Sandra Lopez---Author and Illustrator
Born and raised in Hawaiian Gardens, CA, Sandra C. López is one of today's influential Latina authors in Young Adult literature. Her first novel, Esperanza: A Latina Story, was published in March 2008 WHILE she was still in college. Shortly after that, she wrote the follow up to Esperanza called Beyond the Gardens, published in October 2009. Now, this young writer is a full graduate of Cal State University Fullerton with a BFA in the arts. She was named as one of "2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch" by Latino Stories.
Sandra's Book Club
My name is Sandra Lopez, and I am the author of two YA novels. My first novel, "Esperanza: A Latina Story," was published in 2008 by Floricanto Press WHILE I was still in college! I was named as one of "2011 Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch." In this club, I will share my writing stories and all my leisurely readings. For more info, log on to www.sandra-lopez.com
14 year old Esperanza Ignacio could only think of a few words to sum up her life: crap, crap, crap! She was born into a poor Latino family living in a small crummy apartment in the barrio side of town. Her father was a drunken, gambler, and wife-beater who, one cold night, got arrested after a violent intrusion. Her entire circle of relatives consisted of nothing but gangsters and drug-addicts. Yep, her life was nothing but a huge load of crap.
After surviving a scorching summer heat, Esperanza enters the unfamiliar world of high-school with a tight knot in her stomach. On the very first day, she is sucked into a blunder of catastrophic events beginning with accidentally running into the world’s BIGGEST bully. To make things even easier, her best friend, Carla, won’t stop trying to marry her off to her twin brother, Carlos. And she has these two puny siblings constantly vying for her attention. God, it’s a wonder she doesn’t strap herself in a straight jacket and pretend to be Elvis.
Nonetheless, Esperanza attempts to get through it all. She is a smart and ambitious young kid struggling to survive her life while fighting to make her mark on the world. Her story is filled with pain, strength, and too much loud bickering. It carries a voice enriched with barrio slang and sarcastic humor. Esperanza illustrates what a persistent Latino youth can achieve when they get back up after a fall and keep on walking straight into college.
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.