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Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

av Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

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554374,947 (3.94)Ingen/inga

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Visar 4 av 4
OH MY GOSH. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this book (UFO abductions?) but it completely blew me away.

Gilliland's novel covers a lot of heavy stuff - racism, sexual abuse, physical abuse, deportation and the death of a parent. She mixes this with quirky characters, magical realism and Latinx representation, and a wonderful, original coming of age story,

The first two thirds of the book focuses on social and relationship issues. Sia is constantly thrown into situations with the awful son of the racist sheriff who deported her mom, making for some uncomfortable and maddening scenes. She meets the new boy at school, and her friendship with him puts her at odds with her best friend Rose. (Who has her own secrets, but hasn't actually let Sia in on this.) Her grandmother has passed, but Sia constantly feels her spirit around her - her grandmother is a very feisty spirit, and these scenes were really lovely, many incorporating Mexican folklore.

The last third of the book is where the UFO part of the storyline comes in. It's definitely a change of tempo and it suddenly takes on a much more X-files tone. (There are a lot of X-files references thrown in, too.) Admittedly, this felt part of the story becomes infinitely more quirky and out there, and feels a little out of place. The ending of the UFO portion was NOT what I would have predicted at all, either, so brava to Gilliland for continually keeping me on my toes.

The story has some lovely prose, and its characters are colorful and engaging. I can't wait to see what comes next from this author! ( )
  jenncaffeinated | Jul 4, 2021 |
This book took me in a completely unexpected direction. I was expecting a tale of gradual revenge against the very angry and bigoted sheriff. Instead, it turned out to go in a far more interesting direction, one involving unbreakable family ties, lots of coming of age, Sia's having to deal with the aftermath of a traumatic boyfriend experience, evil government people and plenty of additional surprises. Saying more would give too much away. Let it be said that this is a nearly impossible to put down book by a very promising author. ( )
  sennebec | Sep 27, 2020 |
Fun diversion into YA land and cultural diversity, with aliens and traditions thrown in. Pandemic read. ( )
  bookczuk | Aug 28, 2020 |
Packed to the gills with emotional moments, action, romance, political issues, social issues, and aliens, this book doesn't leave a breath for boredom.

Sia's mother, an illegal alien living in the US since she was 6 months old, is caught by ICE and shipped back to Mexico. Unfortunately, it's not easy for her to return, and she makes a bad decision by sneaking across the border. She disappears while crossing the desert...something Sia refuses to forgive the sheriff for, but then, he isn't a caring kind of individual. Racism runs ramped in the small town, and although Sia and her father are Americans, she still needs to keep off the sheriff's radar to keep life easy. But things are about to go weird. Strange lights appear over the desert, and soon, become more and more obvious...even to Sia. But that's just the beginning.

I love the cover and blurb on this one, and was extremely excited to get my hands on it. The characters come across naturally, and especially their dialogue is well done. I enjoyed the friendship between Sia and Rose and found it inspiring, especially since things went up and down and not always perfect. Also, the father/daughter relationship as well as the one with the other relatives was loving. It was a treat to hear about the spirits and learn about Sia love for growing heritage vegetables—such a wonderful tradition! In other words, there's a nice wholesome side to counter the more racist one, which keeps hope and goodness alive in in times of darkness.

While there is much to love, there's too much to love. Within the first half of the book, I think every difficult theme or issue mentioned in the teen-literature world was touched upon. It rolls through illegal immigration, breaking up of families, loss of a mother, racism, LGBTQ, bullying, family violence, romance, sexual assault, injury of loved ones... and I'm sure I forgot a few. Unfortunately, this allowed little time to really sink into important emotions and needed care to explore these tough issues. Many were simply brushed over in a few sentences. This was especially odd when (for example) Rose comes with horrific news and is in tears...should be crushed and comforted...but instead, one sentence later forgets the incident completely to ask and poke at a romantic possibility of Sia's. Whiplash hit leaving no time for the emotions to build which would make a reader connect with the characters' situations.

The second half of the book switches gears from emotional teen moments and issues into the alien plot. Action fans will love this half, and it was my favorite section of the book. Still, it felt like two very different reads packed into one.

All in all, it's a quick read even at over 400 pages, and it does have more than a couple inspirational moments. Sia learns quite a bit as a character, and the overall messages do offer lovely hope. I wouldn't recommend it for the older end of the YA spectrum, thanks to the writing. It simply felt younger to me. Still, this won't be for every younger reader, either, since there are several triggers. There is also foul language, some light violence and more explicit moments. For the right reader, it is a book which holds many surprises and keeps the reader guessing until the end.

I received an ARC copy and found a lot to enjoy in this book. ( )
  tdrecker | Jul 8, 2020 |
Visar 4 av 4
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Raquel Vasquez Gillilandprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Castillo, Inés delBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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