Guide/Reviews Database
OLDER FICTION
Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

(2) YA Two years ago, seventeen-year-old Sia Martinez's mother perished in the Sonoran Desert, attempting to return home to (fictional) Caraway, Arizona, after being cruelly deported to Mexico. Sia's loving father and her loyal best friend, Rose, help support her through grief, even as the sadistic sheriff's son torments her at school (to his detriment; Sia is no slouch in the self-defense department). When a handsome new guy shows up and starts flirting, Sia is cautiously intrigued. Rose is suspicious (it has to do with the sheriff), but she's distracted by her own love interest, causing jealous Sia to ignore the warning signs. The first quarter of the book is realistic and engaging contemporary YA--and then Something Happens, and we're launched into sci-fi. Very short chapters--there are 224 of them--keep the pace snappy, and a cliffhanger ending, plus deliberate loose ends, point to more adventures to come. There's a content warning at the start ("Sexual Assault, PTSD, Physical Abuse, Parental Death, Racist Violence"), and those issues are addressed head-on. Through Sia's wry first-person narration, however, the tone remains mostly light: "Aliens, government conspiracies, secret experiments. That's all unbelievable enough as it is. No need to add meddling dead abuelas to the mix."

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