YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST READ THIS BOOK!!! Esperanza Ortega is a twelve-year-old girl, turning thirteen, and she is looking forward to her birthday. But that evening, when her father goes away in town, he doesn't come back. Sixto Ortega was attacked by bandits and killed. Not long after, the entire house catches on fire! Abuelita is injured. Hortensia, the maid; Alfonso, a campesino; her mother, Ramona; and Miguel, Hortensia and Alfonso's son, must flee to America for better work. And if Mama accepts Tio Luis's proposal, nothing will be well again! So they go to California! Esperanza meets a girl named Marta, who despises her because she misjudged Esperanza. Marta is taking part in a strike for better work conditions. She also meets Isabel, Josefina, and more people! But when a dust storm hits and mama gets sick, Esperanza doesn't know how she will cope. But she takes what she has and is determined to help. But one day when Miguel goes away, can Esperanza fix what she's messed up? This figurative language-filled book is beautifully written and based off of the real Esperanza Ortega!