Lopez easily takes us through the saga of a young woman from a working class east L.A. neighborhood dealing with the usual growing pains: first loves, finding a job, self-discovery. She thoughtfully explores a colorful mother-daughter dynamic which is refreshing. In Esperanza, Sandra Lopez has written a believably studious and aspirational character. Through a solid first person narrative, the reader will cheer for Esperanza as she enters adulthood and carves her path Beyond the Gardens.
Sandra C. López was born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens, California. She learned to read at the young age of two and strived to achieve the best grades in school. Her free time was spent reading, writing, and drawing. Sandra managed to be the first in her family to graduate from high school and enter college. Her first novel, "Esperanza: A Latina Story," was published in March 2008 while she was still in college. Now, this young writer is a full graduate of Cal State University Fullerton with a BFA in Animation and Illustration, and she is anticipating a promising career as a writer and an artist. "Beyond the Gardens" is the follow up sequel to "Esperanza."
About the book
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 Hills” because of the rich daddy and the new car she got for her quinceañera.
Things get a little confusing for Esperanza when an old friend comes looking for her, hoping to start a meaningful relationship. But is Carlos the right guy for her? She never even considered him to be anything more than a friend since high school. Then comes Jake, a gorgeous mechanic, who shares her passion for books and loves her for who she is. What’s a girl to do?
Strength and determination help pave the way for the future. And, as she approaches her graduation, she is faced with a difficult decision: should she leave Los Angeles and leave behind her family, her home, and everything she’s known? Ever since she was born in the California barrio of Hawaiian Gardens, she’s always had to look over the fence, wondering what she’s been missing. Now she’s taking a flying leap over to see what’s beyond the little barrio. What’s beyond her family, her friends, and her past? What’s beyond the little nothing town, where dreams don’t exist? What’s beyond The Gardens? Is it life, love, a future? The story of Esperanza is finally concluded in this wildly entertaining and heart-warming sequel.
By Sandra C. Lopez
Published: Outskirts Press
Praise for Beyond the Gardens
“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
“It’s not easy to figure out who you want to be, especially
if you’re a chica from the barrio. With a crazy family
and un amigo, who has suddenly decided he wants her,
brainy college student, Esperanza, finds herself having to
make some tough decisions. In this humorous and sweet
novel, Lopez brings us lovable characters we want to root
for from page one. Don’t miss it!”
—Lara Rios – Author of Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps
Monday April 26 Bonnie S. Mata http://authoroffaith.blogspot.com/
Tuesday April 27 Mayra Calvani http://www.examiner.com/x-6309-Latino-Books-Examiner
Wednesday April 28 Christina Rodriguez http://www.christinarodriguez.com/
Thursday April 29 Lori Calabrese http://loricalabrese.com/blog/
Friday April 30 Mary Jo http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/
Monday May 3 Erin O'Riordan http://www.erinoriordan.blogspot.com/
Tuesday May 4 Joylene Nowell Butler http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/
Wednesday May 5 Terri Lee-Johnson http://www.browngirlspeaks.com/
Thursday May 6 Romina Tybitt http://www.mamaxxi.blogspot.com/
Friday May 7 Leslie Toledo http://thatchickthatreads.blogspot.com/
Our author, Sandra Lopez, will be selecting from the comments on the tour stops a winner to receive a copy of Beyond the Gardens.