Featured Review: Miss Meteor (Tehlor Kay Mejia)
About This Book:
A gorgeous and magical collaboration between two critically acclaimed, powerhouse YA authors offers a richly imagined underdog story perfect for fans of Dumplin’ and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
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 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.
*Review Contributed by Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*
Meteor, New Mexico is the site where a meteor crashed years ago. It's also the site of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant. For years only one 'type' of contestant wins-White, blonde, blue-eyed, and thin. Lita Perez wants to be the first Latina to win that title. She also has a secret. Her former best friend Chicky Quintanilla has been struggling with her own secret. Together they get together, along with the infamous Quintanilla sisters-in order to give Lita a chance at winning. She feels this will help her with another more pressing problem. Lita doesn't have much time left, until she goes back to the stars.
What worked: This is a sweet, empowering diverse tale for the underdog. I loved this enpowering story! Lita is linked to the meteor that crashed in her small town. Only Bruja Lupe, the town curandera, knows the truth. Here's where realistic magic weaves itself in this charming tale. Lita might fix what the town thinks is Miss Meteor material, but her spunk and determination show these naysayers how wrong they are.
Chicky fears her own secret of her sexual orientation will cause her family and others to be like the bullies of the town-Royce and his sister Kendra-to reject her. It's also the reason why she broke off her friendship with Lita back in middle school. Chicky at first doubts how she can help Lita, but ends up enlisting the help of her sisters. I really loved how the authors show Latino families here without the trite stereotypes. This family has a hard time with their restaurant, but the love and encouragement they show to each other is realistic. Also kuddos for the heart-felt representations of a trans character and a pansexual heroine.
Love interest Cole-the trans boy who has a soft spot for Lita and stands up for her in quiet ways is fleshed out where he shows his true strength. The chemistry between these two is there. Cole shows his affections in many quiet ways.
Junior has always been in the background. Quiet, but there for Chicky, when others throw hurtful words her way. The strength in this novel is the engaging writing, likeable heroines, and the theme of being true to yourself.
Dumplin' meets realistic magic where realizing that there is power in being true to yourself.
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