Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
A novel in verse. Lupita loves writing in her journal. The oldest of eight siblings, Lupita has a lot of responsibilities even more when her mother becomes ill. The story spans Lupita's high school years and is broken up into six parts. I either like a verse novel or I don't, there is no middle ground. I consider verse a structured free form, that requires a certain amount of rhythm. Its easy to find poorly written novels in this style but the good ones are come by. McCall's debut is a great one.
There's an honesty and beauty to Lupita's voice. I love how the author makes Lupita and her family come to life. The novel moves at a beautiful pace with each poem tying in nicely to tell Lupita's story. These poems also work very well separately. It's a joy to flip and read a random entry. This is a very emotional read that never feels forced. Everything comes about naturally. I have much respect for an author that simply writes with the intention of telling a good story as opposed to playing on readers feelings to get the biggest reaction. The release date of Under the Mesquite got pushed back twice. It was well worth the wait. One of my favorite debuts of the year.
Senorita is a nina,
the girl I used to be,
who has lost her voice
A starred Kirkus Review