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?
Publication: August 10th, 2021
My Favourite Quote: *subject to change*
It’s just me, barefoot, my eyes closed as the rain begins. It’s just me and I’m finally beginning to feel that is enough. That I am enough.
Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.
This book. My gosh, this book. When I read the blurb for HMFFiLwtU I knew, I just knew, this was a book I needed to read. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland sent me a copy of her book and I definitely am super super thankful–so a big shoutout to her. However, my opinion in this review is absolutely my own.
I could tell from its very name that the book was going to be magical. Yes, in the ethereal way, but also in the way that makes even the small things otherworldly and the quiet moments mystical. The writing itself adds to the already mystical quality of the story even while rooting the characters in very human traits. I found the writing utterly smooth and easy to just lose myself into and the transition between the past and present was seamless, only elevating the reading experience and never taking away.
The pace was absolutely perfect, *chef’s kiss* and there were even simple two paragraphed chapters that added layers beautifully to the story without breaking the tempo of the story. The chapter names were super cute and like little secrets the author shares with the reader because we know all the nicknames and references by then.
Moon brings very relevant and heartfelt struggles to the page. Her faith, her belief systems, her body, her mind, her insecurities and strengths, her sacrifices and moments of pettiness.. all of it make her so human and so beautiful. Reading about a character coming into their own is always an emotional experience and reading one of a wounded teenager who is learning to love herself is several hundred times more impactful.
Santiago. It’s hard to write a character who makes the readers feel like is a soulmate for the protagonist. Why is it hard? Because the reader wants someone perfect, not someone real. Santiago was certainly very real. He was not without his own mistakes and brought his own traumas to the table, but he, like Moon, brings a lot of beauty to the story too.
There were many points at which the story could’ve been cliché, difficult or too much, but Raquel’s writing makes you see a bigger picture of what the message really is about. How one person’s actions can spiral out and down a lineage. Religion, sex, love, career, identity … these are all difficult and messy in real life and representing them on paper is even harder. But I’ve always felt someone’s belief system, whatever they’re about, is oftentimes a personal journey. We need to figure out what we believe in, we need to find out what feels right for us and what doesn’t and we need to decide what we’re going to do with that. On this front I resonated with Raquel’s writing.
There was some redemption arc and some not, and I was quite glad to see it. The ending felt miiiildly rocky, but somehow Raquel works her magic and I couldn’t think of a better way for HMFFiLwtU could’ve ended.
Five stars. Happy reading and stay safe!