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Shame the Stars

Review
By Booklist

Pura Belpré Award winner McCall (Under the Mesquite, 2011) chooses the tumultuous borderlands of Texas and Mexico at the time of the Mexican Revolution as the setting for her latest. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this story’s lovestruck, but not quite so ill-fated, teens face opposition from their families and the growing unrest in their community. Eighteen-year-old Joaquín del Toro can think of nothing but Dulceña Villa, though a feud between their families means that the pair’s interactions are limited to secret notes and meetings. Their romance is but a framework for the violence erupting in their Texas county between Tejanos (Texans) and Anglo Rangers, who are practicing their own brand of racism-driven vigilante justice. Though the dialogue doesn’t always ring true, the historical aspects of the narrative are eye-opening. McCall infuses the little-discussed uprising in South Texas with Spanish (defined in a glossary) and primary-source newspaper clippings, and gives women a vital role in the Tejano fight for justice. A powerful story of love in the face of great odds.