Beyond The Gardensby Sandra C Lopez
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/b>
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.
- Outskirts Press, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
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The premise of this story grabbed me and I could relate in some level to Esperanza’s struggles. A poor girl going after her dreams, leaving all that she knows. Esperanza is blessed with a gift for art and has a dream of working at an Animation company. She gets accepted into one of the top art and design schools and is able to attend thanks to financial aid. She’s suddenly thrust into a world of the elite and struggles to fit in. But she’s determined to not end like her mother. Meanwhile, there’s two guys who are vying for Esperanza’s love. A classic triangle and one I didn’t mind. Both guys are worthy yet I wished for more depth. When talking about falling in love and choosing the right guy, the reader needs to know the motivation behind action. I know we’re limited to Esperanza’s point of view but I felt like Carlos and Jake were too superficial in terms of characters. This is a wonderful new adult coming of age story about leaving the nest, adjusting to college life and pursuing your dreams. The author wrote this while attending college which adds an authenticity that I appreciated. She describes the conflict of blending in with society while standing out at the same time. It’s easy to see why the author was named the top ten new Latino authors to watch in 2011. If you’re looking for a poignant story about following your dreams and falling in love, pick up Beyond the Gardens. Favorite Character: Esperanza. She reminded me of myself my first few years in college. My main goal was to not end up like my mother; it was my driving force and the motivator when making decisions. Esperanza has a delightful personality and her humorous insight shone through. I would’ve loved to have had a friend like her when I was in college. Favorite Quote: “It’s a personal thing. It’s just like reading a book or doing yoga – they’re all things you do in solitary confinement to feel centered and at peace.” ~ Jack My Rating: 4 stars
Beyond the Gardens, even though I’ve been out of college for quite sometime, brought back those same anxious feelings I felt as a freshman. You are finally independent and starting a life for yourself which is exciting yet scary at the same time. You want to make sure you are making the right decisions and there is a constant pull between moving forward but also missing the familiarity of home. While some parts weren’t that relatable for me, I think it’s just due to the fact that you tend to forget how naïve you are when you are 18. Overall, it is a great read for anyone that is starting out in college or leaving home for the first time.
This book has been an okay read for me, but unfortunately, I did not like it as much as I’d hoped. Don’t get me wrong, the story is good. It portrays something that can be easily imagined happening in real life. It’s about a young girl who is struggling to be different, to achieve her dreams and not end up making the same mistakes her mother had done in the past. There is a huge dose of humor in this book, which I really liked. It could have been a very touching story, but there are things that ruined it for me. First, there are too many dialogues and too little monologues and descriptions. The plot is good, but the execution of it is ruined it for me. In real life, a very long conversation is normal, but in books, reading a lot of dialogues can get boring fast. It feels like the book is told in dialogues, which really lessened its appeal for me. It lacks certain descriptions and sometimes, the long conversations are losing its sense. Because of that, it felt like big chunk of the book was unnecessary. The story felt dragging. Second, the characters lack depth. This might be because of the million dialogues, making it hard to see through the characters’ development. Third, Esperanza. I don’t know if she’s naïve or just plain—I’m sorry for the term—stupid. She keeps leading Carlos on. She came across as very insensitive. Seriously, can’t the girl understand that she can’t be friends with someone who’s got romantic feelings for her which she doesn’t return? Is she that insensitive? Do young people really do not know that when someone have romantic feelings for them, being just friends is almost impossible because it is bound to hurt that someone? Fourth, the ending. It is too cliché—too convenient. Everything worked out really well—everything. I understand that this an HEA book, but the ending felt like too much fairy tale. The resolution is all in one chapter, which doesn’t really cut it for me. Fifth, the writing style. Because of the dialogues, the writing style looked somewhat messy. Or perhaps it’s just me. Last, Esperanza’s story. I think it might be better if Beyond the Gardens is labeled as the sequel of Esperanze: A Latina Story. I have not read the latter, but since not much about Esperanza’s past is written in this book, I am assuming it is all in that other book. If it has the same female lead, I strongly think this should be labeled as its sequel. I’m sure this book has touched and will touch the heart of many readers, but it’s not just for me. *complimentary copy provided by the author for an honest review ~ Zee
PRAISE for BEYOND THE GARDENS! “Sandra Lopez’s sequel to Esperanza—Beyond the Gardens— reacquaints the reader with a compelling character, Esperanza, her barrio past and her college present, as she struggles to get an education and find her identity. A heartwarming story that young, female teens will enjoy!” —Donna Del Oro – Author of Operation Familia and Hasta La Vista, Baby “Readers can’t help but cheer Esperanza on as she finds out what life is like Beyond the Gardens. Funny, smart, and heartfelt—all that you want in an inspiring story.” —Margo Candela – Author of Underneath it all and More than this “It’s not easy to figure out who you want to be, especially if you’re a chica from the barrio. With a crazy family and un amigo, who has suddenly decided he wants her, brainy college student, Esperanza, finds herself having to make some tough decisions. In this humorous and sweet novel, Lopez brings us lovable characters we want to root for from page one. Don’t miss it!” —Lara Rios – Author of Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps “An emerging Latina voice, Sandra Lopez continues to inspire with her latest work, Beyond the Gardens. Her words are soulful and her images resonate with passion and humor.” —Ray Michael Baca – Author of Brotherhood of the Light “In Beyond the Gardens, Esperanza Ignacio confronts a new world with humor and humility. With peppy dialogue and energetic prose, Sandra C. Lopez brings us a story of a young girl’s strength and determination. As candid as it is entertaining, Beyond the Gardens leaves us all with a sense of hope.” —T. M. Spooner – Author of The Salvation of La Purísima and Notes from Exile
Reviewed by: Bela M. Member of Livin' la vida Latina Review: After reading Esperanza: A Latina story, you can bet how much I was looking forward to reading this sequel. Esperanza is now in college! She is living her life the way she's always wanted--on campus away from her mother and barrio neighborhood. Suddenly, her life is upended when friends from her past re-enter: Carlos, who is now interested in her romantically, and his sister, Carla, who had urged Esperanza to marry her brother in high school. Esperanza also contends with her roommate, a rich Chicana; and with Jake, a hunky mechanic who seems to be her soulmate. Life becomes complicated for Esperanza as she constantly wonders what is "beyond the gardens" of her barrio, and what life can possibly hold for her. This was a very quick and enjoyable read. Lopez's story comes across as a somewhat autobiographical fiction, and her character, Esperanza, is someone I really liked. She's neurotic, an over-achiever, and totally entertaining. She's a young Latina from the barrio, making a life for herself by breaking out of all expectations and stereotypes. I love this about her, and I think most of us can see ourselves in her. This is a love story and an inspiration to young ladies who are less apt to try to be beauty queens and more likely to try and use their brains to better themselves. Funny and romantic. Be sure to jot down the name Sandra Lopez as you will be hearing more from her in the future.
Esperanza is your typical "nerd". She reads voraciously, has amazing study habits, has little fashion knowledge beyond jeans and t-shirts, and is accident prone. The best thing about the lead character of Beyond the Gardens is that she's perfectly content with who she is and grateful to be out of the barrio. She's fulfilling her dream of being in college, an art college, at that, where she studies animation. During freshmen year, she discovers that her childhood best friend, Carlos, wants to be more than friends but, she's fallen for another guy who has the same love for books as she does. Meanwhile, Esperanza forms an unlikely friendship with her shopaholic roommate. Lopez easily takes us through the saga of a young woman from a working class east L.A. neighborhood dealing with the usual growing pains: first loves, finding a job, self-discovery. She thoughtfully explores a colorful mother-daughter dynamic which is refreshing. In Esperanza, Sandra Lopez has written a believably studious and aspirational character. Through a solid first person narrative, the reader will cheer for Esperanza as she enters adulthood and carves her path Beyond the Gardens.
It's Esperanza's first year away from home as she starts college. With a rich girl with a good-looking boyfriend as a roommate and trouble finding a job, things can get tough. Things look up, though, when she meets Jake, a mechanic hottie who's a total bookworm like her, and he starts showing interest. Towards the end of the year, however, her best friend from the barrio shows back up in her life and wants her to be his girlfriend. Will Esperanza be able to choose between the two boys? BEYOND THE GARDENS is a tale filled with humor and romance. The characters are easy to relate to and the plot is well done. Readers who like romance, school stories, and comedy will all enjoy this novel.