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 the United States with her big family when she was six years old from Mexico. They have moved to the land where dreams are possible. Lupita has gotten used to America and her big family seems to be doing well too. When Lupita is a freshman in high school she finds out that her mom is diagnosed with cancer. How can her beautiful, strong, and caring mother have this and how can Lupita and her family hold onto their dreams when everything seems to be falling apart?
This book had the perfect format for it. I can't imagine the book being written in any other way, it had to be in verse. It gives the story a beautiful flow and matches the pacing of Lupita's journey beautifully. I loved this character so much because she is responsible but also ambitious. I know lots of people believe the American dream is dead but I think it's there, we may just have to dig around for it a little deeper. These people come with fresh eyes and hearts and still cling and strive for this dream. How can you not love that? The author weaved in so much nature into the book as well, and how it can calm and move us at the same time. I love the analogy of the mesquite tree and people's perseverance. Garcia McCall also hits the Mexican American culture right on. The only reason why this book didn't get a five star rating from me was because I felt the ending lost a little steam, but there was so much for me to love about this book.
I'm contemplating whether I should keep this paragraph or not but I guess I'll decide when I'm done. I would like to share the reason why I could connect so much with this book, and I think it's because of my background. I come from strong Hispanic roots and when I was in high school my mom had cancer (I am happy to report she's doing fantastic now). While Lupita is the eldest of eight, I am the eldest of four and though I wasn't as resilient as her, I felt a weight of responsibility just as she did. I recognized everyday things in my own life as well. People watching telenovlas, hardworking fathers, green-thumbed mothers, the close knit-siblings, the importance of religion, the power of praying as a family and so much else that I could identify with. The author perfectly described how empty and lost a home feels when a mother is ill. I hadn't realized it before but my mom was and is the pillar of our home. It seemed all the joy and ease was erased when she had gotten sick, and I saw the same thing happen to Lupita's family. There are a lot of books that I have read that I can relate to and make me feel the universal emotions all human beings feel, but I don't find many books that mirror my life so much. Lupita and her life weren’t exactly like mine but it's the closest thing I have come across and for that I am grateful.