Under the Mesquite is a 224-page moving free-verse, coming of age novel told in the first person by Lupita, a teen with a large Mexican American family living in small-town Texas. In her first year of high school Lupita learns that her beloved Mother has cancer. So the teen bravely takes care of her seven younger siblings as she retains her love of words and writing poetry. Mother was an amazing gardener and draws strength from her flowers planted in the yard near the little mesquite tree. The story takes readers back in time to where Lupita grew up in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico as she visits family members. The story also deals with everyday experiences of a typical high school student in America. Lupita's love of drama and writing find an outlet as her Drama teacher advises and encourages her work. While father works construction and has to use the family savings to be with his wife during intense treatment, Lupita copes at home with caring for the family and managing on a limited budget and the helpfulness of neighbours. Readers learn that Lupita's family has Aztec heritage and the author uses Spanish terms seamlessly throughout the text. A helpful pronunciation guide and glossary is included. Lupita's journey is both heart-wrenching and hopeful. Under the Mesquite is an empowering story about the testing of family bonds, the strength of a young woman navigating pain and hardship with surprising resilience, and the kind of love that cannot be uprooted. ATOS Reading Level: 5.7; Reading Level: 8.4; Lexile Measure: 990. Novel discussion questions: http://www.leeandlow.com/p/underthemesquitedq.mhtml. Author Book Talk: http://www.leeandlow.com/p/underthemesquite.mhtml.