Blog Tour: Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore

Thank you to Hear Our Voices for having me for this blog tour. Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. I have been a fan of both of these authors and have spent the last month and a half rereading books by both authors for the #MeteorShowerReadathon. They both create such wonderful characters, so it was no surprise that with Miss Meteor, Mejia and McLemore have created such memorable and enjoyable characters with Lita and Chicky. I hope you have the pleasure of meeting these two soon.

Title: Miss Meteor
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 22nd 2020

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from the publisher which does not influence my review.

TW: bullying, homophobia, fatphobia, transphobia, xenophobia

      “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.”

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Lita – Lita Perez isn’t like other people, technically she isn’t a person at all. She wasn’t born on earth, but materialized from stardust from a meteorite that struck her small town. Lita knows she is different and in a place like Meteor, New Mexico, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Still, she loves this town and the few people who accept her for who she is, like her adopted mother, Bruja Lupe, and Cole, the boy, who despite his popularity, always makes Lita feel seen. Her one quiet dream is to be Miss Meteor in her town’s regional pageant, even though she knows girls like her, who are too short, too brown, and too fat don’t usually win. Lita has the biggest heart. Even when she and her former best friend, Chicky, aren’t on the best terms, Lita is always thinking about her and taking that extra step to nudge her in the right direction. Lita thinks her quest to become Miss Meteor is all about finding a way to stay in the only place she’s called home when it really is about her declaring herself to the world and taking her fate into her own hands.

Chicky – Chicky Quintanilla does not like the spotlight, in fact, there are times when she wishes she could just disappear. The youngest of four sisters, Chicky, short for Chiquita, is used to being overshadowed. There aren’t too many people in her life who get to see the real her and that’s partially her own fault. If Chicky is good at anything, she’s good at running away. It’s what happened with her and her former best friend Lita. It’s what’s happening with her current best friend, Junior Cortes. It’s easier to run away than to come out as pansexual in a town that might praise her family one minute for coming to this country the “right way” but will still look at them like they aren’t worth their time. Chicky’s journey isn’t just about gaining confidence, but about learning to be vulnerable with those closest to her.

Pros and cons of small towns – Many looking from the outside would call Meteor, New Mexico a quaint place to live with such staples like Selena’s Diner, Chicky’s family’s business, or the upcoming Fiftieth-Annual Meteor Regional Pageant and Talent Competition. But the truth is, for people like Lita and Chicky, their small town isn’t always the most welcoming of places. There is a clear divide between the well-off white residents and the brown residents who work for them. There is also a lot of hypocrisy and surfaces-level acceptance of those belonging to the queer community. Cole, a trans boy, for example, knows acceptance by his peers is conditional. While he often challenges their bigoted views, he knows he is only allowed to go so far before they turn on him.

Friendship – The heart of Miss Meteor is friendship. Lita and Chicky used to be inseparable until Chicky pulled away. With Lita running for Miss Meteor and Chicky assisting her, the two find each other again. Lita needs someone to believe in her, someone who will be in her corner and push her when it feels easier to give up. For Chicky, she needs someone to listen to her and have patience with her. I love that these two become each other’s safe spaces and how they extend this to include characters like Cole and Junior.

Nothing to note.

With a little bit of magical stardust, Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore deliver an empowering story of friendship and belonging in their first collaborated work, Miss Meteor.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

(5/5)

#OwnVoices Reflection:

While reading Miss Meteor, I could not help but see myself in both Lita and Chicky. While Lita’s origins are something out of this world, her heritage is a grounding force. When she enters the Fiftieth -Annual Meteor Regional Pageant and Talent Competition, she has no idea what her talent will be. After a few mishaps, she ends up on stage making tamales for a largely non-Latinx crowd. I have been here. I was here in fourth grade, trying to explain to a room full of mostly non-Latinx classmates how to make tortillas. It is awkward sharing a part of your heritage with a room full of people who will probably never understand all the history behind these traditions. Chicky’s family is often held up as the “right” kind of immigrants, the kind that came to this country the “right” way. Reading her story and how the townsfolk treated her family reminded me of the time we were assigned to make family trees. We were instructed to ask about our family history. I will never forget that I never got the full story of one of my family member’s history of immigration because they were too afraid to share. Because in this country, not all immigrants are accepted. It’s something I understood early on and something that unfortunately continues to be true.

I can’t tell you what it means to me to see these two Mexican-American authors finding success. Anna-Marie McLemore was one of the first authors I came across in YA who wrote about characters with family histories like mine. Tehlor Kay Mejia’s debut We Set the Dark on Fire was one of the first fantasy books I read with Latinx characters. We don’t see a lot of these books, but I am hopeful that publishing has taken notice of the love so many readers have for the ones we do have. And hopefully, Miss Meteor will not be the last time these two collaborate.

About the Author:

      TEHLOR KAY MEJIA is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE, as well as several forthcoming young adult and middle grade novels (WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM – Katherine Tegen Books, MISS METEOR (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore) – HarperTeen, PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE RIVER OF TEARS + PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE FOREST OF NIGHTMARES – Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion).
      Her debut novel received six starred reviews, and was chosen as an Indie’s Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an Indiebound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It was featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books of 2019 lists, as well as being a book of the year selection by Kirkus and School Library Journal.
      Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, two very small dogs, and several rescued houseplants.

Follow Tehlor Kay Mejia: Website, Twitter, Instagram

About the Author:

¡Bienvenidos! I’m Anna-Marie, author of fairy tales that are as queer, Latinx, and nonbinary as I am. My books include THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist; 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, School Library Journal, and Booklist best book of 2017; BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Books Review Editors’ Choice; DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a Winter 2020 Indie Next List selection; and the forthcoming THE MIRROR SEASON.

Follow Anna-Marie McLemore: Website & Twitter

Click here to preorder Miss Meteor today!

Blog Tour: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez [Snapshot ARC Review]

Thank you, Algonquin Young Readers, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour for Yamile Saied Méndez’s YA debut, Furia. I was in awe of Camila’s spirit and her unwavering determination. I hope you all have a chance to meet Camila and be inspired by her the way I was.

Title: Furia
Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 15th 2020

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher which does not influence my review**

TW: domestic abuse, child abuse, animal abuse, homophobia, femicide

      “An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.
    In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
      At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
      On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
      But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.”

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Camila – Camila is very aware of how society sees girls and women. She understands that she will always be undervalued, more of a burden to her family than an asset. It’s why she has kept her fútbol playing a secret. But there is a fire deep inside her that won’t let her let go of her dreams of playing professionally. When she becomes La Furia on the field, she feels unstoppable, a contrast to how she feels in the real world. Whether it’s keeping secrets from those closest to her or holding her tongue when she wants to lash out at her domineering father, the fútbol field is the only place that she feels where she can be entirely herself.

Argentine Setting – I love reading about the Latinx diaspora in the US, but am so glad to see a Latinx story take place in Latin America. Yamile Saied Méndez transports readers to Camila’s city of Rosario. Camila is very aware of the beauty of her city and her people, but she is also conscious of the ugly parts as well. I appreciated the honesty in Camila’s POV, who doesn’t romanticize her home, but who also very much loves it. Camila is also biracial, her heritage includes Afro-Latinx and Palestinian grandparents. This is personally the first time I’ve seen an Arab-Latinx character in a YA book which is something I would like to see more of.

Female sports – I would love to see more books that focus on girls in sports. We know female sports are not given the same kind of reverence as men’s sports. Camila has to jump through so many hurdles before she is taken seriously. Various players on her team are forced to leave for reasons that have nothing to do with their hard work and talent and everything to do with misogyny. The only way for someone like Camila to succeed is if she does not waver in her faith in herself. And even then, the odds are always stacked against her.

Discussions of feminism and femicide – Ni Una Menos, a Latin-American feminist movement is part of the backdrop of Camila’s world. Furia also touches on femicide and domestic violence as symptoms of a patriarchal society who views girls and women as expendable.

Camila and her mother – When Furia first opens, Camila’s mother is just as much a hurdle toward her dreams as her father. Camila does not want to get stuck in the same situation as her mother, who had to put away any childhood dreams she may have had and be tied down to a man who does not love her. Both Camila and her mother have to learn to see each other differently before they are able to have any kind of positive relationship.

Nothing to note.

Yamile Saied Méndez’s Furia is as fierce as its title suggests with a protagonist who is unwavering in her ambition. Despite the many people telling her she can’t, she proves again and again that she can.

★ ★ ★ ★

(4/5)



About the Author:
      Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine American who loves meteor showers, summer, astrology, and pizza. She lives in Utah with her Puerto Rican husband and their five kids, two adorable dogs, and one majestic cat. An inaugural Walter Dean Myers Grant recipient, she’s a graduate of Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Méndez is also part of Las Musas, the first collective of women and nonbinary Latinx middle grade and young adult authors. Furia is her first novel for young adult readers.

Follow Yamile: Website, Twitter, Instagram

Click here to order your copy of Furia now!

Talk Chisme to Me: 2020 Latinx Heritage Month TBR

I am so excited about this year’s Latinx Heritage Month. I have a series of posts that will go up every week in celebration. I will also be participating in three different readathons/readalongs throughout the month which I will be talking about below. If you are able, please consider joining us as we celebrate Latinx voices all month long. And as always, please support books by Latinx authors once LHM ends.

Find my annual Twitter giveaway for Latinx Heritage Month here!!!

For Latinx Heritage Month, please consider donating to the Haitian Bridge Alliance, the Black Latina Girls and Women Fund, and the Undocumented Indigenous Fund

Latinx Book Club:

The Latinx Book Club is partnering again with Latinx-a-thon and Latinx Book Bingo for #LatinxLitTakeover. We will all be reading By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery for Latinx Heritage Month. You can find the Latinx Book Club on Twitter here and our Goodreads discussion group here. Graphic is linked to Goodreads.

Latinx Book Bingo TBR:

I am also participating in Latinx Book Bingo again this year. You can find their Twitter account here. I have sixteen books ready for this readathon which takes place September 15th-October 15th. I know I won’t get to them all, but a girl can dream.

Afro-Latinx: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

Lighthearted Story: This Train Is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams

Set in/MC from Latin America: Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Any Book by a Latinx Author: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Backlist Title: Color Me In by Natasha Diaz

Recommended By a Latinx Reader: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz (recommended to me by Gabi @ Gabi’s Book Reviews)

Nonfiction: Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas by Roberto Lovato

On Cover Rep: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Never Before Read Latinx Author: Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Cover with Latinx Flag Colors: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Award-Winning: Cenzontle by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Group Book: By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery

2020 Release: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Queer Rep: Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Immigrant Story: We Are Not From Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Intersectional MC: We Unleash the Merciless Storm by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Latinx-A-Thon TBR:

I will also be participating in Latinx-a-thon which takes place September 15th-24th. You can find them on Twitter here. Here is a list of prompts for this year including the books I will be reading for them.

  1. VOICES – Read a book written by an Indigenous and/or a Black Latinx author: Tight by Torry Maldonado
  2. LATINIDAD – Read a book written by an intersectional Latinx author (gender, sexuality, ability, etc.): Cenzontle by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo
  3. ROOTS – Read a translated book or a book prominently featuring more than one language (i.e. with a bilingual MC): Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
  4. HERITAGE – Read a book written by an author from a non-Spanish speaking Latin American country/heritage (i.e. Brazil or Haiti): Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
  5. #LATINXLITTAKEOVER – Group book: By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery
  6. BONUS: Read books from authors of different heritages.

Latinx Heritage Month Book Fest

Not a readathon, but the Latinx Heritage Month Book Fest, organized by Paola @Guerrerawr is happening this month and I am so excited to check out all the panels. Check out this thread here for a list of all the author and reader panels happening. There are also Instagram and Blog/BookTube challenges, so be sure to check out the book fest’s IG here for all the info. And one more thing…

The Latinx Book Club will be participating in the final panel for the book fest! I am very excited for this, so I hope you all join us October 11th at 5pm est on Jocelyn’s YT channel here.

Will you be joining any of these readathons/readalongs this year for Latinx Heritage Month? Which book by a Latinx authors are you hoping to get to soon?

Monthly Wrap-Up: August ’20

I was determined to come back to blogging on a more regular basis in August and I only kind of succeeded. I am currently working on all my posts for Latinx Heritage Month and might end up taking another break afterwards. This month I participated in #ARCAugust and did better than I thought I would. I still have a couple I need to get to over the next couple of weeks, but I am feeling confident. In total I read nine books this month which I have not done in forever. Several of these were rereads for the #MeteorShowerReadathon and can I just say how soothing it was to pick up so many rereads? On a very personal note, I might not reply to comments for the next couple of days. Today marks one year since my brother passed and I might need a couple days away. Thank you for your understanding.

Keep yourself up to date with what is happening worldwide, check out the carrd here.

(Book covers below are linked to my reviews, unless otherwise specified.) 

Favorite Book This Month:

Y’all, this book. Y’all, this book was everything. I am so in love with Aiden Thomas’s Cemetery Boys. You ever start a book and just know right away it’s going to end up being a favorite? I loved the characters in this one, the setting, and the magical system. Click on the cover to read my review. Buy it. Check it out from your library. You won’t regret it.

Least Favorite Book This Month:

No book received lower than three stars from me.

Reviews Posted This Month:

Read, Review Coming Soon:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

Also, I am giving away an ARC of Furia on Twitter. Today is the last day to enter. If you are interested, you can find my tweet here. US only.

Notable Blog Posts This Month + Looking Ahead:

ARC August 2020: The TBR – I got through about half of the books on my list which I am going to count as a win considering I was also doing a lot of rereading this month.

Talk Chisme to Me: August Releases by Latinx Authors – I have been doing these monthly recaps of what books are being released by Latinx authors. This will be my last for the year as I will be doing a new and upcoming releases post for Latinx Heritage Month which will highlight books coming out through the end of 2020 and through 2021.

Book Lists: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020 – Take a look at the releases for the second half I am excited for.

Book Club/Readathon News:

Meteor Shower Readathon – I am continuing with this readathon. This week we are reading Anna-Marie McLemore’s latest novel, Dark and Deepest Red, and then we will be tackling Tehlor Kay Mejia’s novels. Check out our Twitter account here for all the details.

Latinx Book Club – The Latinx Book Club will be reading By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery for the upcoming Latinx Heritage Month. Get your hands on a copy so you can join us on the 15th! Find us on Twitter here and on Goodreads here.

What I Watched/Am Watching:

Lovecraft Country – I am an episode behind on this but I am absolutely loving this new series. It’s weird and eerie and is exactly what I am craving right now.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay – I finally finished The King: Eternal Monarch and have moved on to It’s Okay Not to Be Okay. I am only like two episodes in but oh my gosh, I can already tell it’s going to be so addicting.

September Releases I’m Excited For:

Are you excited for Latinx Heritage Month? What’s your most anticipated release for the second half of 2020? Let me hear from you in the comments and feel free to leave me a link to your own wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to visit!