The Garden of Second Chances: A Novel
Mona Alvarado Frazier, author
Juana, a seventeen-year-old mother, is sentenced to prison for murdering her husband. She claims she’s innocent—but no one believes her, including the prison staff and a gang leader in her block who torments her. Undocumented and far from home and the people who love her, Juana has never felt more alone—or frightened. The threats she faces within prison are bad enough, but they pale in comparison to the threat coming from without: her husband’s family, bereaved and outraged at her alleged crime, is determined to take her baby from her forever. Hemmed in on all sides, Juana is desperate to stay out of trouble and somehow find her way back to her daughter. Searching for answers, she lands in an unlikely place: a patch of ground in the prison yard that she decides to turn into a garden. Digging in the soil and nurturing plants gives her respite from the harassment she suffers in her block—and surfaces memories of her long-deceased mother. Courageous and iron-willed, Juana's mamá would never, ever have given in or given up if she'd ended up in similar circumstances. Bolstered by this realization, Juana becomes determined to honor her mother's legacy by proving her innocence and getting her daughter back. She can do it—she knows it. She just has to figure out how.