Hello readers! Back in September and October I set out to read Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of everything during Latinx heritage month. After reading many other books, enjoying halloween, and starting the Raven Boys series, I finally finished this novel. This novel is written so poetically you’ll want to reread passages over and over.
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Sia Martinez drives into the desert every week and lights the way for her mom, who went missing trying to cross the desert to get back to her, with saint candles and prayers. A new school project pairs her up with Noah, the new kid in town, and the two drive into the desert to study the moon. But one night, Sia and Noah catch sight of a spacecraft crash landing towards them, and piloting the craft is none other than Sia’s mother.
Now Sia has to protect her mom from possible alien soldiers and everyone else who threatens to harm her.
This book is phenomenal. I honestly loved it. I loved the way it’s written I loved Sia and everyone in it! Sia is a spunky, funny, and at times a whimsical protagonist. Sia herself is very poetic when she tells her story about the Saguaros, or how she speaks about the universe, abuela’s ghost, and her mama. Honestly, pick this novel up!
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland writes short chapters that can be considered vignettes. It’s a different reading experience, but it works in the context of this novel! If you love reading chapter by chapter, then it’s a great novel for you. Additionally, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland doesn’t miss an opportunity to inject poetic sentences into this novel, so we get some beautiful descriptions throughout this novel. Gilliland’s style of writing made me love this novel even more.
The romance seen in this novel is very cute and heartwarming. Sia and Noah are just two cute dorks who bond over their love for the stars and the universe. But besides Sia and Noa, we also have Sia’s best friend Rose, who falls in love with Samara, a classmate of theirs.
When Sia begins describing her treks into the desert, I found it weird that there was no mention of every Latin American’s creepy ghost aunt, la Llorona. Most of the Latinx paranormal novels I read mention her, and given the setting of this one, I was expecting her appearance. The legend of la Llorona comes in towards the end, not as a spooky story but one of the themes of the novel, motherhood. Spoilers Ahead.
Katia is an alien who has been taken captive by the U.S government and forced to experiment on undocumented peoples caught in the Sonora. Katia is complicit in these activities because her captors promise her a ship that will safely reunite her with her children. Much like La Llorona longs to reunite with her children, Katia’s path forward is dark and destructive, and she moves towards her goal without a thought to those she’ll hurt.
Directly, after the La Llorona theme is introduced, Sia mother’s does something unexpected. Magdalena locks herself and Sia in a dark room and holds a knife at her daughter. This moment foils La Llorona’s own origin story (there are several) but the one I find most fitting for this moment is a mother do anything to protect her child even at the expense of killing her herself.
“I don’t want to. But I know what they’ll do with you once they get you they’ll torture you so bad, you’ll want to die. They might actually do it. Kill you.” 340.
I believed this moment highlights how far Magdalena will go to protect her daughter, but instead of killing Sia, her mother shares her blood with her. This then causes Sia to gain her mother’s heighten senses and super speed. It’s different than Katia’s arc of vengeance, but they hold the same theme. Protect your child at all costs. Here Magdalena gives Sia a fighting chance against her oppressors.
This theme made me stare at my book for a few minutes and go, whoa, the mind of Raquel Vasquez Gilliland.
This novel covers heavy things such as immigration, domestic abuse, sexual assault, child abuse, aliens, inhumane experiments. It can be a lot to get through, so keep that in mind if you decide to read it.
If you would like to purchase your own copy of Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything you can buy it through my bookshop here. Bookshop is an alternative to Amazon and links readers with independent bookstores. Every purchase goes to supporting small bookstores! If you would like to shop more of my favorite books check out my bookshop store.
Until my next post keep living in libros,
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