Hi everyone!! It seems like I’ve finally got back into the flow of reading again, despite having only recently discovered Among Us (and getting increasingly frustrated when I get voted out when I’m not the imposter!), and I have not been disappointed by the books I’ve read! The one I’m going to be review today made me cry so much and made my heart so full, so I really hope this review might persuade you a little to pick this book up!
Title: Miss Meteor
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore
Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism, LGBT, Young Adult
Synopsis: 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 always find it more difficult to write a review about a book that I adored than one I thought was only okay or disliked, but I’m going to try my best to explain just how much I love this book, because I feel that it’s so criminally underrated! Miss Meteor follows Lita, who has always dreamed of entering, and winning, the annual Miss Meteor beauty pageant, but fat brown girls like her are never meant to win. But when Lita’s chances of entering grow slimmer and slimmer, she enlists the help of her ex-best friend, Chicky, and her three older sisters to achieve this dream before it’s too late!
I’ve not read anything by Tehlor Kay Mejia or Anna Marie McLemore prior to reading this book (although, rest assured, I am remedying that!), so I went in with a completely open mind. This also meant that I couldn’t tell who had written which character, not that it mattered to me as I loved them both equally, but it does make this review a little harder when it comes to reviewing the writing style! There were some differences between the writing in Chicky’s POV and Lita’s POV – Lita’s felt more like the lyrical, flowery prose you so often see in magical realism novels, whereas Chicky’s felt much more like your classic contemporary novel, and I suppose in that way it was very fitting to the characters!
Though this takes place in New Mexico, it is set in a completely fictitious town, and I think both authors described it so beautifully and vividly. It was so easy to picture the dry, cavernous desert where the meteorite that gave the town its name landed, juxtaposed with the modern, sophisticated town (albeit with the tiny Meteor Meteorite Museum looking a little scruffy and out of place!). I loved Selena’s diner with its family feel and strange but delicious-sounding recipes and all the different cacti even had their own personalities! I could practically feel the arid desert heat emanating from the pages!
The plot is extremely captivating and really pulls at your heartstrings. Three of the main characters deal with quite a lot of bullying and prejudice against them – Chicky for her sexuality and race, Lita for her race and size, and Cole for his gender – and so this really does feel like the underdog’s story. The characters felt so real that you find yourself rooting for them throughout, and, consequently, their pain becomes that of the reader as well. Everything about the plot felt so realistic, and I can definitely see this being perfect movie material (or is that just wishful thinking?)! The beauty pageant was hilarious and heartfelt from beginning to end, and even the silly not-quite-a-sport storyline was so engaging! The book does deal with the characters facing a lot of adversity, such as racism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia and financial insecurity, but all in all the story is extremely hopeful. It’s about finding yourself and being so proud of your identity. It’s about friendship, and love and about the connections we make with people. It’s an extremely beautiful book and the magical realism elements never felt unrealistic or over the top, and I think just added to how connected I felt to the story and the characters.
Speaking of the characters, they are what made me love the story so much! I felt that Lita was extremely relatable as a fat person myself. Yes she is fat, yes she faces fatphobia, but she never lets that stop her for going and getting what she wants. She’s very sweet and very dreamy (if a bit ditzy at times!) and I think she’s a character that so many people will love! Chicky has been bullied for years for her sexuality and has closed herself off to everyone around her, but we see her opening up and being proud and vulnerable throughout the book and it’s so wonderful to see. I really loved both Cole and Junior (maybe some men do deserve rights) so so much and seeing them take back and own there narratives was so powerful! Plus, it features two friends to lovers romances which is everything my little heart craves!
All in all, this book was gorgeous and amazing and I cannot recommend it highly enough! It has quickly become a new favourite that I will be revisiting time and time again and I really hope that you decide to give it a go too!