Shame the Stars
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Shame the Stars is a historical romance by award-winning author Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Under the Mesquite). Set along the Texas-Mexico border during the Mexican revolution, it will open kids' eyes to a largely hidden chapter in our history. Guns and knives are used, important characters are shot, one dies, and blood and pain are sometimes mentioned but not described. Mentions of violence against the people include hangings, seizing property and evicting families, leaving bodies out in the desert. The resulting social unrest and payback-type violence are important backdrops and events. There are a few kisses, prostitutes are mentioned, and parents of a young bride fear she's marrying because she's pregnant. "Hell" and "damn" are used a few times, and one bad guy uses the slur "bean eater." The good guys try to do what's right and learn from their mistakes, and the bad guys are just plain bad. Lots of Spanish vocabulary can be learned from the glossary in the back, and the author's note explains the hope that kids will learn a lot about how to assess information in the internet age, especially as they begin to explore their own histories.
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What's the Story?
In SHAME THE STARS, 16-year-old Joaquín del Toro enjoys life on the family ranch surrounded by family and friends, especially best friend and true love Dulceña. But when violent political events surrounding the Mexican Revolution cause a rift between the young lovers' fathers, Joaquín and Dulceña become separated. Unrest in the area reaches a fever pitch, and the Texas Rangers target the family ranch for harboring Tejano rebels. Joaquín and Dulceña have to decide how they're going to confront the world they live in while at the same time figuring out how they can be together. Eventually, everyone's caught up in or victimized by the violence and turbulence of the times. Can the pair find a way forward -- and a future together?
Is It Any Good?
Historical romance fans will be captivated by this melodramatic story of love during tumultuous times. Author Guadalupe Garcia McCall ably evokes the landscape of South Texas and the lives of the Tejanos during the Mexican Revolution. But the corny, stilted dialogue and emphasis on melodrama make it read more like a soap-opera script than a novel.
Tween and teen romance fans won't mind, though, as Shame the Stars sweeps them up into the lives and events of the likeable protagonists. They'll also learn a lot about Tejano culture and history, and how events of the past continue to affect our lives today.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the events in Shame the Stars. Do you think the real events of those times still affect life there today? How?
Which journal and newspaper clippings at the beginning of each chapter are real, and which are made up? How can you tell? Why did the author include them?
Did you read the poem "Tejano" at the beginning? What do you think "shame the stars" means?
- Author: Guadalupe Garcia McCall
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Tu Books
- Publication date: September 15, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our Editors Recommend
Under the Mesquite
Latina teen faces mom's cancer in award-winning verse novel.
Bless Me, Ultima
Lyrical story of young boy questioning religion, morality.
Touching and ultimately tragic tale of young Tejano star.
For kids who love romance and Latino stories
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