Review by Booklist Review
At 17, Mexican American Julian is deeply closeted until he gets falling-down drunk at a party and, thanks to social media, outs himself to the world--to everyone, that is, except his homophobic and physically abusive father. In the meantime, thanks again to social media, Julian has made a new friend, Vietnamese American Mat, who is also gay. The only problem? The boys live 1,500 miles apart--Julian in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Mat in sunny Los Angeles. Nevertheless, their long-distance relationship flourishes, and soon the boys are in love. But then, when someone cruelly outs Julian to his father, the man, in a rage, kicks Julian out of the house and his life. Will Julian find a new life of his own in L.A. with Mat? Perhaps, if he can go to college there, but can he afford that? Deeply moving, Villa's debut fills a longstanding need in LGBTQ+ literature for more Latinx characters, both in romantic leads and in Julian's group of loving and supportive friends. Readers familiar with Spanish will appreciate the abundant inclusion of words and phrases in the language, which contributes to the verisimilitude, at which the novel shines. A lovely, important book that deserves a wide readership.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In Corpus Christi, Tex., high school senior Juliàn Luna, called Jules, is so deep in the closet, he "could be in Narnia." He has reason: his Mexican American father, believing that Jules is a "sissy," already polices Jules's self-presentation, sometimes physically abusively. Then Jules drunkenly mixes up his social media accounts and wakes up to find that he's come out on Twitter. The good news is that his friends and older sister still love and accept him, and his soccer teammates don't much care. The really good news is that Vietnamese American Mat, a hot Los Angeles--based high school senior who slid into his DMs, is now flirting openly with him, which soon leads to the duo developing feelings for each other. But Jules is stuck in Texas, and though UCLA is his first-choice college, he's not sure he'll be accepted or be able to afford it--especially now that he's out to his father, who wants him to "get rid of that boy" and stay in Texas. Offering accessible prose that impeccably interweaves Spanish and English, Garza Villa's tender debut is sex-positive and romantic, balancing humor and heartfelt relationships even as it shows the joys and pains of one person's experience coming out. Ages 14--up. Agent: Claire Draper, the Bent Agency. (June)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up--Julián "Jules" Luna is a closeted gay teen pressured by his father to be a machismo, heteronormative Mexican American. He has endured both emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father, who refuses to allow him to acknowledge his true self. One night, a drunken tweet results in Jules inadvertently outing himself to his entire school. While some students harass him, his core group of friends supports him, and a Twitter flirtation evolves into a long-distance relationship with Mat, a Vietnamese American teen living in Los Angeles. Jules dreams of escaping Corpus Christi, TX and going to college in L.A. and being close to Mat. When a hate crime forcibly outs Jules, his dad kicks him out of the house. Relationships with the likable characters of his sister Xochi, grandfather Güelo, Mat, and friends provide comfort to Jules as he is vulnerable and adjusts to living his life authentically. Readers will empathize and connect with Jules as a well-rounded character who loves cooking, soccer, and is a vegetarian. The banter-filled, amusing, conversational writing style includes slang and Spanish terms that can be understood via context. Although parts of the story are heartbreaking and heavy, they are balanced with humor and hope, giving queer teens of color opportunities to see joy and love reflected back to them. Content warnings are advised for emotional and physical abuse, homophobia, homophobic and racist slurs, and forced outing. VERDICT Tender, touching, hopeful, and hilarious; enthusiastically recommended for all collections.--Lisa Krok, Morley Lib., Cleveland, OH
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Julián "Jules" Luna is a closeted junior who is about to have his life turned upside down. Set on leaving Texas to go to UCLA, Mexican American Jules is betting that moving 1,500 miles away will allow him the space to finally come out. Despite being surrounded by fiercely loving friends, he has accepted the duality of his closeted life, which he keeps under wraps to avoid his homophobic father's verbal and physical abuse. When a drunken night leads to his accidentally coming out on Twitter, he is catapulted into an out life, which--amazingly--includes a blossoming relationship with Mat, a Vietnamese American boy and online crush who happens to live in Los Angeles. Garza Villa's debut is buoyed by tenderness and humor amid moments of deep pain. The gay romance certainly delivers in Jules and Mat's adorable chemistry, but the real standout is the love story between Jules and his (mostly Latinx) friends as they live life to its fullest together, standing on the precipice of new beginnings before leaving for college. Jules' friendship with Jordan, his straight, Black soccer teammate, is exceptionally moving in the boys' mutual care and vulnerability. The delightfully sassy Spanglish with myriad pop-culture references seamlessly woven into the conversational prose is an added bonus. An open-hearted expression of love in its many forms. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.