Title: Miss Meteor
Authors: Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: September 22nd 2020
Content warnings: Bullying, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, xenophobia
Disclaimer: I was given a free e-arc from the publisher through Hear Our Voices in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review. All opinions are my own.
“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.” – Goodreads
What I Liked
☄️ Lita: Lita was such a refreshing character to read about. She is unapologetic about who she is in all of her quirkiness, even if that means people making fun of her or ignoring her altogether. Despite how people treat her, she never ceases to be kind and caring. I also liked how her body image as a plus-size girl is not a big point of issue. She does mention how it affects how people see her, but it isn’t something she is super focused on. Proud plus-size girl rep is so wonderful and reading about her experience in the Miss Meteor pageant was a lot of fun.
☄️ Chicky: I really identified with Chicky, which is probably why she ended up being one of my favorite characters. Despite the fact that so many people in her small town are so dismissive of her, and even though she isolates herself, she remains as much of herself as she feels she can be. I enjoyed seeing her development as she goes from someone who runs away from others to keep herself protected to someone who is proud of who she is, especially in regard to her pansexuality, and is willing to stand up for herself and those she loves.
☄️ Cole: I found Cole to be such an interesting character. He is a trans boy with a sister who is a bully to all those who are different from her, with the exception of her brother. Despite homophobic comments she makes to others like Chicky, she usually avoids making any comments to allude to her brother’s trans identity. This ends up being more of a way to try to hide Cole’s identity than being respectful of him. Cole is the darling of Meteor, which she wants to protect. The town’s support of him is conditional on him not being “too out there” with his identity and continuing to be their sports star, and he knows this.
He is initially not very outspoken about how awful his sister and friends are, but as the story goes on, we begin to see him make comments that make people question the things that they say and the way that they act. It’s unfortunate that he has to constantly educate and correct people, but I truly appreciated him as a character and the perspective he brought to the story.
☄️ The sister relationships: I personally don’t have any sisters, so I always love reading about sister relationships. Their banter was so much fun and I found myself laughing at their interactions many times throughout the book.
☄️ The friendships: I loved all of the friendships in this story, specifically that of Chicky and Lita. Despite the time that has passed since they stopped being best friends, they have always longed for one another’s friendship. They are exactly what the other needs and they each provide a safe space to reveal who they are. Not only do they uphold one another, but they come to extend that to both Cole and Junior as well.
What I Didn’t Like
There was honestly nothing that I didn’t particularly like about this book. I wasn’t aware that it included magical realism elements until I started the book, but I don’t think that took anything away from my experience (since I haven’t had a great track record with magical realism in books). Obviously, it should just be a given to me now that any book by Anna-Marie McLemore will have magical realism in it…and I will still continue to read anything they release.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
“In a town this small, for girls like us, survival is based mostly on how well you can camouflage, not on dredging up the bloodred and sunshine yellow of your secrets and splattering them across your chest.”
“For instance, probably a third of our town’s five-thousand residents are Latinx- but Meteor ‘doesn’t care if we’re purple’, so long as we’re not too loud about it.”
“Fresa taps my upper lip and glances at Uva Quintanilla. ‘Depilatory or cream bleach?’ ‘Fresa!’ Cereza shouts. ‘It’s nothing to be ashamed of,’ Uva says. ‘We all have to do it. With the many blessings of being who we are come a few curses.'” (*Shudder* I identified with this so much…oh how I have struggled with my Mexican mustache 😄)
“Then we’re off in the night air, the stars thick above us. They’re distant as dreams and close as relatives. They’re as much mine as I am theirs. They’re mirrors of my body and heart.”
“Because I am a girl worth the space I take up. I am a girl this world, this town, and most of all, the people who love me, will not let go of.”
As part of the Hear Our Voices tour, I put together a playlist for the book. I basically just chose the songs based on the feel of them. I pictured Miss Meteor sort of like a movie and picked songs I felt would fit into very cinematic representations of general scenes. For example, “Toyota Man” while the Quintanilla family works in their diner (the lyrics are also on point), “Mujer Latina” as a song playing as the sisters get Lita ready for the pageant, “Queen of the Rodeo” as the song that plays during the dance scene, and “Shining Light” as the end credits.
- “Toyota Man” by Neon Indian
- “Mujer Latina” by Thalía
- “Como La Flor” by Selena
- “Beautiful Dreamers” by Grant-Lee Phillips
- “Friends” by Los Retros
- “Siempre Tú” by Enjambre
- “Made To Last” by Semisonic
- “High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves
- “Queen of the Rodeo” by Orville Peck
- “Shining Light” by Ash
About The Authors
Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy novel We Set the Dark on Fire as well as its sequel, We Unleash the Merciless Storm; Miss Meteor (co-written with National Book Award nominee Anna-Marie McLemore); and her middle grade debut, Paola Santiago and the River of Tears.
Her debut novel received six starred reviews and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick and a Junior Library Guild selection, as well as being an IndieBound bestseller in the Pacific Northwest region. It has been featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O The Oprah Magazine and named a best book of 2019 by Kirkus and School Library Journal.
Tehlor lives in Oregon with her daughter, two very small dogs, and several rescued houseplants.
Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. Anna-Marie is 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 and winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; Wild Beauty, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and Blanca & Roja, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Dark and Deepest Red, a reimagining of “The Red Shoes” based on true medieval events, will be released in January 2020.
Thanks for reading! Are you interested in reading Miss Meteor (which comes out today by the way 😉)? Have you read any other books by Anna-Marie McLemore or Tehlor Kay Mejia? Let me know in the comments!