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Ghosts of El Grullo

Patricia Santana

Having left her much-loved San Diego barrio, Yolanda SahagĂșn is now living in the university dorms when a series of events--her mother dies and her father sells their home--forces her to re-examine her life. Yolanda visits her parents' hometown of El Grullo, Mexico, struggling to understand the ghosts in her life-her mother, her father, and her seemingly idyllic childhood. She fears losing herself in the disintegration of the family. For Yolanda, her father is her enemy (or so she thinks), and in the course of the novel we see him at his best and worst, and we see Yolanda at her best and worst.

This is a story of Yolanda's initiation into womanhood and about her fierce struggle to make sure her family does not dissolve. Family and sexual politics; love, death, and abandonment; the struggle to resolve a personal identity in the context of a shattered, first-generation immigrant American family--these are the hugely painful obstructions Yolanda must surmount or incorporate into her own being as she makes her life's journey.

Ghosts of El Grullo is a sequel to Santana's critically acclaimed and prize-winning Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility.


Patricia Santana is chair of the foreign languages department and professor of Spanish at Cuyamaca College, El Cajon, California. Her earlier book, Motorcycle Ride on the Sea of Tranquility (UNM Press), received the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize and was selected by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults.


"Santana's obvious talent lies in the engaging, revealing anecdotes that gracefully cross-section the Sahagun family dynamic..."


Publishers Weekly

"...refreshing...Santana's vividly descriptive novel will find a diverse readership."



" Ghosts of El Grullo offers a rich conversation between tradition and revolution in American culture."


El Paso Times

"Patricia Santana writes in one of the most beautiful narrative voices this reviewer has encountered....Read this book--for its passion, colorful setting and dialogue, and overall its sheer beauty and richness. What a phenomenal read!"


Historical Novels Review

"With the skills of a talented writer at the top of her game, Santana has written a coming-of-age story that is satisfying on every level."


Tucson Citizen

"...a nuanced, gorgeously written coming-of-age tale."


Tucson Weekly

6 x 9 in. 296 pages