Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything Details

TitleSia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 4th, 2020
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything Review

  • Shannon Doleski
    January 1, 1970
    Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything changed my soul. It nourished me. It is one of my favorite YAs I've ever read in the history of the world and young adult literature. This book, like all beautiful art, contains layers that weave into an unforgettable story.One layer is a YA contemp, beautifully written and plotted, about a Mexican-American teen grieving the deportation, then death, of her mother who has lived in the US since she was six months old. It is a relevant and timely Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything changed my soul. It nourished me. It is one of my favorite YAs I've ever read in the history of the world and young adult literature. This book, like all beautiful art, contains layers that weave into an unforgettable story.One layer is a YA contemp, beautifully written and plotted, about a Mexican-American teen grieving the deportation, then death, of her mother who has lived in the US since she was six months old. It is a relevant and timely look at ICE and racism and daily microaggressions. Another layer is the speculative fiction alien abduction of her mother, complete with X-Files references and comic relief with a conspiracy theorist blogger.It is a steamy love story between two teenagers finding themselves.And my favorite layer, the magical realism, and the stories of Sia's abuela. Gilliland paints striking images in clean prose that bleeds like poetry. I wish every wonderful thing for this fantastic debut. It reminded me of Bone Gap, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and Anna-Marie McLemore's stunning books.
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  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to finish, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, because I just couldn't put it down. It's the genre-bending YA book that I didn't know I needed. Truthfully, I had no idea what I was getting into, and in a way, the zero expectations I had, allowed me to take in the story organically, as if I was walking into an unfamiliar forest—not knowing what was up ahead, but enjoying the journey, tree by tree, flower by flower, leaf by leaf, rock by rock. The I stayed up WAY past my bedtime to finish, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, because I just couldn't put it down. It's the genre-bending YA book that I didn't know I needed. Truthfully, I had no idea what I was getting into, and in a way, the zero expectations I had, allowed me to take in the story organically, as if I was walking into an unfamiliar forest—not knowing what was up ahead, but enjoying the journey, tree by tree, flower by flower, leaf by leaf, rock by rock. The plot is hard to describe in just a few sentences. But as I was reading it, I was reminded in some way or another of films and TV shows that I have enjoyed in the past. Namely, Gas, Food, Lodging + Like Water for Chocolate + Sense 8 + The X Files. It sounds like a weird combination, but it really, truly works.The basic premise is a contemporary story about Sia, a Mexican-American teenage girl who is grappling with the disappearance and then death of her mother, who is deported by ICE. Sia is a wonderfully complex main character filled with anger, sadness and love. She grows heirloom corn, and herbs, practices herbalism, which she learned from her mother and grandmother, treks into the desert lighting candles for the spirits, and rocks out to Fleetwood Mac. As the story progresses, the author seamlessly weaves in a steamy romance, Mexican folklore, conspiracy theories, alien abductions and superpowers. All this, written with the most exquisite prose, that at times reads like poetry.If you're looking for a genre-bending YA contemporary story that will surprise you, enthrall you and break your heart into smithereens, then I highly recommend this stunning debut by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland.
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  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    30/11/19Oooh wow such a unique premise!! Would love to have a read!! :)You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website 30/11/19Oooh wow such a unique premise!! Would love to have a read!! :)You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
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  • Jenny Moke
    January 1, 1970
    Voice is so huge to me when it comes to reading, so please understand when I say SIA HAS ONE OF THE BEST VOICES I'VE READ IN A LONG LONG TIME. Like, she could describe an old shoe to me and I would be moony as hell. Vasquez Gilliland's beautiful, poetic, heartbreaking voice builds the desert world of Arizona into a wonderland of in-between spaces and histories within histories.Artemisia is trying to mourn the death of her mother, lost in the Sonoran Desert after the local sheriff cruelly has her Voice is so huge to me when it comes to reading, so please understand when I say SIA HAS ONE OF THE BEST VOICES I'VE READ IN A LONG LONG TIME. Like, she could describe an old shoe to me and I would be moony as hell. Vasquez Gilliland's beautiful, poetic, heartbreaking voice builds the desert world of Arizona into a wonderland of in-between spaces and histories within histories.Artemisia is trying to mourn the death of her mother, lost in the Sonoran Desert after the local sheriff cruelly has her deported. But her grandmother's pesky spirit won't let Sia rest, insisting that her mother is still out there somewhere. Still trying to find her way back to Sia. But all Sia wants to do is guide her soul home, driving out to the beginning of the world in the desert to light her candles and show her mama the way. But when she meets a handsome boy with poetry in his soul out there one night, it starts her (and him) on a journey to discovering the side-by-side worlds we inhabit and the ones we didn't know we came from.I spent the first half of the book luxuriating in the prose, the poetry, the shape and movement of the text. And then laughing out loud when Sia cracks her wit like a whip. Then I spent the second half of the book flipping pages as fast as I could to just find out WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON and WERE MY BABIES GONNA BE OKAY.There is steamy, romantic love. There is ages-old witchcraft. And maybe a space craft (I'M NOT TELLING, YOU GOTTA READ FOR YOURSELF).This isn't a must read, it's a "which specific herbs do I need to burn to get this book in my hands right now" read. Get it and fall in love with Sia for yourself.
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  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    I love genre-bending books so much! This one was especially brilliant - everything “outside reality” felt not only completely necessary, but also served to strengthen and emphasize each point the author was already making (on racism, immigration, hatred, forgiveness, kindness, strength, etc.) with even more urgency and power. This book is as poetic as it is important, and once again I am so thankful for books that introduce me to and immerse me in a perspective completely different from my own t I love genre-bending books so much! This one was especially brilliant - everything “outside reality” felt not only completely necessary, but also served to strengthen and emphasize each point the author was already making (on racism, immigration, hatred, forgiveness, kindness, strength, etc.) with even more urgency and power. This book is as poetic as it is important, and once again I am so thankful for books that introduce me to and immerse me in a perspective completely different from my own that only stories like this could begin to help me understand, while also inspiring me to do better, be better. Some moments in this hit like a gut-punch, but necessarily so. A few other favourite things - the short, oh-so-readable chapters; all the Harry Potter references (so constant! so perfect!); the wonderful appearances of Sia’s abuela (so magical); the Spanish scattered throughout, most often without translation; Omar’s overenthusiastic perfect nerdiness; and, naturally, every Noah & Sia make-out moment. Bless them. Best of all was the writing style, which is so beautiful - the world is so lucky when poets choose to write novels and share them with us, as this book proves with every page!
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  • Akelly
    January 1, 1970
    Gilliland is a poet through and through! Sia’s voice is filled with spirituality, lyricism and sassiness. This book woke up some dormant spiritual inclinations, and I did not expect that! She crafts a mythical, spiritual, sci-fi and altogether genre bending story. A commentary on the terrible ICE atrocity and the nuanced nature of bad and good. Also surprisingly steamy 🔥
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  • Ava Budavari
    January 1, 1970
    Holy fucking shit go preorder this now it was incredible this author is brilliant I don’t even know what to say
  • Margaret Schoen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a review of a ARC from Edelweiss.Sia Martinez lost her mother to the desert three years ago. Technically, she lost her before that, when ICE sent her back to Mexico, and her mother made a terrible choice to try to return. She's trying to keep going with her life, even though her best friend Rose is becoming strangely distant, and a new boy who may or may not be trustworthy (but is certainly cute enters her life). Sia seeks comfort in the desert "where the world began" as her grandmother This is a review of a ARC from Edelweiss.Sia Martinez lost her mother to the desert three years ago. Technically, she lost her before that, when ICE sent her back to Mexico, and her mother made a terrible choice to try to return. She's trying to keep going with her life, even though her best friend Rose is becoming strangely distant, and a new boy who may or may not be trustworthy (but is certainly cute enters her life). Sia seeks comfort in the desert "where the world began" as her grandmother said, and where lights candles to help her mother make her way home. Then one night she sees other lights, dancing in the sky the way no stars could, and everything changes.Oof. This book is a LOT. We've got the dead mother, racist classmates, one character who's suffered a sexual assault, another who is coming out, and another being abused by a parent. And that's the first half of the book, before it takes a turn into aliens, government conspiracies, genetically engineered superpowers and more.My main problem was not that the author is trying to cram in too much stuff (although yes, there is TOO MUCH STUFF) it's that the tone just shifts wildly depending on whether we're dealing with the serious teen issues story or the wacky alien superpower story. It's extremely jarring and just doesn't fit together at all for me.My favorite parts were actually the small moments between Sia and Rose, watching their friendship move apart and back together as they grow. But there's so much going on that they're really the only characters who get to have any depth. I also loved Sia's Abuela, who doesn't let death stop her from bossing her family around. I would have really liked a book with just that.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    This story has such a fascinating premise— Sia’s mom was deported about two years ago, and disappeared when she re-entered the United States, trying to cross the Sonoran Desert back to her family. When a UFO is seen in the desert and Sia’s mom makes an unexpected return, Sia and her friends uncover a secret government program in which undocumented immigrants are captured and used for experiments involving extraterrestrials.The friendship and tension between Sia and Rose is well-done, and I wish This story has such a fascinating premise— Sia’s mom was deported about two years ago, and disappeared when she re-entered the United States, trying to cross the Sonoran Desert back to her family. When a UFO is seen in the desert and Sia’s mom makes an unexpected return, Sia and her friends uncover a secret government program in which undocumented immigrants are captured and used for experiments involving extraterrestrials.The friendship and tension between Sia and Rose is well-done, and I wish the thoughtfulness of the first half of the novel had continued all the way through. Occasional appearances from Sia’s recently-deceased but still bossy abuela are also refreshing.Unfortunately, what could have been a really solid science fiction story suffers from the author trying to cram too much in. * There’s an allusion to sexual trauma that Sia experienced when she was 16. She and new boy Noah click very quickly, and (while I appreciate the sex-positivity) the speed with which he helps her overcome her fear of intimacy is pretty glibly handled.* Speaking of Noah, he comes across very manic pixie dream boy. No nuance, insta-love, too good to be true.* Several characters (Sheriff McGhee, Omar, Katia) border on caricatures.* When Sia discovers her mother is still alive around the halfway point of the book, the story completely shifts gears into over-the-top action movie mode. It’s a jarring transition, and the dialog and plot become increasingly farfetched.A good story, but it had the potential to be a great story.Thanks to NetGalley and SimonPulse for the electronic arc.
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  • Prerna Pickett
    January 1, 1970
    Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, is a stunning debut and a much-needed addition to the YA sci-fi/fantasy genre. Gilliland’s writing is poetic, evocative, and absolutely beautiful. She tackles the difficult topics of illegal immigration and racism deftly while also show casing the everyday challenges teens are facing today. The story revolves around Sia, who is still reeling from the death of her mother, an undocumented immigrant sent back over the Raquel Vasquez Gilliland’s, Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, is a stunning debut and a much-needed addition to the YA sci-fi/fantasy genre. Gilliland’s writing is poetic, evocative, and absolutely beautiful. She tackles the difficult topics of illegal immigration and racism deftly while also show casing the everyday challenges teens are facing today. The story revolves around Sia, who is still reeling from the death of her mother, an undocumented immigrant sent back over the border and dies trying to make her way back to her family. Sia is a very relatable teen who is trying to do more than survive in her little town, a town that doesn’t seem to care about her at all. She is vulnerable, she is angry, she is sad, she is loving, she is so very real. Sia uses the stories her grandmother taught her as a child to navigate the difficult circumstances surrounding her life. I loved reading those stories, they’re rich with history and I loved how they brought Sia closer to her culture as well as her family. This book has everything: romance, intrigue, danger, aliens, and plenty of plot twists that keep you on your toes. In conclusion, Sia Martinez is a gorgeous book that is sure to please many.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    When I first started reading about this book, I saw it defined as a "genre-bender", and in all honesty, I didn't really know what to expect or if I would like it. I am so glad that I decided to read this book, because it is an absolutely beautiful story that really doesn't need a genre. It is also incredibly timely given the state of current affairs when it comes to race relations in the United States. Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything tells the story of Sia, a teenager who ha When I first started reading about this book, I saw it defined as a "genre-bender", and in all honesty, I didn't really know what to expect or if I would like it. I am so glad that I decided to read this book, because it is an absolutely beautiful story that really doesn't need a genre. It is also incredibly timely given the state of current affairs when it comes to race relations in the United States. Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything tells the story of Sia, a teenager who has lost her mother to ICE and deportation. Sia often drives out to one spot in the desert, where she can feel the energy of her mother and grandmother, although soon she is joined at that spot by Noah, the new boy who seems keen on getting a date with her, and soon, something else entirely-something out of this world. If you're someone who doesn't like YA romance or doesn't like sci-fi, I highly encourage you to check this book out anyways, because I guarantee you'll find something in here that speaks to you.
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  • Thuanhnguyen
    January 1, 1970
    How to even describe this book? I fell in love with the way family is portrayed. I love the Spanish and language and culture. All of that felt real and alive. I also enjoyed the magical realism. I even found it believable with the "spaceship" landed, and her mother came back to life. I'm good with all that fantasy. What felt less believable was the way the characters handled all of the drama at the end. I think the author might have been rushing to fit it all in one book, but it was too much. Th How to even describe this book? I fell in love with the way family is portrayed. I love the Spanish and language and culture. All of that felt real and alive. I also enjoyed the magical realism. I even found it believable with the "spaceship" landed, and her mother came back to life. I'm good with all that fantasy. What felt less believable was the way the characters handled all of the drama at the end. I think the author might have been rushing to fit it all in one book, but it was too much. The twisty evil-doing government plot. I understand that there's a metaphor about ICE and how evil our government actually is--I think that storyline is actually more compelling than the government alien conspiracy plot. You should read this book for the way it handles our country's horrible ICE regulations and treatment of folks who cross the border. Even when the plot gets clunky, you should suspend your disbelief because, in the end, it's worth it for this important commentary.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to Edelweiss & Simon Pulse for the eARC* 3.5 stars. This just didn't quite hit for me, but the premise is very unique and the writing is beautiful. The shift to the sci fi aspect of the story felt kind of jarring to me, and I wasn't as connected to that part of the story. I did love the romance between Sia & Noah--consent, respect, conflicting feelings/emotions. The steaminess of it means I'll recommend this to high school & up.Also, though I am definitely not a native Spanish speaker *Thank you to Edelweiss & Simon Pulse for the eARC* 3.5 stars. This just didn't quite hit for me, but the premise is very unique and the writing is beautiful. The shift to the sci fi aspect of the story felt kind of jarring to me, and I wasn't as connected to that part of the story. I did love the romance between Sia & Noah--consent, respect, conflicting feelings/emotions. The steaminess of it means I'll recommend this to high school & up.Also, though I am definitely not a native Spanish speaker, nor am I terribly proficient in the language, but when the characters speak in Spanish, the Spanish feels very clunky and not at all how a native speaker would talk. The sentences seem to have been written in English grammar/sentence style, but in Spanish. I know this is an ARC, so things may change in the final copy. Overall though, this is a unique story I will happily purchase & share with YA readers!
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  • Loriel Ryon
    January 1, 1970
    Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is EVERYTHING. I adored this genre-bending, folklore-filled, magical YA read. It is just the kind of book that I love to read. From a Contemporary YA romance, to SCI-FI to magical realism, it has it all seamlessly interwoven in a captivating plot. From the heartfelt Sia grieving the deportation and then death of her mother, to her high school crush, to dealing with a best friend who has a crush of her own and leaves her behind, to the most bea Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is EVERYTHING. I adored this genre-bending, folklore-filled, magical YA read. It is just the kind of book that I love to read. From a Contemporary YA romance, to SCI-FI to magical realism, it has it all seamlessly interwoven in a captivating plot. From the heartfelt Sia grieving the deportation and then death of her mother, to her high school crush, to dealing with a best friend who has a crush of her own and leaves her behind, to the most beautiful and goosebump raising magical components, to the dead abuela who comes and goes, I couldn’t stop reading this book. I have shivers just thinking about the imagery I was left with and can’t get out of my mind. I can feel the nighttime air, the saguaros, and smell the scent of her grandmother. I cannot wait to see what else Raquel has up her sleeve.
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  • Haley Hope Gillilan
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this book. It just reaches into your chest and squeezes your heart. It bends genre, space, time. It is magic. It is science fiction. It is a contemporary love story. It is a generational family epic. Everything about it will just tug at you and not let you go. I absolutely fell in love with Sia and her friends and family. This book is incredibly ambitious, I will say that. I feel like at times it was teetering a little too close to the edge of it spinning off and losing control, but it never Oh this book. It just reaches into your chest and squeezes your heart. It bends genre, space, time. It is magic. It is science fiction. It is a contemporary love story. It is a generational family epic. Everything about it will just tug at you and not let you go. I absolutely fell in love with Sia and her friends and family. This book is incredibly ambitious, I will say that. I feel like at times it was teetering a little too close to the edge of it spinning off and losing control, but it never fully does. It has a certain pace to it, given the short chapters, that gives it a staccato rhythm that clips along, and you are just along for the ride. Certainly this is one of the best YA of the year.
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  • Charlie
    January 1, 1970
    The characters and atmosphere were brilliant but the middle of the story was a little hard to follow. It might just be personal preference, but I struggled connecting with the shorter chapters and I think that’s why the story didn’t click for me in the middle. Other than that, Sia, Rose (adored her), Noah and Omar really stole the show for me and the first half was really great. I also really loved the magical realism and Sia’s abuela’s stories/mythology!
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  • Kaley
    January 1, 1970
    I have an advanced reader's copy of this book and it was great! I thought the love story between Sia and Noah was swoony. The UFO and genetically modified mom were a little weird for my taste, but it definitely made the plot original. Will recommend for teens interested in conspiracy theories and space.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    Buzzfeed Books List, June 2020, "15 YA Books We Can't Wait For This Summer"
  • Book Bee NYC
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this reading experience. The story is exciting, unexpected, and packs an emotional punch. I plan on recommending to all my friends when the book comes out later this summer!
  • Jana
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing, amazing book. Review to be posted at Fantasy Literature.
  • biconique
    January 1, 1970
    the fact that this book isnt even out but its gonna become a tv series.. ugh her power.. 😩😩
  • Nesmith Library Staff
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewer: Stephanie W., 10th Grade, ✪ TAG Member ✪"As the book's title might imply, this book is a piece of art and filled with all you could think imaginable. It was beautifully written to give everyone a piece to love. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland does an amazing job putting together teen romance, immigration, culture, spirits, and of course aliens. From the outside, the book might seem to be taking on way to much, but after reading, I can tell you all the layers make the story that much richer Reviewer: Stephanie W., 10th Grade, ✪ TAG Member ✪"As the book's title might imply, this book is a piece of art and filled with all you could think imaginable. It was beautifully written to give everyone a piece to love. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland does an amazing job putting together teen romance, immigration, culture, spirits, and of course aliens. From the outside, the book might seem to be taking on way to much, but after reading, I can tell you all the layers make the story that much richer and better that it rarely feels forced. The book centers around Sia Martinez, a teenage girl who is still battling the lost of her mother to deportation and a disastrous attempt to return. Of course, Sia meets another teen who she finds herself falling for and helps her through all the crazy events that happen in this book(but I'll let you read about that on your own). Another thing to note, is Sia's incredible relationship with her grandmother who has passed. The spirits, like Sia's grandmother, haunt the story in the best possible way. I really think that it might be best not knowing what to expect when going into reading this novel. It will take you by surprise, but I promise it will warm you right up and make you feel like you are this much closer to understanding the world. "View this review and others by Nesmith Library teen patrons, and submit your own on our Teen Book Reviews page.Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the ARC!
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  • Joss
    January 1, 1970
    Mexican Jessica Jones?? I NEED this.
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