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Shame the Stars

(Shame the Stars Series)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  181 ratings  ·  60 reviews
In the midst of racial conflict and at the edges of a war at the Texas-Mexico border in 1915, Joaquin and Dulceña attempt to maintain a secret romance in this reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 15th 2016 by Tu Books
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A TOP SHELF review, originally published in the August 19, 2016 edition of The Monitor

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, we get two versions of local history. In school, teachers hand down a sanitized, state-approved vision of American exceptionalism and the moral superiority of the men who turned Texas into first a Republic and then a southern state.

At home, however, we hear something quite different, stories passed down from bisabuelos to tías and primos. It’s a harrowing, heart-breaking nar
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book about an important, yet trivialized time in our Texas History as Tejanos. Beautifully crafted and elegantly told, this book is a MUST READ and a MUST HAVE book in EVERY school library.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A powerful family saga set in the borderlands of Texas and Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. The Romeo and Juliet main characters, Joaquin del Toro and Dulcena Villa, are having to deal with the tension between their families and the violence of the time period including the persecution by the Texas Rangers directed at Tejanos. McCall has done a fine job telling a complex story. At times, this is a violent story, but the storytelling is authentic and relevant.
Alicia (A Kernel of Nonsense)
Review coming soon.
Yamile Méndez
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vcfa-4-3
Look at that cover! Isn't it gorgeous? Lovely, luscious writing, fascinating time period of which I;d never read anything about before. I might be biased, but Joaquin is my new favorite hero (with that name! *swoon*. *My son's name is Joaquin, LOL*). I love the women in this book so much too: Dulceña, La Estrella (my daughter is Estrella!), and even the priest, Joaquin's brother. Everyone should read this book. The saying that if we don't know history we're doomed to repeat it is so true! ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recounts an important part of Texas/US history that many may not know about. The main character is very well drawn and is a sensitive poet who see the world in a really unique way. There is some violence, but it is logical. The setting is atmospheric and really draws you in.
Mario Jimenez
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even though the characters are fictional, this story does a great job at recounting very important details of Texas history. This is done very creatively and interesting. The main characters are very relatable and liked. Can be seen as a modern Romeo and Juliet. A must read book.
Mel Raschke
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must have book in every middle school and high school library. Romeo and Juliet reimagined in Texas.
Rich in Color
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
Review copy: purchased

Under the Mesquite and Summer of the Mariposas, McCall’s previous books, are fantastic works of storytelling. Her writing is lyrical whether she’s creating prose or poetry. Having read and loved her first two books, I was predisposed to enjoy this newest novel. In addition, as a former resident of Texas, the story immediately caught my attention. Though I lived there for sixteen years, my knowledge of Texas history was sketchy at best so this seemed like an excellent way to
Deisy Esparza
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book Shame the Stars, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall is a literary statement. The author explains in her acknowledgment that this novel was written with the intent of informing schools about the injustices done to the Mexican community by the government. The education System does not inform students of the horrific experiences many Mexican and Mexican-American families suffered. Students are not taught about the discrimination that families livening in the borders between Mexico and the United S ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Shame the Stars” is set in 1915, and tells the story of Tejano families struggling to understand and survive brutalities inflicted upon them by the Texas Rangers (a group of “lawmen” who randomly killed and raped Mexican Americans, imprisoning them without trail, and stealing their land.) Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.... ...more
Gustavo Guajardo
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book tells a great love story that not only portrays social controversy of the community in South Texas, but also the racial oppression that took place in its time. It is a great book for those who are interested in Texas history as well as a good romance novel. This book is an eye opener because it exposes the violence omitted from history books in our schools.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
McCall writes a novel that unearths the violent history of the borderlands and the terror that the Texas Rangers(rinches) inflicted upon the Mexican American inhabitants. This novel is presented as a love story but this element is more of a backdrop to the violence and tension between Mexican American and Texas Rangers. It is a well written novel that seeks to convey something important.
Ashley Alvarez
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely enjoyed this book! It does an excellent job at telling how it was during the Mexican Revolution. The love the protagonist has for Dulcena is so heartwarming! This book is definitely a must-read!
Lupe Ruiz-Flores
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great story. Excellent research. Enjoyed.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Guadalupe García McCall
Shame the Stars
Tu Books
Hardcover, 978-1-6201-4278-3, (also available as an e-book), 320 pgs., $19.95
September 15, 2016

Joaquín and Dulceña are teenagers in love. Joaquín is the privileged, sensitive, traditional son of a distinguished ranching family in South Texas, Tejanos who have owned Las Moras since 1775. Dulceña, daughter of the local printer, is a spirited, smart, modern, independent young woman who wants to be a journalist and travel the world
I don't know why it took me so long to get around to reading this book. I loved the author's previous two titles, but there was just something about the cover that didn't appeal to me so I kept putting it aside. Now that I've read it, I wish I had not procrastinated, denying myself the earlier pleasure of sinking into this author's prose and learning part of the history of this nation that has not been covered very much, certainly not in the history texts used in its classrooms. Weaving racial a ...more
G. Garcia McCall weaves together newspaper sources, historical journalism from women like A.V. Negra (black bird), and skillful fiction to create a rich story of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. All of the plot events happen on the Texas American side, with the exception of the horse and cattle theft incidents. But the conflicts that Tejanos in Shame the Stars had to endure came from endless points of crisis: The Mexican revolution, Mexican bandits, murderous, vigilante Texas Rangers, corrupt judges ...more
Kelly Snyder
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book covered an area of American history that has been all but forgotten. Billed as a Texas Romeo and Juliet, I found a few areas where that can be implied, but not really. The forbidden love between Joaquin and Dulcena is about the only thing that resembles the historic love story of Romeo and Juliet. The book is about the Mexican Revolution in the early part of the Twentieth Century and how it affected to the native Texans or Tejanos of South Texas. While the story is fiction the author h ...more
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got when I was at ALA Annual in 2016. Wow, that was a long time ago.

Warnings: lynching, murder, rape, police brutality, victim-blaming, racism

History has a tendency to repeat itself and it's doing so in the US in more ways than you think. Xenophobia, mass deportations of Latinx people, rampant unpunished police brutality,... It sounds like 2020 but is also 1915 Texas near the border with Mexico, the setting for Shame the Stars. What w
Greta Yeager
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is an interesting and important topic which I think more people should know about. I would not, however, recommend this book to anyone. The prose is mediocre at best, and the worst bits literally stopped me from reading as I sat and contemplated how a published author wrote them without thinking twice. The narrative flow is confusing and inconsistent, especially towards the end, the love story felt particularly forced, and some of the poems scattered throughout the chapters had me cringing. ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent historical fiction novel about a sadly little-known part of American history (at least in my part of the country). It is advertised, however, by publishers & critics as an “imaginative retelling of Romeo & Juliet.” I have to disagree. Aside from two teenagers whose families have a falling out who fall in love & a few borrowed phrases from Shakespeare’s play, this isn’t a retelling of Romeo & Juliet. I think that description does not do justice to how truly important this novel is. T ...more
In this Romeo and Juliet story set in 1915 Texas, eighteen-year-olds Joaquin del Toro (a poet set to inherit his father’s rancho) and Dulceña Villa (who writes incendiary articles for her father’s newspaper under a pen name) have been in love since they were children. With escalating violence among Texas Rangers who act as vigilantes, ranchers who want justice, and Tejano rebels set on reclaiming Texas for Mexico, the teens’ families end up on opposite sides of the conflict, and Joaquin and Dulc ...more
Jamie Gregory
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't know anything about this historical time period featured in this novel, set in 1915 in Texas. It captures the deadly conflicts among the Mexican revolutionaries, Mexican Americans, and Texas Rangers. However, the characters are sort of two-dimensional. I think this book would work well for middle school students although it would help to give them some background information beforehand. To simply read it as a Romeo and Juliet story, as it is marketed, is to miss the point of the book, i ...more
Laura Jean
Until recently, I had not realized the depredations done against American Tejanos during the early part of the twentieth century. This book explores that. It was quiet complex: revolutionaries and bandits. Each were dangerous and there were even different types of revolutionaries. In addition, it was a time when women still did not have the right to vote. This book explores the roles of women in both Mrs. del Toro and Dulcena. Finally, there were socio-economic differences. There were patrons, l ...more
Amy Winters
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am rounding up here and would probably rate this more around. 3.5. I found the book interesting enough that I didn’t want to stop reading, but I also was left wanting more. I wanted to be more connected with the characters and the story because the history she was writing about definitely should have moved me more. I admit I haven’t heard about any of this in history classes of the past and just happened to find this on my own while digging through the library shelves. I’m glad I found it and ...more
Apr 01, 2021 rated it liked it

I was excited to read a book that took place close to home and delved into the history of my ancestors. A history that most have forgotten because you won't find it in any textbook (get it together, Texas).
At first, I was discouraged because it focused on the love story between Joaquín and Dulceña. Very Romeo and Juliet and I am not a fan of Shakespeare. Thankfully it picked up and shifted focus to the rebellion that was meant to be the center of the story. It was nice seeing Spanish not
Florence Primrose
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
in 1915 in south Texas the Texas Rangers were the law. Immigrants were arriving taking land from Mexican-Americans who had owned and farmed for generations. Texas Rangers were killing and harming many of the original owners. The Mexican Revolution is on.

Joaquin and Dulcinea were a young couple in love as their parents took different sides in the conflict
This is an excellent historical fiction novel about this time period.
Amy Vaterlaus
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and love seeing this part of Mexican-American history bring brought into this story. I like the inclusions of newspaper clippings into the story. I really didn't care for the relationships between Joaquín and Dulcena but can see why a love story would be included to add some hope in a dark time ( this could just be how I see it). overall, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Mexican-American history. ...more
Dakota Horacek
Aug 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Take Romeo and Juliet , bring out of Shakespeare's world and in to Mexico/Texas at the time of the war there and you have a great adaptation for students. Might be great for my ELL kiddos to read. It had a bit of Spanish in it, which for me, I had to use a translator or the back of the book for: which made me aware of how slowly my kids might have to read in order to translate. Eye opening experience. ...more
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Daniel Boitano's Review 8 1 1 May 02, 2020 03:53PM  

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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

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Shame the Stars Series (2 books)
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