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Beyond the Gardens

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  29 reviews
At the age of 18, Esperanza Ignacio begins her college years at an upscale Los Angeles art school, where she studies to fulfill her long-term dream in Animation. But she soon learns the truth to the old folktale: “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.” Even though she’s getting financial aid, Esperanza works a part-time job ...more
Published (first published October 27th 2009)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  36 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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K.T. Munson

At the age of 18, Esperanza Ignacio begins her college years at an upscale Los Angeles art school, where she studies to fulfill her long-term dream in Animation. But she soon learns the truth to the old folktale: “you can take the girl out of the barrio, but you can’t take the barrio out of the girl.” Even though she’s getting financial aid, Esperanza works a part-time job during her break from classes just to make ends meet. Her roommate, Anna, is what she calls a “chicana from Beverly H
Victoria Rodríguez
This was a very cute book that I couldn't stop reading until I finished it. The story takes place in Los Angeles, California. Esperanza Ignacio is a girl who is studying at university, she has been educated by her mother, now she wants to be able to be an independent woman. Esperanza is in constant contact with her friend Carla, she tells her about her daily activities as well as the happy anecdotes they lived as girls. One day Esperanza meets Jake Tyler, a boy who has come to Los Angeles with t ...more
Maria Riegger
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful coming-of-age novel. I strongly identified with the main character.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for review from the author. I had reviewed her other book, Esperanza, last year and liked it well enough to want to read the next installment in the story. Unfortunately, much of the same things that annoyed me in Esperanza continued in Beyond the Gardens. And while I might have been able to overlook these things to an extent in one novel, having to read four hundred more pages with similar errors and annoyance made me less inclined to rate this book favorably.

One of my big
N.N. Light
The premise of this story grabbed me and I could relate in some level to Esperanza’s struggles. A poor girl going after her dreams, leaving all that she knows. Esperanza is blessed with a gift for art and has a dream of working at an Animation company. She gets accepted into one of the top art and design schools and is able to attend thanks to financial aid. She’s suddenly thrust into a world of the elite and struggles to fit in. But she’s determined to not end like her mother.

Meanwhile, there’s
Alretha Thomas
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Lopez has created a character that you will embrace and root for. I fell in love with Esperanza Ignacio, an eighteen-year-old college student who has a dream to work in Animation. The coming-of-age story, told in first person, is well-written and engaging. The story will definitely tug at your heart strings, but Esperanza never plays the victim card. She is determined to see her dreams fulfilled and does everything in her power to successfully navigate through her new environment that’s t ...more
Loves Romance
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sandra Lopez is a story teller and Beyond the Gardens won me over! An easy to read coming of age story of a young independent woman in college, Lopez’s main character, Esperanza Ignacio, is humorous and spot on in her assumptions of the world and the people around her. I especially loved when Esperanza spoke to herself or made comments under her breath.

Growing into a young independent woman but still missing home and momma pulled at my heartstrings, as well as when she was insulted and was asses
Anastasia Abboud
Esperanza. Hope. There is life beyond the familiar, beyond the barrios, beyond fear, exhaustion, hard times. Sandra C. Lopez’s Beyond the Gardens is one of the sweetest, most hopeful stories I’ve ever read. It’s simply beautiful.

What’s even more extraordinary is that it rings of reality, too. This isn’t a story about a sexy executive secretary and her billionaire boss finding their happily ever after. It isn’t the story of a tormented celebrity who gets stranded with the girl next door and falls
Ellen Behrens
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esperanza has arrived at college, a first-generation college attendee, and one of few college students (if any) emerging from her southern California barrio, Hawaiian Gardens (which was anything *but* the image the name suggests) to tackle higher education.

I'll admit right here I don't usually read young adult novels, and my comments might reflect that. I was, for example, surprised at the length of the novel and thought it could be trimmed with some helpful editing -- some scenes weren't necess
E.N. Crane
Mar 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Cute Story

I love the central themes in this book: identity, struggling with what it means to be different, and not changing when it’s clear people expect you to. Esperanza had a lot thrown at her, and she fought her fear and her nature to make everyone happy to decide what was best for her.

Personally, I thought the story line with Carla and Carlos should have ended sooner. They represented the insecurity she felt being a Latina in a non Latin community and when she overcame the blondes insult
Lorena Romero
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
P.S. Winn
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esperanza Ignacio is 18 and life is ahead of her, What she doesn't realize as she heads off to college is that sometimes who we are and where we are from can effect how the world looks at you. This is a great book that people should read and learn from. Life is harsher for some than others and we all have to go for our dreams and overcome as best we can. ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved loved reading this book! I have read from this author before and now again... this author writes very well put together story plots and thought out characters. This book being another one of her great ones! Highly recommend reading anything from this author as I have not been let down!
Kayla Hicks
The relationships the character had with others in the book were wonderful to see blossom, but I did feel as if the pace of the book was slow. I do think this book is a good book for YA readers and explores the journey of coming of age as the character makes their way through college.
Cheryl Montgomery-Nolan
While I received an ARC of this book, I have made an independent decision to post this review. This story is for young adults and I found it to be a good read!
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or my review in any way.

I didn't really get along with this book, I felt like I was the wrong audience. I think this book is better suited for people in their mid-late teens - at 25 I felt too old for the book. However, having said that, there were still parts I enjoyed.

Starting with the negatives, I found the story quite slow. It took me quite a few chapters to "get
Z ~ The Diary of Book Enthusiasts
This book has been an okay read for me, but unfortunately, I did not like it as much as I’d hoped.

Don’t get me wrong, the story is good. It portrays something that can be easily imagined happening in real life. It’s about a young girl who is struggling to be different, to achieve her dreams and not end up making the same mistakes her mother had done in the past. There is a huge dose of humor in this book, which I really liked. It could have been a very touching story, but there are things that r
Gayle Pace
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She debuted with Esperanza: A Latina Story (2008) was about a poverty home with domestic abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse among her father's and relatives gangland connections. A teenager from this home has so little hope, if any for any future that is worth anything. Hawaiian Gardens in LA, may be her defeat. A friend tries to get her into an early marriage forsaking her education.When she enters high school, she faces many obstacles, she is bullied, there is so much pressure from her pe
Jacqueline Francis
3.5 Stars

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Firstly, I think it’s necessary to say that this book is not for everyone. If you are looking for a raunchy college romance filled with booze and parties, this is not the book for you. This book is about the journey of Esperanza through her college years – a coming of age story. I found the dry humour in this book refreshing and very entertaining and Anna had me giggling on more than one occasion.

It is a bit slow pace
Reads A-Lot
Dec 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-sandra

“Sandra Lopez’s sequel to Esperanza—Beyond the Gardens—
reacquaints the reader with a compelling character,
Esperanza, her barrio past and her college present, as
she struggles to get an education and find her identity. A
heartwarming story that young, female teens will enjoy!”
—Donna Del Oro – Author of Operation Familia and
Hasta La Vista, Baby

“Readers can’t help but cheer Esperanza on as she
finds out what life is like Beyond the Gardens. Funny, smart,
and heartfelt—all
Devon H
I really enjoyed this book. It was filled with drama, and at time had some grammatical mistakes that were hard to overlook, but the the overarching themes made this book really successful in my mind.

A fast paced book, Beyond the Gardens is the story of a latina girl, Esperanza, and her experience outside of the barrio she grew up in. Esperanza is a college girl who moved away from home to take on new life experiences and explore her interests. Her roommate starts of as this foreign experience th
Livin' la  Vida Latina
Reviewed by: Bela M.
Member of Livin' la vida Latina

Review: After reading Esperanza: A Latina story, you can bet how much I was looking forward to reading this sequel. Esperanza is now in college! She is living her life the way she's always wanted--on campus away from her mother and barrio neighborhood. Suddenly, her life is upended when friends from her past re-enter: Carlos, who is now interested in her romantically, and his sister, Carla, who had urged Esperanza to marry her brother in high
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

It's Esperanza's first year away from home as she starts college. With a rich girl with a good-looking boyfriend as a roommate and trouble finding a job, things can get tough.

Things look up, though, when she meets Jake, a mechanic hottie who's a total bookworm like her, and he starts showing interest. Towards the end of the year, however, her best friend from the barrio shows back up in her life and wants her to be his girlfriend.

Will Esperanza be able to c
Leslie (That Chick That Reads)
If I could describe this book in two words, they would be: Relatable and Amazing. It’s just one of those books that any body, it doesn’t matter if you’re an alien or if you’re a human being, could relate to just as long as they have something they want to do in life. It’s character’s are very diverse and readers will care about these characters long after the novel is finished! Being Latina myself, I enjoyed Esperanza’s world and I believe that we should have more novel’s out there like this one ...more
Courtney Psak
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beyond the Gardens, even though I’ve been out of college for quite sometime, brought back those same anxious feelings I felt as a freshman. You are finally independent and starting a life for yourself which is exciting yet scary at the same time. You want to make sure you are making the right decisions and there is a constant pull between moving forward but also missing the familiarity of home.
While some parts weren’t that relatable for me, I think it’s just due to the fact that you tend to forg
Kendra Morgan
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs a happy ending
Recommended to Kendra by: bookreview22
Shelves: reviewed
Beyond the Gardens is a story about a young woman finding her place in the world outside the barrio. She's the first in her family to do many things, including graduate high school and graduating from college. It deals with the feelings and fears one faces when leaving behind what is known and moving into the unknown, mostly all on your own.

Esperanza, which means hope in Spanish, is the perfect name for this young woman. This is Esperanza's story, very well told.

I received a review copy of this
Where does a young Latina go to find independance, self-worth, and generally a life? College, of course!
Leslie Ronish
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2019
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Sandra C. López is one of today's influential Latina authors in Young Adult literature. Her first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, was published in March 2008 WHILE she was still in college. Since then she has published several other books, including the Single Chicas series. She was named as one of "2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch" by Latino Stories, and her book, Beyond the Gardens, wa ...more

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