Lone Star Legend Review
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It’s nice to see that Latinas from Texas are finally getting their own brand of fiction, courtesy of author Gwendolyn Zepeda. All too often, chick lit heroines are pretty, petite, and blonde. The characters in Lone Star Legend, on the other hand, are refreshingly different—even though their stories are still fluffy and predictable.

Sandy Saavedra always dreamed of being a serious journalist. After getting her journalism degree from the University of Texas, she finally got her chance—as a writer for LatinoNow.com. But Sandy’s dream job soon turns into a nightmare. The site is sold to an entertainment conglomerate and turned into a snarky gossip blog called Nacho Papi’s Web Site. Suddenly, she’s gone from writing about serious issues to writing about vodka, parties, and celebrities’ relationships.

  
 
Soon after Sandy starts writing for Nacho Papi, though, something strange happens: she turns into a kind of online celebrity. Total strangers start recognizing her on the street and posting comments about her on the site. Suddenly, everything’s changing for Sandy. She’s stylish and popular—and she even builds up the courage to break up with her conceited grad student boyfriend, Daniel. But there’s something nagging in the back of her mind—something that, sooner or later, will come back to haunt her.

Lone Star Legend isn’t exactly full of surprises. At times, reading it feels like witnessing a car accident: you know what’s coming, but you’re completely powerless to stop it. Though Sandy is a pretty typical twenty-something, she makes some stupid mistakes—like repeatedly trashing her mom, her boss, and her boyfriend in her “anonymous” blog. Or posting videos of a family friend (one who has a lawyer for a nephew, no less) on the site without getting a signed release. The character becomes more self-absorbed as the story progresses, repeatedly hurting others—and, ultimately, herself—in order to become more popular. And while you’ll know that Sandy is still a good person at heart, she eventually turns into a pretty unpleasant character—and that makes the story difficult to read.

In fact, many of the characters in Lone Star Legend are far from likeable. From Sandy’s obnoxious co-worker, George, to her egotistical boyfriend, they’re often painfully shallow and difficult to stomach. Sandy spends a whole lot of time fuming about them (and complaining about them on her blog), but she takes way too long to do anything about it.

Fortunately, there is one character who keeps the story grounded. Sandy’s elderly friend, Tío Jaime, gives the story a touch of both heart and humor, occasionally shifting the focus away from Sandy’s hard-partying, high-fashion world and offering a simple story of love and loyalty. I only wish that there had been more of him—and less of some of the other characters.

Lone Star Legend has its heart in the right place—and Zepeda draws Tío Jaime with such warmth and affection that it’s obvious that she’s got a more thoughtful and sincere novel in her somewhere. I hope she’ll write it, too—because there’s definitely a need for more strong Latina heroines. Unfortunately, though, despite its refreshing Latina twist, the overabundance of shallow, superficial characters in Lone Star Legend makes it a disappointing read.

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