I received this book for free from Lee & Low/Tu Books, Multicultural Children’s Book Day in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Published by Lee & Low/Tu Books on September 15, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Lee & Low/Tu Books, Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Reading Challenges: Alphabet Challenge, Beat The Backlist, For The Love Of Ebooks, Netgalley Edelweiss, Review Writing
Buy on Amazon
In a companion novel to her critically acclaimed Shame the Stars, Guadalupe Garcia McCall tackles the hidden history of the United States and its first mass deportation event that swept up hundreds of thousands of Mexican American citizens during the Great Depression.
Content/Trigger Warnings for: Racism and racial slurs, Kidnapping and abduction, Abuse, Violence.
I hardly ever read historical fiction. There’s no real reason why just that it is not a genre that I personally find myself picking up. When it came time to pick a book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, I wanted to read All The Stars Denied. Why?
Well for starters, it is really hard to find books with Mexican Americans main characters in them. I also felt like I needed to read this because it felt like I could connect to the story in many ways. And third of all, I have been dying to read a Garcia-McCall book for a long time.
All The Stars Denied was everything I was expecting and more. It is a companion novel to Garcia McCall’s novel Shame The Stars. Personally, I didn’t read Shame The Stars and I feel like I didn’t miss anything by not reading it first. This can definitely be read as a standalone.
All The Stars Denied takes place during the Great Depression. It was during a time that Mexican Americans were being deported to Mexico illegally. I personally don’t remember learning about this time in any of my classes so this was truly fascinating.
Estrella Del Toro is our fifteen-year-old main character and the story is told through her perspective. She is the oldest and most importantly to this story, she was born in the USA and had only lived in Texas. She has aspirations of being a writer much like her father and her mother. Very strong parents who taught her to fight for what she believed in raised her. That is one thing that is prevalent in the story. She goes from a regular fifteen year old to standing up for her friends and her community.
What I Liked
- The story! I loved it. Goodreads says this book is about 400 pages long and honestly it didn’t feel like it was. I was sucked in from the beginning and before I knew it the story was ending.
- I was able to connect to Estrella being a Mexican American who also lives by the southern border.
- I also loved that I learned something. Mexican American history is not taught in New Mexico and if it is, it is very brief. I never heard of these deportations. My great grandparents didn’t migrate (and by that I mean literally cross the same river that is mentioned in All The Stars Denied until about 1940).
- I also loved the brief mention of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez. I live in El Paso and have walked to Ciudad Juarez many times. Even though this story does take place in during The Great Depression. I can assure you that Juarez does have a certain smell to it. It feels completely different when you cross over from El Paso.
- I loved the fact that the story had a mix of English and Spanish. It felt authentic to me because that’s honestly how I speak and pretty much how my brain works. I flow between English and Spanish every single day. I also liked that Garcia McCall pointed out the different dialects of Spanish. When I have customers from different parts of Mexico speak to me, they tell me I speak what they call Border Spanish. And honestly I do. (also there is a glossary at the end so this can help you if you don’t speak Spanish).
What I didn’t like:
- Being that this was the very first time hearing of these injustices towards Mexican Americans. I was outrage! It also made me sad because this was during the time that at least as far as I know my great grandparents were trying to come to the US from Guadalajara. So I tried to picture my great grandma and great grandpa through this story and it was heartbreaking to say the least.
- The story features Estrella’s journal entries but because I had the eARC the formatting was weird and it was mostly blank. It made me a little sad because I felt like that definitely added a “personal” touch to the story.
All The Stars Denied was my first five star read of the year. And I highly recommend that you read it. For me, it gave me a piece of myself because I could very much relate to the characters. It also made me want to learn more about our history because I’m honestly truly ignorant when it comes to the treat of Mexican Americans throughout history. And like I said in the beginning of this review you don’t have to read the first book to read this one, this can be a standalone. I truly hope you love it as much as I did.