Natasha read it a few years back and loved it, but it's taken me until now to actually get around to it. A pity, just because it's so good. Muñoz Ryan tells the story of a daughter of privelge among the landed gentry of Mexico, who is forced by circumstances to emigrate to California and work on a farm in the San Joachim valley during the Depression. It's a satisfying story in part because Esperanza doesn't adopt a Little Princess sort of nobility in her hardships, she is whiny and difficult and fundamentally clueless. Although she is neither strong nor smart at the beginning, she does get better. There are many issues addressed on the sides: the strikes for farm-worker rights, income and resource inequality, poverty, migration, etc., but the author never feels compelled to choose a side or pontificate, she's content to let her characters form their own opinions.