Evelyn Gonzalez keeps losing people, which is always hard, but has she lost something much more? Has she lost her soul? Evelyn has a nervous breakdown and is institutionalized, after months of sorrow and pain she is thrust back into the world. The world of teenage angst and Calculus. But can she trust people again? Especially after hurtful assumptions and judgments made her miss her junior year of high school. Evelyn is just trying to heal what she lost and graduate from high school.
She walks back into the room and sits down. “Sit por favor.”
I sit down, mildly freaking out about what’s happening. I pat down my mousy hair puff, so I look more presentable and put together.
“I am sure you may have guessed what I do, sí?”
“Oh not really. I mean you’re a curandera, I know that, but I don’t really know much else.”
“Ah I see. Well I am a healer. I practice an art I learned long ago from my mother,” she says, mixing ingredients together.
“Okay,” I tell her, unsure of what to say.
“I don’t want to burden you, but you must know this,” she clasps her hands together—never a good sign.
“You are lost.”
“Huh?” I ask confused.
“I sense you have lost something precious, yourself.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. How can I lose myself, I’m right here,” I point to myself for the desired effect.
“One can lose thyself, and have their shell remain. It is what we call Susto.”
Evelyn has problems with people tearing her down for her heritage and appearance. At the core, she has always been a strong person but everyone has their limits. This is a journey of self-discovery after several close losses that are revealed in flashbacks and thoughts throughout the book.
Evelyn has an amazing support person in her sister Olive...simply amazing. Evelyn is also blessed by new support-a charismatic young man named Matt, a hard-for-Evey-to-figure-out boy named Brody and a compassionate employer. Though she has people who want to help, Evelyn must look within herself to figure out how she is going to deal with "the shadow of loss."
My rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars.
---I identified with Evelyn in many, many ways. One of the things is multiple losses. I did not "get over" these losses as people like to so callously phrase the healing process but I did heal through time, effort and choice.
---My mind is wandering through both a mental prequel and sequel to this book...pondering the parental relationships prior to loss and what the future might look like for Evey.
My family and childhood is the foundation for a lot of my stories. My family is very culturally diverse and alternative, and on top of that, I stood out to a lot of people because I’m different. I relate to Evelyn going through all the changes, while trying to find her identity. I wanted to tell a story with a ray of light in all the madness, a short blurb in the minds of youth.
I see that you are working on a Masters in Bilingual and Bicultural Studies. Congratulations on a lot of hard work! What resources and advice would you point out to those trying to learn a foreign language?
Thank you! If you really want to learn a language, dive into the culture and community don’t be interested in the superficial aspects, move to an area where you are forced to interact and be involved. I wish I had more advice than that, my experience is more with learning English as a second language than other foreign languages. My son is learning Chinese at the moment, it kind of just happened, there are so many outlets now on the internet, but if it’s not a natural progression then it won’t stick in the mind. Rote memorization is NOT the key to learning languages, I know how the school system works with their textbooks and repetition.
It would seem you either speak a great deal of or are fluent in English, German and Spanish? Were any of these a second language and, if so, what was the learning process like for you?
Oh no, I’m fluent in English, and dabble in various languages. Fluency covers all three areas and I have yet to access the last one. I grew up with Spanish and English. Growing up in San Antonio, gave me a wider awareness of languages and its importance for people. Languages are more challenging to learn as I get older, while not impossible, they are harder to work towards than other skills. Communication and visuals are how I learned the best.
In real life, what is the most beautiful thing you have seen someone do to memorialize a loved one?
I haven’t had the pleasure of encountering such a beautiful thing yet, I hope one day I will.
What is your advice to those dealing with grief?
It was hard for me, one of those TV moments where you get a call and find out, then realize the last thing you said to them. It hurts in the aftermath, and it will for a long time, but it really does get better. I wrote in a journal and ate a lot of chocolate.
Please tell us about your other books-in-progress.
Right now I’m working on a New-Adult contemporary love story. It involves more than romance, it is familial love. A synopsis from my next book:
I thought my life began when I graduated high school and moved far, far away—okay three hours away. But I was wrong. My life didn’t start till it almost ended.
I’m Cristal Escobedo, twenty-two years old and a former wild child who favors tequila far too much. But that all changed when life happened, and I ended up being responsible for my younger brothers. To top it all off, I think I’m falling in love with my best friend—dammit.
This is my not-so-happy story of how I grew up and got my shit together. It isn’t filled with a bunch of pretty analogies or hyperboles. The people are real, the hurt is deep, and the love is complicated. People are flawed in the ways that matter, it’s what makes us human.