Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pub. Date: October 27th, 2009
Age Level: Young Adult
Obtained: Received for Review
She was a shy artist, who was afraid to blossom into the beautiful flower she was meant to grow into.
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.
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 to help inspire our youth! Sandra completely captivated me with her writing and I am looking forward to reading more work from this author! I give this novel 5 out of 5 paws!
Leave a question for Sandra! She’ll be on the blog today and she’s gunna be answering your questions!
That Chick That Reads
I want to thank Sandra Lopez for her time here today on the bloggity :) Make sure you stick around guys! She’s answering any questions you may have today so feel free to ask anything!
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."
Q: How did you get the idea for writing Beyond the Gardens? What was it about it that appealed to you?
A: I got the idea right after my first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, was published in March of 2008. It was at that point that I realized this young teen's story was not over yet. Her destiny was still in college. At that point in my life, I was just putting the finishing touches in my Bachelor's at Cal State Fullerton, so I had all the life experience of an art student. And that's when Beyond the Gardens was born. It is the continuation of Esperanza's story at a Los Angeles Art School, where she experiences life and love for the first time ever in her life.
I guess what appealed to me the most about it was finishing Esperanza's story, which I did in Beyond the Gardens.
Q. What's the hardest thing about writing?
A: Coming up with a good title that fits your story but also one that doesn't sound so lame. The actual writing of the story is the easiest part.
Q. If you get interrupted in the middle of writing, how hard or easy is it to jump back into it?
A: For this question, I will go back to one of my favorite movies, As Good as it gets, with Jack Nicolson. In this movie, Jack Nicolson stars as an obsessive-compulsive writer with no tolerance for people. There is this one scene in the beginning where he is working on his latest book, and he is knee-deep in concentration. In fact, he is at the climax of his plot, and he is just about to come up with the perfect sentence when......somebody knocks on his front door. SON OF BI***! He jumps up from his seat and stomps toward the door. Then he basically tells his neighbor not to ever bother him while he is writing...."not even if he hears a thud and the stench that can only be a decaying human body is so overwhelming that you have to put a hanky over you nose, not even then, don't come knocking, not on this door." (That is my favorite line, BTW)
I can so relate to this scene because it is exactly how I feel when I am interrupted, and it takes me a while for me to get back to my groove (I have to remember where I was and what I was going to say and all that.) So, yeah, I hate being interrupted.
Q. Is there any advice you would give to aspiring authors?
A: Write what you know and write what you like. Don't get discouraged by all those snobby editors and know-it-all agents. Do what you want to do and do it now! Don't wait 'til you're retired, you might not live that long. Do it now!
Q. How much time do you spend writing a day?
A: When I have committed to a project, my words a day varies. Sometimes I writer more, and sometimes I write less. I write when I feel like it, basically. And this is the way I prefer to do it as opposed to landing that publishing contract before the novel is even written. I prefer the novel to be all done before pitching it to editors. I don't need the added stress of deadlines (I have plenty white hairs, thank you very much!) For me, writing is more of a hobby, not a job. So I do it when I feel like it.
Q. Lets end with a silly question: when your sitting in a movie theater, which arm rest is yours? Right or left?
A: Both. I need my elbow room.
Author of Esperanza: A Latina Story and Beyond the Gardens
Where to buy the novel: