Are you a fan of pageants? When I heard that two acclaimed authors of Young Adult novels, Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore, collaborated to write a magical underdog story about pageant life, I just couldn’t wait to read it. Miss Meteor is narrated with very uplifting prose and great representations. The perfect read for those looking for something a little girly to pass the time this November.

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Miss Meteor Synopsis


The narrative of Miss Meteor follows alternating perspectives of the two main characters, Lita Perez and Chicky Quintanilla, ex-best friends who team up to win the annual Miss Meteor beauty pageant, which is one of the biggest events in the small town of Meteor, New Mexico.

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Lita believes that she came from a meteor that fell out from the sky and cratered into the earth a few miles outside town. It has since become a famous attraction, hence the town becoming its namesake. The magical element of the story is introduced right off the bat, and makes the story a unique and whimsical one. I was pleasantly surprised by this added aspect of the story.

Pre-pageant Activities

I have nothing to lose. And if the sky’s going to take me back, I’m going out as a girl who goes after what she wants.

Preparing for the competition is understandably a lot of work. Lita and Chicky also have unfinished business regarding their friendship, which makes things all the more complicated for the young women.

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There were moments in the first part of the book where the characters became insecure, but in the end they found the right words in order to finish what they needed to say to one another. It’s refreshing to see these queer characters be comfortable in their own skin. They refuse to change just to fit the standards no matter how challenging it may be.

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I am a girl worth the space I take up.     

Neither one of the Latinx protagonists fit the typical Miss Meteor pageant winner that the judges pick every year. Lita is a plus-sized teenager made of stardust-no, really-while Chicky is a pansexual who isn’t out yet. The stardust part had me slightly confused, but I suspended my disbelief and just decided to go along for the ride.

That being said, I loved the way that the girls carried themselves onstage and found their footing in the narrative in the process. In addition to these aspects of inclusion, Lita’s love interest, Cole, is transgender. The reader is given a lot of insights into how trans people are mistreated in a high school setting. Having these diverse characters go after what they want is very empowering for a young audience.

Putting yourself out there in a pageant where everyone can have an opinion about how you walk, how you talk and how you look can be a terrifying thing to do, but luckily these protagonists have the best support in the world! I adored Chicky’s sisters and the support that they provided so much. Without them, the story-line would have been a touch monotonous.

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The struggle of preparing for the pageant felt really authentic and well-written. In an interview, one of the authors (Anna Marie McLemore) indicated that she once had an encounter with a real beauty queen, who gave her tons of insight into pageant life.

Pageant Life: Miss Meteor and Friendship

Friends don’t always end with a big fight, a sudden silence. Sometimes, it’s a sad, slow drifting apart.

The premise of Miss Meteor was basically about friendship, and I feel that the narrative overall did it justice. I loved the character dynamics from the parents, friends, and even the love interests which isn’t something that one always finds in a YA novel.

Miss Meteor answers questions about identity and social norms. Even though we live in a more liberated world than years past, there are some things we can’t just change in a snap. However, this book showed me that in order to change, one must take action.

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Coronation: Final Thoughts

I have to admit that every once in a while, I feel like a book chooses its reader, not the other way around. While reading Miss Meteor, I couldn’t help but smile. My heart felt tender and full. There were moments when I would laugh out loud and cheer for the characters. Overall, I really had a great time reading Miss Meteor, and I believe that it’s a book that will stay with me for a long time.


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8.2
Score

Pros

  • Unapologetic diverse characters
  • Solid friendship
  • Hometown vibe
  • Uplifting

Cons

  • Not necessarily a new concept
  • Magical realism was not polished enough
Characters
9
Magical Elements
7
Setting
8
Perspectives
10
Plot
7

Final Verdict

For those who feel they’re not enough and those who experience self-doubt, Miss Meteor is a must-read. It is certainly a delightful but not an easy read. There is a significant amount of bullying, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia within this book. I think that the message of this novel is very powerful to the point that it can change how you view yourself as a person.