Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

Skyscape/Amazon/. Jun. 2021. 354p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781542027052.
Gr 9 Up–Julián “Jules” Luna is a closeted gay teen pressured by his father to be a machismo, heteronormative Mexican American. He has endured both emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father, who refuses to allow him to acknowledge his true self. One night, a drunken tweet results in Jules inadvertently outing himself to his entire school. While some students harass him, his core group of friends supports him, and a Twitter flirtation evolves into a long-distance relationship with Mat, a Vietnamese American teen living in Los Angeles. Jules dreams of escaping Corpus Christi, TX and going to college in L.A. and being close to Mat. When a hate crime forcibly outs Jules, his dad kicks him out of the house. Relationships with the likable characters of his sister Xochi, grandfather Güelo, Mat, and friends provide comfort to Jules as he is vulnerable and adjusts to living his life authentically. Readers will empathize and connect with Jules as a well-rounded character who loves cooking, soccer, and is a vegetarian. The banter-filled, amusing, conversational writing style includes slang and Spanish terms that can be understood via context. Although parts of the story are heartbreaking and heavy, they are balanced with humor and hope, giving queer teens of color opportunities to see joy and love reflected back to them. Content warnings are advised for emotional and physical abuse, homophobia, homophobic and racist slurs, and forced outing.
VERDICT Tender, touching, hopeful, and hilarious; enthusiastically recommended for all collections.

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