Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 6 - 8Grades 5 - 10X5.716715

Lupita, a budding actor and poet in a close-knit Mexican American immigrant family, comes of age as she struggles with adult responsibilities during her mother's battle with cancer in this young adult novel in verse.

When Lupita learns Mami has cancer, she is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit family. Suddenly, being a high school student, starring in a play, and dealing with friends who don't always understand, become less important than doing whatever she can to save Mami's life.

While her father cares for Mami at an out-of-town clinic, Lupita takes charge of her seven younger siblings. As Lupita struggles to keep the family afloat, she takes refuge in the shade of a mesquite tree, where she escapes the chaos at home to write. Forced to face her limitations in the midst of overwhelming changes and losses, Lupita rediscovers her voice and finds healing in the power of words.

Told with honest emotion in evocative free verse, Lupita's journey toward hope is captured in moments that are alternately warm and poignant. Under the Mesquite is an empowering story about testing family bonds and the strength of a young woman navigating pain and hardship with surprising resilience.

Hardcover, 224 pages
Published on September 9, 2011 by Lee & Low Books
ISBN-10: 1600604293
ISBN-13: 9781600604294
21 Book Reviews
  • kkdance18
    kkdance18over 5 years44 stars
    Guadalupe Garcia McCall wrote a wonderful book called Under the Mesquite. It relates to her childhood and college life. A girl who goes through her life from elementary school to college is named Lupita. How ever, she goes through tough times from leaving her hometown to losing her mom to cancer. Then again, Lupita lived in Mexico with a beautiful sunflower garden with roses that her mom tended to. Later she had to move to texas with her family, now she is living a very different life with different schools and people. As her mom starts to get cancer she sees her papi and the rest of her family becoming less happier every second. Mami starts getting Chemotherapy and for a while over the summer her cancer was gone, but before Lupita went to highschool her cancer returned, leaving her family with less and less money for Chemo. To add, less and less time for mami’s life. Mami is at the hospital after her attack while Lupita (who is almost in college) is watching her siblings, they soon get a call from papi saying that mami is gone…… Lupita misses a year of college mourning, after a while she visits her Abuelita in mexico to see her hometown and feel back at home. Here is a couple quotes that will make you want to read this book, After Lupita is still having trouble at Abuelita’s house, ¨Abuelita nods and says, Sometimes it`s best to take things down and start all over again. It the way of the World Lupita, no use fighting it.” ´ After middle school Lupita has been having lots of fun while Mamis cancer in gone until….. “Mami had her last Chemotherapy treatment and although most of Papi's money has been spent on the hope of saving her life, Mami`s cancer has returned.¨ At Abuelita’s house Lupita learns that she should let go of her sadness, and live her life without mourning. That is what her Mami would have wanted……. Lupita goes to college the second year, and that’s the end!!!
    • meh21
      meh21over 5 years55 starsFeatured
      In Under the Mesquite, Guadalupe Garcia McCall displays the struggle of being in high school and having a mom with cancer. The setting of Under the Mesquite starts in Mexico and changes to America in school and at the hospital. The main characters are Lupita, who is the oldest child who takes care of the family while Mami is in the Hospital. Mami is loving. Under the Mesquite starts out as a typical Mexican American family. Later on though, they discover that their mom has cancer. Lupita has to take care of the family because of her mom is in the hospital and her dad is with her mom and trying to make enough money for chemotherapy. Lupita has to do all of this while dealing with the drama of being in high school and dealing with high school. The author has a very deep and descriptive writing style. “Lies a tiny tin nameplate, inexpensive and unrefined an understated grave marker for a woman who meant so much” Under the Mesquite is an amazing story that takes you through and lets you feel the joy, pain and sorrows in this family. Under the Mesquite won the Pura Belpré Award and the Best Fiction for Young Adults. Guadalupe Garcia McCall was born in mexico and lives in Texas
      • swim446945
        swim446945over 5 years
        The author by the name of Guadalupe Garcia McCall and she makes it easy for the reader to see through the eyes of a girl named Lupita who has a hard home and school life in Under the Mesquite. The main characters include Lupita, Mami, Papi and Mr. Cortez. The setting of the book is at Lupitas school, and at their homes in Mexico and Texas. It is all very serious and very intriguing with all of the conflict that happens. I like that the writing style gives you all the information about the book that you need without the lengthy paragraphs like other books. I also like how it doesn't take a long time to read. A quote in the book that represents the tone of the book is, “I don’t understand why you’re giving up on this. Where’s your gumption, your passion?” and it represents the tone of the book because there may be some lows in your life, but you have to push through them, you can’t give up, you have to push them aside to achieve something great. Under the Mesquite is a great book to read if you don’t know what to read and if you like books that aren’t too long and lengthy. I would’ve never thought that I’d love it as much as I do and I think everyone can love it if they read it. It isn’t too long or too short so it can suit everyone’s preferences with length. It also felt like I was in their house and Lupitas school, looking through her eyes and seeing and hearing everything she heard. I encourage everyone who loves plot twists and turns to read the book because there are a lot of times where those happen, but there are also a lot of times where you can guess what happens so it doesn’t get too confusing or as emotional as it could be if there wasn’t. Under the Mesquite has won many awards, 9 of them! I definitely recommend it!
        • talented05
          talented05over 5 years55 starsFeatured
          In the book Under the Mesquite the author Guadalupe Garcia McCall takes the reader into the hard life of a latino girls life of trying to speak english and her mother dying from cancer. McCall created the book based on where she was born and raised Piedras Negras Municipality, Mexico and Eagle Pass, Texas. This was McCalls first book and it was based off of her own personal experiences during the tough times in teens years in the US after immigrating to the US when she was six. Under the Mesquite , was honored with the Pura Belpre’ award, was a William C. Morris Finalist, received the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Literacy Promising Poet Award, the Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award, and was included in Kirkus Review’s Best Teen Books of 2011, and 2013 International Literacy Association’s Promising Poet Award. The multiple places in the book Under the Mesquite takes place is in lupita’s high school, her house in the United states Eagle Pass, Texas, her other house in Mexico Piedras Negras, Coahuila, and the hospital. As she makes her way back and forth from mexico to the united states she also has to make visit to the hospital for her dying mother. The main characters in the book Under the Mesquite oldest child Lupita, her mother Mami, and her father Papi. As you read through the book Under the Mesquite there are heartbreaking moments that either want to make you cry or smile. As you go through the eyes and the world of a Latina girl who goes through a hard life you will wonder how does she do it all? The author McCall writes in a way that moves your soul. You feel as if you are 15 year old Lupita being teased and called names just for trying to achieve her dreams. McCall also gives inspiring messages. “Mami’s cultivating six budding daughters and two rowdy sons: eight thriving blue roses clustered together so closely, they tremble as they cling to the withering stem of mami’s waning life”. Under the Mesquite, was an unforgettable book. It tied in the real experiences of people who immigrate to the US and gives you despair when Lupita’s close family bond with her family starts to break away piece by piece as her mother is slowly consumed by a deadly disease. It is a thrilling novel!
          • jessica11
            jessica11over 5 years55 stars
            Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of the book under the mesquite this book is about her mother illness disrupts their close family life.The main character are Lupita and her mom because Lupita is telling her life and how a big challenges in a book.The setting of the book is in the begging is in Mexico and after those few chapters their are in the united states in Texas.Under the Mesquite is about a girl named Lupita is a girl trying to life a normal life even though her family is going through rough times.I like the book writing style because it's in poem style and it makes it more easier to read it and it keeps the reader still want to read.One quote from under the mesquite is "he is not the same papi that he was before the cancer took over our lifes". In my opinion I strongly agree that you should read under the mesquite is a good book to read because it an poem boo -k nice wording and sad book i would reccomend under the mesquite.under the mesquite won an pura belpre award.
            • TRINIDADover 5 years
              I have a connection with lupita. she has alot of siblings and so do I.In one part of the book Lupita came home and she asked her mother is she could go out and play with her two friends.Her mother said no and said you want some friends i made you a lot of them.(she was really talking about her eight younger children.)That connected to me because sometimes my mother says the same thing to me sometimes.
              • MasterReaderover 5 years
                Under the Mesquite,by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, wrote a emotional story. I personally think it is a sad story and a memorable book. I understand that the author went through all these problems but that was a good book. And I think that book should be given a award to this book.
                • jermjerm
                  jermjermover 5 years33 stars
                  it was okay. the book was about a girl who`s family moved to america from mexico. the book didn´t really interest me and didn´t really have any humor and only really someones life.
                  • mackwusted
                    mackwustedover 5 years33 stars
                    Good Read! This is a good book. It has an emotional story line. It is written in the form of a poem. READ IT!!!
                    • kkdance18
                      kkdance18over 5 years44 stars
                      So good!!!! I love this book and it was awesome......