The Friday 56: Shame the Stars

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“You see, several men escaped the authorities. The story said as much, but what wasn’t in the paper, what my father wouldn’t dare print, was that some of the escaped men were local ranch hands—men from Morado Country who are so frustrated, so angry over this mantanza, this indiscriminate slaughter of our people, they’re ready to burn down any business owned or operated by Anglo immigrants.”

I didn’t get a chance to review this one, but wanted to make sure I still featured it for this meme. Guadalupe García McCall’s Shame the Stars sheds light on a lesser-known part of history for Mexicans and tejanos, where conflict from the Mexican Revolution spilled over into Texas, igniting racial tensions between tejanos and Texas Rangers. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “In the midst of racial conflict and at the edges of a war at the Texas-Mexico border in 1915, Joaquin and Dulceña attempt to maintain a secret romance in this reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.”

The Friday 56, #79: Summer of the Mariposas

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’re been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

       “If doing something as simple as returning a dead man to his family would save our family, shouldn’t I try?”

Confession time: I very nearly forgot to do this post tonight. It happens to all of us, right? (Technically it isn’t late because I’m doing it the night before, but I’m used to doing it earlier than now and it feels late to me and now I’m just rambling because it’s late and I should be sleeping) Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas is a story of five sisters who travel to Mexico and discover what it really means to be a family. This book had a lot of great elements, but I was looking for something a little darker. Despite this, I’m looking forward to picking up another book by this author.

From my review:

“Odilia and her four little sisters have one rule: cinco hermanitas, together forever. The summer a swarm of butterflies takes over their town of Eagle Pass, Texas, the sisters spend their days at a secluded swimming hole fed from the Rio Grande. When they find a body in their hidden sanctuary, instead of calling the authorities, the sisters are determined to return him to his family in Mexico. But their journey will be anything but easy, for wicked creatures seek to ensnare them and the Garza sisters will need to be brave and faithful to one another if they wish to ever return home.” You can read my full review here.

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Title: Summer of the Mariposas
Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Series: N/A

Odilia and her four little sisters have one rule: cinco hermanitas, together forever. The summer a swarm of butterflies takes over their town of Eagle Pass, Texas, the sisters spend their days at a secluded swimming hole fed from the Rio Grande. When they find a body in their hidden sanctuary, instead of calling the authorities, the sisters are determined to return him to his family in Mexico. But their journey will be anything but easy, for wicked creatures seek to ensnare them and the Garza sisters will need to be brave and faithful to one another if they wish to ever return home.

“It was a magical time, full of dreaminess and charm, a time to watch the mariposas emerge out of their cocoons, gather their courage, and take flight while we floated faceup in the water. And that’s exactly what we were doing the morning the body of a dead man drifted into our swimming haven.”

Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas combines elements from Homer’s The Odyssey and Mexican folklore in this epic tale of five sisters discovering what it means to be a family. One of my favorite elements about this novel is the relationship between the Garza sisters. With ages ranging from ten to fifteen, these five sisters have grown up as each other’s constant companions. The memory of their father, who abandoned their family a year earlier, still lingers, while some hold on to their anger, others cannot help but hope for his return. Largely left on their own while their mother works, the sisters feel that they only have each other to rely on. Odilia, as the eldest sister, straddles that line between being a sister as well as the one trying to be the voice of authority, which isn’t easy with four sisters who also think they know what’s best. I enjoyed Juanita, the second oldest, also known as a know-it-all as well as little Pita, but I struggled to really distinguish between the twins Velia and Delia.

Mexican folklore is not something I often come across in literature, so reading about these different myths provided a refreshing change of pace. The tale of La Llorona, or the “Weeping Woman”, plays a prominent role in this novel. While most stories surrounding this apparition has her playing a kind of “bogeyman”, Summer of the Mariposas presents her as a more tragic figure and a guide to the sisters on their journey. Also making an appearance are witches, psychics and the legendary animal known throughout Latin America as the chupacabras. Although the Garza sisters undergo various trials, I was kind of hoping they would feel a little more perilous. At times, their ordeals felt a little anticlimactic because I was expecting their foes to be much more wicked than they turned out to be and the tone of the novel to be much darker as a result.

Overall, I enjoyed Summer of the Mariposas, especially the personal journey the sisters experience, how they learn to appreciate one another and the parent they do have rather than dwelling on the one that left them.

Rating: 3/5

★★★