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Under the Mesquite: Review

Title: Under the Mesquite
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Release Date: October 2010
Published By: Lee & Low Books
Pages: 144
Goodreads Rating: 4.01 stars

Review: Lupita is a budding actress and poet in a close-knit Mexican immigrant family, and her future stretches out brightly before her. That is, until her mother contracts cancer and everything falls apart. Lupita and her siblings' college savings are all decimated to pay for the medical bills, and suddenly children can not be children any more. She has to grow up, and fast.

UNDER THE MESQUITE is written in verse, and McCall's poetry here was impeccable. With sparse but seamless writing, she wove a tale out of a mere handful of words on each page. This book is short at 144 pages, but the story is painted in broad brush strokes and conveys the powerful emotion and resilience of Lupita during her mother's struggle with cancer.

However, there's a downside to the broadness of the story as well. Many smaller plot points were barely touched upon and lacked development that would have truly propelled the novel. Verse novels often have a fine balance between too little and too much detail, but in this case, it rested firmly in "too little". While intense emotion was definitely present, it was difficult to truly connect with the characters.

All in all, UNDER THE MESQUITE is a lovely little verse novel with beautiful writing but not enough story development. The author clearly demonstrates a talent for poetry with some turns of phrase that resound across the pages, so while I would not necessarily recommend this particular book, I look forward to other novels by her.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.


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