How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe

S. & S. Aug. 2021. 432p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534448667.
Gr 9 Up–At the age of 17, twin sisters Moon and Star Fuentez’s lives are still controlled by their mother. Star is a “purity culture” social media influencer whose flawless natural beauty is the focus of her ambitious mother, while Moon, a “size 16,” is required to be their porter and photographer. Only Moon’s secret acceptance to Tulane University’s art program in the fall gives her hope. The novel opens as the family learns that Star has been offered a spot on a high-profile, cross-country charity tour organized by social media app founder Andro Philips. Moon is again required to serve as her sister’s photographer, but this time she will also profit by working the merchandise table. Things deteriorate when she meets the others on the trip, especially her merch-selling partner, Santiago, Andro’s sexy younger brother. Their rough start, though, melts into a simmering romance during long hours on the bus and the shared love of gourmet food and more. Recounted in a highly descriptive manner with a healthy dose of magical realism, Gilliland-Vasquez’s second book weaves together themes of healing from fat- and disability-shaming, homophobia, and domestic and religious abuse.
VERDICT This slow-paced novel reads like a popular telenovela and is good choice for teen collections.

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