Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall


This is not my first novel in verse (although it my first young-adult verse-novel since I devoured Ellen Hopkins’ works in middle school—this is nothing like those, for the record).

The story follows Lupita, a young Mexican-American girl from a large family, who writes poetry to escape as her mother is diagnosed and treated for cancer, while she is left at home to care for her multitude of younger siblings.

It’s aimed towards the younger-end of the young adult canon, and so in my opinion it gets a pass on many of its flaws. For example, the ending is a bit rushed (more on that in a second), but overall the novel goes above and beyond in accurately reflecting on grief and adolescent self-expression.

On the ending: it’s a beautiful ending, with closure and hope that doesn’t mitigate or diminish the grief that Lupita carries around with her. My issue with it is simply that after all the build-up to get to that point the actual ending stanzas were hurried.

Other than that, it’s a sweet little book (emphasis on little; I think I read the whole thing in a little over two hours). Would give it the full 10/10 stars (and actually waffled back and forth between 8 and 9, the score that I wanted to give it being an 8.5) except that as an adult it didn’t hold my attention as much as it would for a preteen.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE? I’m personally against poetry of this kind being translated onto a screen, since ¾ of the beauty is in the author’s carefully chosen lines. But feel free to disagree with me in the comments below!

Bye for now, download



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