This was a wonderful book. I’m writing this with tears still drying on my face, that started out sad but ended happy. I went into this book expecting a fun romp, with misfits trying to win a beauty pageant, but instead I got two strong female characters, one who is turning into stardust, fighting to stay on earth, and one who is too used to shrinking back, learning to stand up for herself. One latina highschool girl made of stardust who falls for her trans jock friend, and one pansexual latina highschool girl who falls for a latino artist, all living in a town in New Mexico which has given the beauty pageant sash to a white girl every year since the competition’s inception. This is a story of both girls learning to take pride in the space that they occupy. This story is about each character finding their place, pushing off labels like “alien,” “lesbo,” and “Picasso,” though the last one is taken as the compliment it is, rather than the insult it is meant to be. This story is also a fun romp about misfits trying to win a beauty pageant.
This book makes me want to shout my name from the rooftops and dance on a stage in a bedazzled scuba suit. It makes me want to declare who I am to the world and never feel bad for existing ever again. It makes me want to celebrate cactus birthdays and eat empanadas and sway under the stars with someone I love. I don't think I need to say this, but I recommend this book for everybody. I can only hope that reading it is as joyful for everyone, not just me, but there is really only one way to find out.