cover image Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland. Simon Pulse, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4863-6

Every new moon, Artemisia “Sia” Martinez drives into the desert to light candles for her mother, who went missing after being deported three years ago by a racist sheriff. The 17-year-old’s park ranger father, Haitian American best friend, and late abuela’s spirit are lifelines in her small, predominantly white Arizona town. After a new boy arrives at her school, a series of strange events slowly unfolds alongside a sweet, sex-positive romance. Blue lights appear in the night sky, a silver-haired woman shows up in the town diner, and Sia’s very-much-alive mother crash-lands before her in a spaceship. Sia must learn how to protect herself and her loved ones within a hostile system, from the likes of secret government agents and a bigoted gas station attendant. Gilliland, making her YA debut, 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. Despite its leisurely pace, this is a genre-defying read that is certain to keep readers engaged. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Elizabeth Bewley, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Aug.) [/em]