As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Esparanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Although I've heard about it years ago, I was interested in reading this Young Adult book after I read a review from a teacher who said that, by the end of the book, the entire class was in tears. I had to find out how a high school class could have gotten that emotional.
The story is about a young girl named Esparanza, who comes from a wealthy family in Mexico. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother, along with their servants, move to California in search of a better life. Esparanza and her mother are now second-class citizens, and she must adjust to being considered equal to the people who were formerly her help. Attempting to get their piece of the American dream, they find themselves in the midst of Mexican repatriation horrors as they work in a camp with other Mexicans out in the fields and anywhere else work is offered.
It has been quite some time since a book has held my attention so much that I finished reading it within 24 hours. This book taught me the importance of keeping faith, never giving up, and always having hope (the English word for "esparanza"). Ryan's story is based on her grandmother Esparanza's life and reflects on the real crises Mexicans faced in the 1930s during America's Great Depression.
No matter what happens to Esparanza, her family, and her close friends, they remain diligent in working and praying. Through the many obstacles that they encounter, they realize all they could do after every time they fall is rise.