Beyond The Gardens

( 5 )


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 ...

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Beyond the Gardens

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781432746988
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 26, 2014

    This book has been an okay read for me, but unfortunately, I did

    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

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  • Posted May 14, 2014

    PRAISE for BEYOND THE GARDENS! ¿Sandra Lopez¿s sequel to Esper

    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
    “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
    “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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    Reviewed by: Bela M. Member of Livin' la vida Latina Review:

    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.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book! Funny, Romantic, and Heartfelt

    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.

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  • Posted April 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Kira M for

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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