Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
HarperTeen, 2020, 390 pages
Content Warnings: Homophobia, xenophobia, bullying, mentions of teen alcohol consumption
About the Author: “Tehlor Kay Mejia is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult fantasy duology WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE and WE UNLEASH THE MERCILESS STORM. Her middle grade debut, PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE RIVER OF TEARS, released from Rick Riordan Presents in 2020 with its sequel PAOLA SANTIAGO AND THE FOREST OF NIGHTMARES to come in 2021. 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 regional bestseller. It was runner up for the Neukom Institute Literary Arts Award for Speculative fiction, awarded through Dartmouth College, was featured in Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and O by Oprah Magazine’s best books of 2019 lists, and was a book of the year selection by Kirkus and School Library Journal. Tehlor lives in Oregon where she grows heirloom corn and continues her quest to perfect the vegan tamale.” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)
About the Author: “Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) writes magical realism and fairy tales that are as queer, Latinx, and nonbinary as they are. Their 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 and was the winner of the James Tiptree Jr. Award; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Booklist best book of 2017; BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice; MISS METEOR (co-authored with Tehlor Kay Mejia); DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a Winter 2020 Indie Next List selection; and the forthcoming THE MIRROR SEASON” (Bio taken from the author’s website.)
In Meteor, New Mexico, everyone knows the story of how a meteor fell from the sky and defined their town—what they don’t know is that something came with it. Secretly, Estrellita “Lita” Perez is not just a girl, but a girl made of star-stuff from outer space. Along with her ex-best friend, Chiquita “Chicky” Quintanilla, who has a secret of her own, the girls band together to not only enter the local Miss Meteor beauty pageant, but to win it. Miss Meteor chronicles their journey towards victory as they face the town bullies, an all-white winners legacy, and their own self-doubts, but discover that self-love and acceptance are the truest form of triumph.
The combined efforts of authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia in Miss Meteor are fabulous. Their writing blends so masterfully together that I couldn’t tell where one author’s writing began and the other ended. This story is truly one of my all-time favorites. The descriptive writing is so lovely and the characters are heartfelt. The authors include wonderful pansexual and trans representation, and I appreciate both dearly (Cole is an absolute cinnamon roll). When it comes to Chicky and Lita as protagonists, all I have to say is that I wish I was as brave, proud and whimsical as them at fifteen years old. They made me feel seen and inspired all at the same time. Miss Meteor is the story I never knew I needed, full of sibling shenanigans, romance, and Selena references! This funny, queer Latinx story is one I so desperately want to see on the big screen.
PRR Writer, Jackie Balbastro