Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Book Review by Elizabeth
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is eyecatching, to say the least. Right off the bat it comes with warnings of sexual assault, PTSD, physical abuse, parental death, and racist violence. Oh and aliens, you know, the usual.
The book starts off and introduces you to Sia Martinez, a young Mexican girl whose mother had been deported by ICE a few years ago. While struggling in Mexico, she had the ridiculous idea of clawing her way back to her family through the Sonoran Desert, and presumably died in the process. Sia hates the sheriff and his son Jeremy McGhee with a fiery passion for being responsible for her mother’s deportation. After her grandmother’s death, all Sia has now was her father and her best friend Rose. Sia was close with her dead grandmother though, feeling her around at times and remembering all the stories and lessons she had taught her. Just as Sia’s class was starting, a new astronomy project, a new boy arrives in her class who gets stuck as her partner. As he and Sia spend more time together, they begin to create closer and closer bonds, despite Rose’s warning about him that he might be connected to the McGhees. Sia eventually drifts apart from Rose entirely, which meant that she spent almost all her time with Noah (the new guy) and they start getting invested in shows like the X-Files and conspiracy theories. To their astonishment, they keep spotting a space-craft-like-floating-thing in the desert sky that one day crashes in front of them, revealing the one and only – Sia’s long lost mother.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this novel. I absolutely adored it at first. It was just my style of read: adversity, dark pasts, will-they-won’t-they couples, all sprinkled with the main characters’ culture. But then the entire extraterrestrial thing got involved and I think they went a little too far with that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t shoot aliens down as soon as they come into play. I picked up this book, didn’t I? It’s just that their backstory is a little too convoluted. It’s hard to keep track of why they’re doing what they’re doing, and the climax feels like it’s there for the sake of a climax. I just got bored of this book after a while. Maybe if you are a little more used to, and enjoy the likes of aliens, you’ll find this book all the rage. At least I recommend the first half of this book wholeheartedly. It was one of the most indulging reads ever.