Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1741
moving story about family, love, and all the obstacles to happiness
Overall rating
Writing Style
SIA MARTINEZ AND THE MOONLIT BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is a fascinating YA contemporary/sci-fi/magical realism that follows Sia, a teenaged girl whose mother was deported a few years earlier. Sia must continue to live with her racist classmates and the memory of her mother, who had immigrated to the US when she was 6 months old, and deported to the country she never knew when ICE descended, called by the racist sheriff of their small town, who had been harassing their family for a while.

When legal mechanisms did not work, she tried to cross the border again. However, she never arrived and they did not hear from her again, with her death assumed. Sia continues to be harassed and bullied by the sheriff's awful son, but she does have her loving father and her BFF, who is also the target of racism. The book is written in vignettes with memories of Sia's mother and grandmother, as well as stories from the present, as Sia is falling in love and forging forward with her life.

The latter half of the book takes an unexpected turn with UFOs and the mother that Sia thought was dead reappearing from a crashed alien spaceship. The stories she brings and the truths she shared may seem unlikely, but they have clear parallels to current events.

What I loved: This book was absolutely captivating. The storytelling nature of the vignette style writing completely pulls the reader into Sia's life and her legacy of stories from her grandmother and mother. Despite the plot seeming a bit wild in places, Sia and her life seem so authentic, making this a magical realism story that seemlessly intertwines the unexpected with a contemporary fiction read. The book tackles some major topics in a really approachable way, including sexual assault, racism, and the treatment of immigrants and undocumented workers in the US. Although Sia's mother's story may seem fantastical, at its core, it reflects the current treatment of immigrants in a way that brings these events to the front of the reader's mind.

These themes are really important and presented in ways that really help the reader to understand the experiences as well as the present connections and decisions/options (or lack thereof). The writing is really incredible, and this story is beautifully conveyed. This is definitely a worthwhile read.

Final verdict: With important themes, authentic characters, and beautifully told vignettes, SIA MARTINEZ AND THE MOONLIT BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is a fantastic YA read. Highly recommend for fans of ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, SOMETHING IN BETWEEN, and THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR.
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