Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore

Posted January 6, 2021 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments

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Miss Meteor

Miss Meteor

by Anna-Marie McLemore, Tehlor Kay Mejia

Publisher: HarperTeen on September 22, 2020
Genre: #OwnVoices, Contemporary, LGBTQIAP+, Magical Realism
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Representation: BIPOC, Latinx, LGBTQIAP+, Own Voices Author, Pansexual, Transgender
Content Warnings: Bullying, Homophobia, Racism, Transphobia, Xenophobia

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads or buy the book at Bookshop.org

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.

 

I am so glad Miss Meteor was my first full read of 2021 because I can’t think of a better type of book to start off my year.  Chicky and Lita were amazing characters – held back by secrets that are eating them up, bu each at their core kind and sweet.  I also loved Cole and Junior, and all of Chicky’s sisters.  I have nothing to criticize about this book. Absolutely nothing.

We start with a pair of estranged friends – Estrellita and Chiquita – who miss one another dreadfully, but their secrets have pulled them apart.  Both have been ostracized by their small town, which likes to think itself “tolerant” but really, they can only be expected to “forgive” so much.  Lita’s time is running out, and she wants to try for one last dream… and Chicky is done with the intolerance of one particular Miss Meteor contestant and wants to make her pay.  When their paths align, Lita and Chicky agree to work together.  And if it fixes their friendship, well, that’s okay too.

The setting of this book was resplendent.  We get a feel of the town as a location from the different sites the girls regularly visit, and of the culture from the behavior of friends, strangers, and passerbys.  Meteor(ite) is rich is sounds, smells, flavors, and sites without ever falling into overly lowly language.  The desert’s vastness is told in the site of the crater, and its intimacy from Lita’s cactus birthdays.  I loved the southwestern small town vibe.  And I loved that despite the city’s many flaws, it didn’t feel like it was attacking small towns (as books often do – small towns are either idyllic or evil) but rather using this bite-sized example to showcase problems in the greater world.

I adored the intricacy of what I thought would be, initially, a really straightforward storyline.  I liked the conversations about friendship in particular.  Lita’s loneliness was heartbreaking, more so because of the constant reassurances of her friends.  The magical realism aspects were just enough to me the story unique and intriguing, and I liked the various scattered romances.  I would love a companion novel about one of Chicky’s sisters – I thought they were wonderful characters and while I wanted to see more of them on a personal level, I think they would have overwhelmed the more introspective characters if allowed more screen time.

Other notable things in this book?  For one, the revenge plot never really stuck.  And I don’t say that in a bad way – I think at a human level, we wish ill on people when we’re angry but how many of us would really carry out those plans.  There was a moment where Chicky’s motivations seemed to shift, and I really lived that evolution.  I also appreciated that we had a trans character without deadnaming him.  I’d expect nothing less of these authors, but this is a shining example to others how to portray a trans character well (note: I am not trans, so it would be best to seek out an Own Voices review on the subject of this character/storyline, such as this one).

The rep in this book is golden – we have two Latinx protagonists, a trans character, and a pansexual protagonist.  Miss Meteor takes the time to unravel xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia on different levels – overt and subtle.  Because of the focus on these topics (which, in my opinion, was incredibly well done), this may be a difficult book for many to read.  But it’s also absolutely wonderful to see the diversity and the normalization of people who don’t fit into the mold.  I want more books like this.  I wish Miss Meteor and books like it had been available when I was a teen.

This is a really enjoyable contemporary, and it gets so many bonus points for its Own Voices points, the rep, and the handling of difficult topics.  Miss Meteor is strange and beautiful, I guess, and I highly recommend it.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★★★

5 Star Rating

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Miss Meteor Stays On The Shelf

I devoured this novel, and can definitely see myself reading it again.  It was sweet, and I loved all the characters.  It honestly just underlined to me that I really need to read these authors’ other books, because the writing was flawless and flowed easily.  The characters were so enjoyable.  I will 100% definitely be reading this again sometime in the future.

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Do you often read magical realism?  If so, do you have any favorites?  It’s a genre I really enjoy, so I’m always up for recommendations.  Let me know your favorites in the comments!

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2 responses to “Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore

    • Amber

      It took me a few years to get into YA Contemporary, and for me, it was about picking the right books. I’m still hesitant about certain ones but fortunately have become comfortable enough navigating he genre to find gems like this one. 🙂