February 23, 2022

#BookReview: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Synopsis: A Mexican American teen discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: This had it all! Sci-fi, aliens, romance, mystery and a ton of other things.  I loved the story and think that readers of younger ya will devour this one. The pacing was perfect for the story and I couldn't put it down. 


“In a world where we are so often dividing ourselves into us and them, this book feels like a kind of magic, celebrating all beliefs, ethnicities, and unknowns.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Gilliland weaves sci-fi and magic into a stunning contemporary story that sticks with you long after the first time you read it.” 

“Magic dances on each page, along with love, heartbreak, and so much more. It’s a book unlike any other, one that even if you know how it ends, you’ll still be surprised.” 

“Luminous, genre-bending, and out of this world.” 
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Uses lyrical prose to weave between contemporary themes of grief, sexual assault, and racial trauma; magical realism elements grounded in Mexican American culture; and a sci-fi adventure based on real issues surrounding government control over marginalized, undocumented bodies…This is a genre-defying read that is certain to keep readers engaged.” 
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Impressively fluid. . . Sia is a complex and memorable protagonist who draws on all of the best parts of herself and her loved ones to grow, adapt, and overcome her losses.” 
BCCB, starred review

“Amid the surprising plot twists is a thoughtful exploration of humanity, emphasizing that, though no one is perfect, no one is beyond redemption, either.” 

“Gilliland uses lush descriptions of setting and desert imagery paired with lively dialogue to craft a story that blends science fiction with Mexican folklore, all within a contemporary young adult novel that explores grief, friendship, immigration, consent, and the powerful bond between mother and daughter.” 

“The book teems with vivid imagery and explicit social commentary. . . . Vasquez Gilliland skillfully sows the seeds of science fiction and magical realism early in the story, and like Sia’s maĆ­z, they have been waiting for just the right time to bloom.” 

"Sia’s story is a startlingly beautiful blend of so many things: mythology, spirituality, and the stark realities of racism and deportation in the U.S.; coming of age and first love; and all the best pop-culture sci-fi. And aliens! And a kick-ass girl full of heart! You’ll believe in these characters, and in the wonders around them. Go, Sia!" 
—Kristin Cashore, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series and Jane, Unlimited 

About the Author

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and painter. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2017. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains. Raquel has published two books of poetry. She’s the author of Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything and How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe.

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FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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