tells the story of Lupita and her Mexican American family. Lupita struggles with finding her own identity in a new place after her family moves from Mexico to the United States. To make matters worse she has discovered that her mother has cancer and will undergo surgery to hopefully give her more time on this Earth. Despera...more
Guadalupe McCall
Jul 09, 2009 Guadalupe McCall rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
I like my sweet, little book. I think it's beautiful.
Barbara
This tenderly written novel in verse describes one family's move from Mexico to the United States. Life was good for the large family--there are eight children--in Mexico, but because the father found work across the border, they moved north to Eagle Pass. They return to Mexico as often as possible, savoring happy times there as well as new experiences in the United States. Mami loves her rose bushes and plants them in the front yard. When a stubborn mesquite tree refuses to die, she finally giv...more
Barb Middleton
Enjoy the words in this novel-in-verse as they unfurl and scoop you through the inked pages. Lupita, the oldest of eight children, learns to deal with her mother getting cancer as a high school student. Lupita's family lived in Mexico before moving to the United States. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Lupita, poetically narrates this story enriching the text with a beautiful blend of two cultures and languages. The chapter, Uprooted, can stand alone as a free verse poem. "I doubted los giras...more
Book Concierge
Lupita is the oldest of eight children, and just beginning high school. Born in Mexico, she and her parents immigrated to Texas when she was a six years old and have lived in Eagle Pass ever since. They are a close-knit family and Lupe does all she can as the oldest to help her mother care for the younger children. Like all teens she has to find her individual voice amid the cacophony of siblings, friends and relatives, and juggle the expectations of her parents, grandparents and teachers agains...more
Betti Napiwocki
Under the Mesquite is an “outstanding original children’s book which portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience” which meets the Belpre Award terms for eligibility. It is also written by a Mexican author who lives in the United States, namely Texas. I felt that from what little I know or have gleamed about Mexican culture, McCall presented an authentic look through the life of her main character, Lupita. The readers follow Lupita through her teen years, and glimpse her fami...more
Kelly
I liked the writing a lot here, as I think the verse actually served the story well. However -- and a big one -- the ending really left me a little disappointed because the entire book revolves around how Lupita gives up everything to take care of her family (her mom's got cancer and needs treatment) yet suddenly she decides to attend college. She's been writing and acting at school and she was passionate about both, but she didn't suggest to me she wanted more than that.

My biggest issue came i...more
Joella www.cinjoella.com
This is book 11 for the YALSA best books challenge. I can see why it was on my list twice (once for the Morris Award and once for the Best Fiction for Young Adults).

This is a book of poetry (which also means quick read for those reluctant readers). Lupita is the oldest of eight kids. She was born in Mexico but her family moved to Los Estados Unidos when she was young. Although she often goes back to Mexico to visit her family there, she doesn't quite believe her parents when they tell her she h...more
Bayla
Written as a collection of poems, this book about a family struggling with the illness of their mother is brimming with love and pain. Metaphors abound, including the metaphor of the stubborn mesquite tree among the delicate roses, and lend the book additional beauty. My favorite quote:
"And the pomegranates,/
like memories, are bittersweet/
as we huddle together,/
remembering just how good/
life used to be" (p.129).
Sarah (YA Love)
I'm not sure what I think of Under the Mesquite. I'm typically a huge fan of verse, but I felt like the verse in this novel didn't always work. At times the verse was really choppy, but there are also plenty of beautiful lines. The actual story, though, felt like it was missing something, and the ending really threw me. Her mother and family are important to her, but I often felt like I needed more from the story. More needed to be fleshed out.
Kate
Beautiful novel-in-verse about identity, grief, and healing - officially YA, but this is great title for middle school kids and even some younger, I think. Sad and hopeful - perfect for readers who love emotional books and for classes studying the immigrant experience and Latin American culture.
Ma'lis Wendt
A novel in poetry and a Morris Debut Novel Honor Book. Garcia McCall tells her story of moving to Texas from Mexico, life in a large family and her mother's death. I found her telling of the story very moving.
Bonnie
A lovely YA book written in verse, this is the story of a family moving back and forth between the US and Mexico, cultural changes they experience, and dealing with loss.
Edward Sullivan
A beautifully written family story and an impressive debut novel.
Cheryl Clark
Under the Mesquite is the semi-autobiographical novel in verse of Guadalupe Garcia McCall in which the main character's life is slowly shaken apart by her mother's cancer and eventual demise. It is told with beautiful descriptions, such as this--
Mami's cultivating six budding
Daughters and two rowdy sons:
Eight thriving blue roses
Clustered together
So closely, they tremble
As they cling to the withering
Stem of her waning life.
And this quote just came from me randomly opening the book. It is full of...more
Kellee
Complete review at: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2011/...

Summary: Lupita's family came to Texas to follow the American dream when she was a child. Her father is always working and her mother's only job is to be a mother. Lupita had a life that she adored- She is the oldest of 8 siblings and has always had a set role in her family: a mini-mom helping her mother raise her siblings. She couldn't ask for anything else. But then Lupita notices her mother acting depressed and crying by the mesquite...more
Doret
A novel in verse. Lupita loves writing in her journal. The oldest of eight siblings, Lupita has a lot of responsibilities even more when her mother becomes ill. The story spans Lupita's high school years and is broken up into six parts. I either like a verse novel or I don't, there is no middle ground. I consider verse a structured free form, that requires a certain amount of rhythm. Its easy to find poorly written novels in this style but the good ones are come by. McCall's debut is a great one...more
ℳarion (the lazy reader)
Oct 09, 2012 ℳarion (the lazy reader) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Verses fans / The Weight of Water
"Someday my words will
take flight and claim the sky."


Lupina moved from Mexico to Los Estados Unidos when she was six year old. With seven younger brothers and sisters, a father who works very hard, she is the one to take care of her sibling at home with her mother. But when Lupina is a freshman in high school her mother is diagnosed with a cancer. And this is where the journey of a girl with a notebook filled of words starts.

Under the Mesquite follows a family full of dreams, chasing them throu...more
Emily
I freaked out last night because I picked this up to read thinking the review was due next week. Horror of horrors- it was due that day! I had erred! I relaxed quite a bit when I realized that it was a novel in verse and I read it easily in about 45 minutes. I got up early this morning and wrote the review - so it was only about 6 hours late...

This was one of those surprise books for me again. I dreaded reading it because the cover and the title are not appealing. I hope they tweak the cover art...more
Terri
"Under the Mesquite," winner of the 2012 Pura Belpre Award for Latina/Latino authors of literature for children and youth, is the poignant story of Mexican born Lupita. As a child, Lupita is uprooted from her home in Mexico when her parents get green cards and move to Texas in search of the American Dream. In America, the family does all of the "right" things including working hard, saving for a rainy day, going to school and doing well there, and supporting each other as a family. They are livi...more
Kelly Hager
Lupita is the oldest of eight children, and she's close with her parents, but especially her mom. So it's especially hard on her when her mom is diagnosed with cancer. At first, her mom does really well and the chemo works. But then the cancer comes back and the treatment isn't working. She volunteers to watch her siblings so that her parents can go to a cancer treatment center in Galveston, but doesn't take into account how hard it will be to go to school and keep up there, as well as become a...more
Betty-Ann
Lupita is the oldest of 8 children. Her parents emigrated from Mexico and they have a happy home in Texas. Lupita’s mom fills their home with love and laughter, surrounded by her rose garden that she tends so faithfully. But like the thorny mesquite tree that invades her rose garden, breast cancer invades Mami and changes the family forever.
“With Papi about to go work
On a new carpentry job
Far away from home again
And Mami looking more troubled every day,
I think that feisty little mesquite
Is...more
Jade Eby
Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements

I had mixed emotions going into this novel. I noticed it was in verse and I haven't been fond of too many books written in verse yet I LOVED the subject matter. I love the Hispanic culture, language and coming of age stories, so I sort of already knew I would enjoy this novel. And enjoy it I did. It was absolutely stunning. This was an extremely short novel, I read it in about 45 minutes and so my review will be a little different because I...more
Holly Frabizio
Oct 03, 2012 Holly Frabizio rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adults 12 or older, parents and teachers
Under the Mesquite is a brilliant novel written completely in free-verse. It tells the story of young Lupita as she struggles with her mother's illness, raising her seven younger siblings and her own identity. The story is told by Lupita herself as she describes the sacrifices that she and her family makes to try and prolong the life of their beloved mother. The book is filled with beautiful symbolism and effective poetic devices. McCall uses a lot of alliteration, stops, enjambment and half rhy...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Class of 2014: Under the Mesquite 4 5 Jun 06, 2013 09:15AM  
Wild Things: YA G...: October 2012- Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall 3 13 Oct 18, 2012 10:46PM  
  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
  • Outlaw
  • Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck
  • Orchards
  • Planet Tad
  • Leverage
  • Wolf Mark
  • The Good Braider
  • Diego Rivera: His World and Ours
  • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass
  • Diamonds in the Shadow
  • Hidden
  • Planet Middle School
  • Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel
  • An Elephant in the Garden
  • Now Is the Time for Running
  • Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip
  • Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas
2924895
I was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. My family immigrated into the U.S. when I was six years old. I grew up in Eagle Pass, a small, border town in South Texas. Eagle Pass is the setting of both, my debut novel in verse, UNDER THE MESQUITE, and my 2nd novel, SUMMER OF THE MARIPOSAS, fall of 2012 from TU Books. After high school, I went off to Alpine in West Texas to study to become a tea...more
More about Guadalupe Garcia McCall...
Summer of the Mariposas The Poetry Friday Anthology The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School ¡Juventud! Growing up on the Border

Share This Book

“And the pomegranates,/
like memories, are bittersweet/
as we huddle together,/
remembering just how good/
life used to be”
4 likes
More quotes…