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Summer of the Mariposas Hardcover – October 1, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

After Odilia, 16, and her four younger sisters find a body floating in the river, they drive across the Mexican border to return the drowned man home. Their real mission, though, is to get to Abuelita’s house and find their father, who abandoned Mamá and his daughters a year earlier. In true mythic style, the girls encounter heroes and monsters on their perilous, sometimes gruesome journey, including attacks by a coven of winged witches and creatures from Mexican folklore. After falling under the enchantment of an evil sorceress and an ancient fortune-teller, they are saved by Llorona, who looks monstrous but is the protector of the Azteca people and shows the five sisters their way. Just as compelling as the vivid fantasy is the realism, especially the standoffs and reconciliations among the caring sisters, and the final shocking truth about their father and themselves is far from a sweet resolution. Readers will be drawn by the contemporary family drama and the magic, and they’ll appreciate the author’s note that discusses the story’s roots in Mexican folklore and The Odyssey. Grades 7-12. --Hazel Rochman

About the Author

GUADALUPE GARCIA McCALL was born in Mexico and moved to Texas as a young girl, keeping close ties with family on both sides of the border. Trained in Theater Arts and English, she now teaches English/Language Arts at a junior high school. Her poems for adults have appeared in more than twenty literary journals. McCall lives with her husband and their three sons in the San Antonio, Texas, area.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Tu Books (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600609007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600609008
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Regina on December 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved Ms. McCall's first novel [book:Under the Mesquite|8423931]. I loved it so much that I repeatedly pushed it on the librarians in my town and now it is on the recommended reading list for 8th graders. I do not claim to have influenced the book being listed .... but I'd like to think my passion for the book had *some* influence. Summer of the Mariposas is different from [book:Under the Mesquite|8423931] but the same. Both novels center on the relationship between sisters. Both stories involve a Mexican immgrant family living in Texas but very comfortable moving between Mexico and Texas. And in both novels, the familial relationship are intensely important.

Summer of the Mariposas, however, is a novel that is definitely written for a middle grade to younger young adult reading audience. Adults and older teens will enjoy this book, but it is clear the audience is younger. The novel beautifully blends Texas border culture with northern Mexican culture. Interwoven in the story is a very latino style magical realism heavily rooted in Mexican mythology. What Ms. McCall has done is take traditional evil or negative Mexican images and myths and co-opted them and redefined them. I love that.

The eldest sister of a 5 sister sibling group, must keep her sisters together, protect them from evil mythological villains, call on the help of ancient goddesses, and reunite her family. This is a great adventure tale for and about young teenaged girls. Mix in Mexican cultural references (fully defined with a glossary), references (a lot!) to Mexican food, and the positive portrayal of characters not often in young adult and middle age books and what results is a truly unique novel.
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Format: Hardcover
While browsing Netgalley, I saw this book and thought the cover was pretty. I didn't look too closely at it but was happy to discover that it featured butterflies (hence the title Mariposa) as well as a group of sisters, five to be exact. My weakness for sister relationships in book is well-documented so I sat back to enjoy the ride.

However all was not smooth sailing as I found the eldest sister Odilia pleasant enough but her four younger sisters were brats. Really all five were annoying with their disregard for the pressure their mother was under after their father ran off and the tough situation they were in. But the five must band together when the middle three decide to deliver the dead body they find in a river back to his family in Mexico. This dead body reminded me very strongly of "Stand By Me" which I watched not too long ago. Then things took a turn for the weird with the spirit of Llorana, a woman who haunts the riverbanks seeking her dead children. She bestows a special blessing on Odilia.

The situation gets weirder as they encounter malevolent spirits throughout their journey. As I picked up the story expecting a contemporary, I was very confused. About halfway through, I started looking through goodreads reviews to discover that this was an Odyssey retelling. This caused a lightbulb to go on in my head and helped the story make a lot more sense to me. A cool addition is the Aztec mythology-something I knew nothing about but was cool to learn about.

I did feel like the book was a little uneven in terms of how engaged I was with the plot and some of the turns felt very simplistic. This might be a better read for younger readers who might be better able to sympathize with the sisters while I was very much on the mother's team.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really loved this book. It taught me a few Spanish phrases and kept me excited throughout. The sisters are interesting characters as well as the other beings that really keep the story moving. I liked the connections to the Odyssey. I am in college and had to read this for one of my classes in a group and our feelings were mixed, but the book is worth reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After a while, I just couldn't take this book seriously, but that actually made me like it. I wasn't too familiar with the mythological characters that were popping up, but the plot kept getting more and more ridiculous to the point where I was laughing. It was a fun read!
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Format: Hardcover
Do you ever suffer from the astonishingly self-centered delusion that an author has written a book for YOU? I do. And, yes, I suffered from this particular delusion while reading Summer of the Mariposas. This book had a calming effect on me; I'm at a loss to explain it in terms other than ones of mythic symbolism. Symbols work their way into the subconscious in a way that advice manuals never quite can. This book contains the mythic symbolism of Mexico in a classic hero's journey. While it is, on the surface, the tale of five sisters who leave their mother and home in order to have an adventure, it's more deeply a soul journey. It may be a YA adventure, but it shakes me up at the level of who I am at core--a mother who has nearly grown children. And as a mother of four, I recognize the children's behavior as true. One minute they're squabbling like stubborn toddlers; the next, they're mature and acting well above their years. The plotting, the pacing, the language--all of that is well done. I love the food descriptions and the setting details.

I'm not sure exactly how the synergy happens between an author and her reading audience, but it certainly happened here. I love the SW. I love Mexico. I love Spanish. I love myths. Bring all of that together into a journey that my soul needs to take, and I fall in love. Thank you, Guadalupe Garcia McCall. It will probably be far too long before I encounter another book that resonates with me as this one does.
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