Book Review: Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore (ARC Copy)
Title: Miss Meteor
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore
Released: September 22, 2020 (Hardcover)
Note: I have received a physical copy from Harper Collins Children’s Books in exchange for a complete and honest review.
Description: There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all of 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.
Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption you either don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.
When I first received this book, I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going to go. It’s an interesting take, to be sure, to have two Latinx (one of whom is a closeted pansexual at first) go for something that’s traditionally set for the white beauty queen. Even though this is very much a contemporary story, there is an element of magical realism that fits with its desert backdrop – especially the name of the town they’re in.
I liked the fact that this story had two points of view – Chicky and Lita. Some chapters are longer than others and, for what it is, it was fine! When you realize that this book was written by two writers, you can certainly see that in different points of view. Lita is certainly more lyrical than the more blunt Chicky and I think they work together beautifully.
As for the plot, it was really nice to have Latinx characters that weren’t complete stereotypes (although, I really loved all the Selena references and imagery used) of a culture whose othered from a town in New Mexico. It was nice to see siblings be siblings and to have a heart within the quips and teasing and harsh words. And most of all, it was finally nice to appreciate the beauty of cacti and the desert’s openness. It’s the first time I’ve actually missed the desert.
I also really enjoyed the friendship and love between Cole, Junior, and the girls because it was something that actually seemed to have built up both in the background and foreground of the story. When it all culminated in one night of rumors and fun, it really felt that I was hanging out with a group of friends. Even though Lita knew she was turning back into stardust, she still cut loose and had fun even with the other beauty pageants (that wasn’t Kendall).
I wish we could’ve gotten to know the contestants better since that one scene where Lita got drunk would’ve been nice to show how much solidarity they actually had. After all, I’m sure that Lita being the first plus-sized contestant to make it that far would’ve been amazing to see in the behind the scenes, but at the end of the day, it’s ultimately not about the Miss Meteor pageant.
It’s about Lita trying to do one grand thing before she left the earth as she’s made of stardust. It’s about Chicky admitting to herself how much she both needed Junior and Lita in her life – but how much they needed her as well.
I liked that this story had the characters acting their age – making assumptions, making mistakes, and I think it’s good that they managed to have the characters grounded in that sense.
Although, I think what took me out the most was how fast everything happened. Perhaps it’s because of how long we spent in their heads, but there were times where I felt that they would be ruminating on something and then something happened only to go back to the rumination. It’s fine if it wasn’t a bit confusing. It did take me out of the groove and I did have to read the scenes a few more times before I got it. However, it didn’t completely ruin it for me; it might be more of a personal issue. Another thing that bothered me was the slurs (homophobic, body shaming, xenophobic, etc) and I realize that is the point that these kids stand up for themselves and stick to their truths of themselves, but I also wish they ‘allowed’ Lita to be more of herself rather than the sisters’ expectations, but the ending was very touching. The culmination of all the couples getting together was especially sweet (I really enjoyed the moment between Lita and Cole the most).
Regardless, even though there are slurs, it is very much a feel-good novel that would be perfect for Latinx teenagers who are still trying to figure themselves. Granted, I’m sure Lita and Chicky still don’t know everything about themselves, but at least it’s a start and that’s the hope that today’s teens really, really need.
I gotta say, though, Fresa was my favorite sister and if I ever had an older sister, I hope she would be like her.
Posted on October 15, 2020, in ★★★★☆ – 4 Stars, Book Reviews, Book Series, Oneshots and tagged anna-marie mclemore, arc, harper collins children's books, LGBT+, miss meteor, tehlor kay mejia, young adult. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.