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Title: Esperanza Rising

Writer: Pam Munoz Ryan

Publisher:Atria (2011)

Pages: 238 p

Gift from Atria =)

Esperanza Ortega was an only child. Her father was the owner of one of the largest plantations in Mexico. Her life was perfect, well planned, with lots of parties, best friends from wealthy families, loyal helpers and loving parents. But one day her life had suddenly changed, when a sad tragedy made her lost her father, just one night before her birthday.

Her wicked step uncles entered her life with their evil plans, forcing Esperanza and her mother, with the help of their loyal servants, moved out from their hometown to the unknown world outside: a working compound in California. Esperanza had to leave all her life behind, including her beloved grandmother who became her greatest inspiration.

So Esperanza’s new life had begun. The hard journey to the United States was nothing compared to the hard work she had to endure – while she never worked a day in her life before. She didn’t even know how to wash clothes or sweep the floor! And she had to face so many different things at once: her mother, suddenly became weak by illness, her servant’s son, Miguel, who became more than just a friend, and the politics among the workers and plantation owners. Everything was so new to her, sometimes too overwhelming.

Esperanza’s struggle became the main story of the book. How she tried to survive, even in the bleakest day when hope seemed so far away. Pam Munoz Ryan wrote this book based on her grandmother’s experience as an immigrant in the US many years back. Her description of the situation in the workers compound in California was quite believable and real, with the issues of equality, justice and protests from the people, who some of them were deported back to Mexico.

This is a very simple story, light, inspiring, but not too heavy. Intended for the young adults, this book is really good to know a bit about history of immigrants from Mexico in the US. The characters are great, too. Esperanza’s developing really well, from a spoiled rich kid to a mature young woman, albeit in a relatively short time.

about the author

Pam Munoz Ryan has written over thirty books for young adults, mostly setting in or has background of southern America. Besides Esperanza Rising, other Pam’s books included The Dreamer, Becoming Naomi Leon, and Riding Freedom. She was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, but now living in San Diego with her husband, four amazing kids, and a bunch of pets.