This was a poignant, sweet and honest story of coming out, first love and acceptance showing the authentic experience of a queer Chicanx boy surrounded by toxic masculinity. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking, both full of wonderful friendships and sibling relations, as well as harassments and abuse. But sadly, I personally didn’t connect with the story and the characters as much I had hoped for. I guess I expected more, from both the writing style and the story itself.
Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun tells the story of Julián Luna, a Mexican-American boy living with his homophobic father. Jules’ dad suspects his son might be queer but will hear nothing of it; even using physical abuse to suppress any such ‘tendencies’ in his son. Jules is therefore living a closeted life, just enduring until he can graduate and move away, to finally become himself. But a drunken tweet changes all that. Luckily he finds Mat because of it, and for the first time in his life he can truly be himself with someone. Sadly though, Mat lives fifteen hundred miles away, in LA.
Firstly, I want to mention the trigger warnings in the beginning of the book. The author Jonny Garza Villa really did a wonderful job laying out what might be triggering in the story, such as homophobia, abuse and physical violence, but also focusing on the positive and empowering parts.
I’m also so happy for the amazing representation and diversity in this book, and for the authentic way the harsh realities many queer Chicanxs/Latinxs face were described. Even though Jules’ dad acted absolutely horribly, he wasn’t just portraited as a villain, but Jonny Garza Villa also showed other aspects too, making Jule’ relationship with this dad feeling very real and personal.
Going into this book, I really thought it would be one of my favorite books this year. I wanted so much to love it. But sadly, I didn’t connect with it on the level I had expected. Objectively, the story was great, and I can definitely understand how it will be resonating with many of its readers, and I’m so happy that it has been written to add another voice to the YA literature. But my main issues with it were the writing style, the romance that I couldn’t fully root for and the rather plain side characters.
The story had such potential to be absolutely heartwrenching, but to me the writing style felt too much telling rather than showing, which prevented me from truly taking the characters to my heart.
The romance part was cute, but the whole premise of how they met through Twitter and fell for each other felt a bit rushed and unrealistic. I never felt the chemistry between Jules and Mat, and the way Jules treated Mat and ghosted him from time to time didn’t sit well with me.
I also wished that the side characters would have been more fleshed out and that there could have been stronger subplots. The story felt very one-dimensional, only focusing on Jules without fully building the world around him.
But all in all, this was a heartwarming and poignant story. Even though the main character faced a lot of terrible things, like homophobia and an abusive dad, it was still a hopeful story full of loving friendships and supportive siblings. It just had the potential to be so much more.
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Jonny Garza Villa
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez