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Welcome to another installment of the 2013 A-Z challenge!  We’ve almost made it through the first week…woohoo!  Today for the letter E, I’ll be talking about…

Esperanza from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

I love this girl.  Esperanza lives with her family in Chicago, but her home could be any modern American city.  She’s surrounded by poverty and hardship, but she’s also surrounded by love.  There’s her mother, who sings like a performer and carries broken dreams with her; her father, who works hard and loves his family with fierce devotion; and her siblings and friends who shape Esperanza’s life.

I don’t remember the first time I read this beautiful novel, but Esperanza holds a special place in my heart.  Her narrative is one of pain, racism, and fear, but ultimately, Esperanza offers exactly what her name means…hope.

Which contemporary novels have shaped you?