This is a Throw-Everything-at-the-Reader-and-See-What-Sticks sort of book, with a little Wizard of Oz and X-Files thrown in for good measure. Every societal issue at play today is covered, including gender fluidity and discrimination, unequal wealth distribution, economic discrimination, political posturing, racial discrimination, class distinctions, bullying, parental abandonment, rumor mongering, teenage drinking, high school sports as a path to college–whew, it’s just too much and, besides that, it skates along the surface of all these issues and treats none with any depth.
The basic storyline here revolves around teenager Estrellita Perez, who lives alone with her “mother,” Bruje Lupe, the local herbalist/witch/fortune teller who supports them by prescribing treatments and dispensing advice to the locals in Meteor, New Mexico, a small town made famous by a huge chunk of iron and lead that landed a few miles outside of town. Estrellita and Bruje, though, are not of this world, having been formed out of the stardust that accompanied the meteor. Estrellita has become aware that she is returning to stardust and wants to do something meaningful with her life in Meteor before she disappears completely. She decides that she is going to get back at the high school haters who have made fun of her–calling her “alien” (though meaning it in the traditional way)–by entering the Miss Meteor contest and winning. In the process Lita enlists the help of someone who used to be her best friend but who has been inexplicably avoiding her for years. As her campaign advances, she realizes other friends have hidden secrets as well. One is a transgendered guy who has romantic feelings towards her, and another male friend has a romantic interest in Lita’s best girl friend, who thinks she may be a lesbian but then decides she is pansexual. It’s all very complicated. I found myself flipping back and forth through the pages, trying to keep it all straight in my head.
The text was flagged for offensive language, sexual references, a few minor violent episodes and controversial topics.
I wanted to like this book for its New Mexico setting and funky outer-space premise, for starters, but it was a big disappointment. Don’t waste your money on it.
Categories: Art, Body Acceptance, Bullying, Civil Rights, Controversial YA Topics, Differently Abled, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Fantasy, Fashion, Immigrants, LGBTQIA, Mysteries, Navigating through High School, Offensive Language in YA Literature, Parent Conflict, Peer Relationships, Racism, Science Fiction