Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review - Tortilla Sun, by Jennifer Cervantes

What would you do if you were confronted with a mystery about your father, and your mother won’t talk about it? Izzy’s mother has always been restless. After many moves in California, they have just moved again. While unpacking, Izzy comes across her father’s old baseball with the mysterious words, "Because… Love," written on one side. The words between have been rubbed out. Her mother has never told Izzy anything about her father, except that he died before Izzy was born.

Izzy likes to write stories, although she seldom gets beyond the beginning. Now a new story is buzzing in her mind about the strange words on the baseball. Then Izzy learns she is to spend the summer with her grandmother in New Mexico, while her mother finishes research in Costa Rica.

In New Mexico, Izzy soon steps into another world. Her grandmother, Nana, is an herbalist, full pithy wisdoms. The Castillos live in part of Nana’s house. Their son, Mateo is Izzy’s age. When the two become friends, Mateo tells Izzy about Socorro, the village storyteller who sees the future, and a map that tells of hidden treasure. And often, as life unfolds in the village her mother came from, Izzy hears a mysterious whisper carried by the wind that seems to be the voice of her father.

Tortilla Sun is a beautiful story of a young girl’s search for wisdom and truth and her discovery of her culture. The book moves at a leisurely pace that gathers in momentum and mystery with a touch of magic. The characters are richly drawn and the village blossoms with life. Izzy is a sympathetic protagonist, entirely believable. To tell why the book is called Tortilla Sun would give away too much of the story, and I don’t want to be a spoiler. This is a book young people will enjoy and read more than once.

The author can be contacted at:


  1. Thanks for the great review Elizabeth and for introducing us to yet another wonderful book. The title Tortilla Sun sounds intriguing.

    Izzy looks like a great protagonist to follow.

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  3. Thanks, Samuel. Your posts look interesting too. I'm following your blog now.

  4. Rachna, it is a good book. I think one thing I love about literature for young people is that the themes are fresh and hopeful and not tired and jaded.


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