January 26, 2010

Review: Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda

Synopsis: When Sandy Saavedra lands her dream job with the popular website ¡Latino Now!, she can't wait to write hard-hitting pieces to combat all those stupid Latino stereotypes. While visions of Pulitzers dance in her head, her editor in chief is suddenly laid off, replaced by the infamous Angelica Villanueva O'Sullivan. Angelica has one mission: make ¡Latino Now! an internet phenomenon, no matter how many pandering puff pieces she has to pack onto its pages. Sandy doesn't see how she can keep this job without losing her soul, especially when she's sent to Middle-of-Nowhere Texas to investigate the dumbest legend her people ever created, the Chupacabra. She fears she's about to fail an assignment-and lose her job-until she meets Tío Jaime, a grandfatherly hermit who might be crazy, or might be the best thing that ever happened to Sandy's career.

As a blogger, Lone Star Legend appealed to me from the get go. What blogger wouldn’t want to read about a fictional blogger who made it to the “big time” of working as a reporter on an internet gossip site? This storyline alone would have been enough, in my opinion , to make the book an enjoyable read. Lone Star Legend, however, surpassed my expectations and I found it hard to put the book down.

Heroine Sandy Saavedra, otherwise known as “Sandy S.” to her internet audience is witty, ambitious and, deep down, cursed with a conscience that conflicts with her job at Nacho Papi. She is also a secret blogger, writing about her personal life, using her screen name as a pseudonym. While Sandy yearns for success as a writer, hoping that her internet job will lead her to greener pastures, she doesn’t expect the overnight celebrity that comes with it - - exposing her and her academic boyfriend to the spotlight.

Sandy has a strained relationship with her mother and a disjointed one with her father. Such flaws make Sandy more human, as does her relationship with Tio Jaime - - her late great aunt’s neighbor and the kind old man who brings clarity to Sandy’s life.

As likable and down to earth as Sandy was, Tio Jaime was my favorite character in the book. His warm grandfatherly figure was as comforting as a bowl of chiciken noodle soup and his no nonsense advice made me wish I could drive out to Texas to spend a pleasant afternoon with him and his dog over a glass of lemonade.

Ms. Zepeda’s writing style was light, breezy and humorous. I particularly enjoyed how every other chapter began with an entry to Sandy’s personal blog, along with the sometimes comical reader responses. Changes in Sandy’s professional and personal life are reflected in not only her blog entries but in the number and content of reader responses.

Lone Star Legend gives an interesting spotlight to Texas and the Latino community, not only through Sandy’s voice but also through Tio Jaime’s, her great aunt Linda’s through a journal and even the Nacho Papi website, where the focus is on Latino celebrities.

While the ending may have been a bit predictable or even pat, it was justly satisfying, sprinkled with a bit of romance and leaving me content with Sandy’s fate.

Overall, I would recommend Lone Star Legend to anyone looking for a fun, entertaining read. Lone Star Legend may not change your life but it is a pleasant diversion.

Lone Star Legend can be purchased at major booksellers, as well as author Gwendolyn Zepeda's website.  Ms. Zepeda's blog is here.  Please visit Ms. Zepeda's Facebook page and Twitter page.

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

1 comment:

Tales of Whimsy said...

This sounds RIGHT up my alley.
I have a cousin who was raised in Texas and her grandmother use to scare her with stories of Chupacabra.
I'm off to add this to my list. Thank you :)