Happy Latinx Heritage Month! I’m super excited to present my review for Miss Meteor as a part of the blog tour hosted by Karina @ Afire Pages. In a separate post I’ll be doing a playlist and book recommendations inspired by the book, so stay tuned after the review.
Title: Miss Meteor
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore
Publishing Date: Sept. 22nd 2020
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism
There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history. But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or why her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands. So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.
Witty and heartfelt with characters that leap off the page, Miss Meteor is acclaimed authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s first book together.
I’ve read and loved every book by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia (minus Paola Santiago which is on my TBR), so I was prepared to love this book, which is their first collaboration together, and I did.
I’m not from a small town, but the narrow-mindedness of Meteor reminded me of my own childhood spent in majority white cities at a majority white schools. Lita and Chicky’s status as misfits definitely resonated with my experiences from when I was a teen. While I was not subjected to the slurs that they were, I was made to feel lesser, like an alien for my race and my gender nonconformity. People can be cruel.
One of the things I love the most about this book is the themes woven into it. Both Lita and Chicky struggle to defend themselves and feel confident in their skin at the beginning, and as the story progresses, they grow so much. In particular, I thought it was cool that they were each able to reclaim something that had formerly been weaponized against them, taking ownership of the pain and transforming it into something affirming. The ending felt so triumphant, and I’m so proud of these two girls.
The other supporting characters, especially Junior and Cole (who is a trans boy) were also well developed and had their own journeys that were intertwined with those of Lita and Chicky. The four of them had an interesting dynamic, and I loved how friendship was at the center of the book, not only between Lita and Chicky but also between Lita and Cole and between Chicky and Junior. The intimacy between them was poignant and served as a solid basis for their respective romantic arcs, which were less about falling in love than realizing and/or articulating that they were in love.
Chicky’s sisters were so much fun and provided a lot of comedic relief in the story with their bickering and wit. As former participants and runners-up in the pageant, they served as Lita’s Fab Five (or rather Fab Three?), providing equal parts fashion consultation and moral support. You couldn’t find a better crew.
I also liked the way the setting was developed, with the tourist attractions and space theme. It gave the town a unique character while also providing context for the magical realism elements of the story. The way Lita’s starry origins and impending return to the sky/cosmos reinforced the themes about belonging and identity was poetic, to say the least. In other words, Anna-Marie McLemore’s signature style shines through in Lita’s narrative.
Last but not least, I really liked Cole’s character. He’s out and has been out for a while prior to the start of the book, so his arc isn’t about coming out or seeking validation for his gender. While he does face some trans-antagonism, his story is more about the relationship he has with his sister who is toxic and verbally abusive toward people like Lita and Chicky. He is a person with problems not unlike the problems of cis people. He’s athletic and articulate and astute. I’m sure everyone will love him.
In short, Miss Meteor is a heartfelt, triumphant coming of age story dedicated to all the people who felt like they don’t/didn’t belong.
About the Authors:
Tehlor Kay Mejia is a YA author and poet at home in the wild woods and alpine meadows of Southern Oregon. When she’s not writing, you can find her plucking at her guitar, stealing rosemary sprigs from overgrown gardens, or trying to make the perfect vegan tamale. She is active in the Latinx lit community, and passionate about representation for marginalized teens in media. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @tehlorkay.
Her short fiction appears in the ALL OUT and TOIL & TROUBLE anthologies from Harlequin Teen. Her debut YA fantasy, WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, is out 2/26/2019 from Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins, with a sequel to follow. Her debut middle grade, PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE DROWNED PALACE, releases from Disney-Hyperion/Rick Riordan Presents in 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. METEOR, co-written with Anna-Marie McLemore, is out fall 2020 from HarperTeen.
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonewall Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; and DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of The Red Shoes based on true medieval events. THE MIRROR SEASON, a story about two teen sexual assault survivors, is forthcoming in spring 2021.
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Check out the other tour stops:
Afire Pages | Favorite Quotes