How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Raquel Vasquez Gilliand
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: August 10, 2021
The Hating Game meets I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter in this irresistible romance starring a Mexican American teen who discovers love and profound truths about the universe when she spends her summer on a road trip across the country.
When her twin sister reaches social media stardom, Moon Fuentez accepts her fate as the ugly, unwanted sister hidden in the background, destined to be nothing more than her sister’s camerawoman. But this summer, Moon also takes a job as the “merch girl” on a tour bus full of beautiful influencers and her fate begins to shift in the best way possible.
Most notable is her bunkmate and new nemesis, Santiago Phillips, who is grumpy, combative, and also the hottest guy Moon has ever seen.
Moon is certain she hates Santiago and that he hates her back. But as chance and destiny (and maybe, probably, close proximity) bring the two of them in each other’s perpetual paths, Moon starts to wonder if that’s really true. She even starts to question her destiny as the unnoticed, unloved wallflower she always thought she was.
Could this summer change Moon’s life as she knows it?
TW: Emotional abuse, Fatphobia, Physical abuse, Sexual content, Suicide, and Mental illness
Thoughts and Themes: At first it took me a big to really get into this book but once I did, I finished it in three days. There was so much to love about this book and I never wanted to put it down. I love a good romance story and this book has exactly that, we got enemies to lovers in here but we also have Moon learning to love herself and realize she’s worth so much more than what others made her believe.
I love a book where our main character learns to let others love them and more so learns their self worth. This is my favorite type of story because I feel like it’s something I’ll always need, I’ll always need to be reminded of my worth and want others to see how much they are worth.
I really liked each of the chapter titles in this book as they were unique and gave you a hint as to exactly what would happen in that portion of the book. I also like that each chapter felt like its own story in it of itself. I liked how through these chapters we got snort snippets of different parts of Moon’s life and her relationships with different people.
Something else that I really enjoyed about this book is that we get some queer side characters. I like the idea of queerness co existing with religion and I really liked the complexity of that in this story. Being a Catholic Queer isn’t easy ever and I love how this book touches a bit on that even if it isn’t a central plot point.
Characters: In this story you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Moon. You meet her sister, Star, the love interest, Santiago, other influensters on this tour, Moon’s aunt/Tia, and more.
Moon and Star’s relationship is complicated and made this way more so by the way the mom treats them. I found it interesting to read their dynamic and why Star sees Moon the way she does. I liked how the relationship shifts as Moon stands up for herself and starts to see how she isn’t just Star’s sister.
I really liked Moon’s relationship with Santiago and how this all started as them being enemies with each other. I liked how that developed but mostly I liked how he likes her for who she is. I liked how they both opened up to each other and learned to trust each other. I don’t want to give too much spoilers but just know that the relationship is cute and to die for.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of Moon. I really enjoyed having the story told through her perspective because when things go wrong we don’t get to hear what anyone else thinks. I like that we only get everything through her eyes because we don’t get things colored by any other lens.
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist and painter. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2017. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains.