FICTION

Miss Meteor

HarperTeen. Sept. 2020. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062869913.
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Gr 9 Up–Fifty years ago, a meteor crashed in New Mexico. The town of Meteor was subsequently founded nearby, and today it attracts tourists to its annual Miss Meteor beauty pageant and cornhole tournament. Lita, one of the two protagonists in this dual narrative, is made of stardust formed by the meteor into a human body. Her brown skin gives way to patches of stardust, and she is convinced that the only thing that will keep her from reverting to star form is to win Miss Meteor, a title that has only ever been won by white girls. Chicky Quintanilla, Lita’s ex–best friend, agrees to help Lita compete for Miss Meteor, along with her fruit-named sisters who feel straight out of a fairy tale: Cereza, Uva, and Fresa. Chicky’s family runs a restaurant named Selena’s in honor of the singer Selena Quintanilla, even though they aren’t related. Through spending time together, Lita and Chicky come to terms with past traumas and learn to confront their bullies. Characters are predominantly Latinx; one major character is a trans boy and another is pansexual. LGBT readers will revel in a coming out scene, which is loud and proud as hell.
VERDICT With funny details like its contentious name—Meteor is also known by a second official name, Meteorite—and its local museum dedicated to the fallen star, the town itself becomes a character in this charming magical realist story. Recommended for all libraries serving teens.

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