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Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  657 ratings  ·  237 reviews
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 si
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 11th 2020 by Simon Pulse
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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sarah xoxo
Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is a gorgeous book all the way from the prose to the themes to the beautiful cover.

This book has many layers to it and is incredibly unique. At first glance, it is a coming of age YA contemporary romance. But woven throughout are deeper topics of friendship, sexual assault, grief and immigration. Continue reading and discover sci-fi and magical realism elements. Sia Martinez is genre-bending, not easily categorised and beautifully authentic.
I had never heard of this new release until I saw it as an option for's ALC (advance listening copy) program and thought it sounded so unique, so I went ahead and downloaded it.

First off, trigger warning for death of a parent, grief, and sexual assault. Sia's mother was deported over a year ago and died trying to make her way back to American from Mexico. Sia has to go to school with the son of the officer who deported her mother and is constantly reminded of it. My heart went out to S
I was really intrigued by the premise of this book and I did enjoy it for the most part but it fell short in pulling me into the story completely. It tried to do and take on way too much, it kept jumping around from topic to topic, which sometimes felt like whiplash and it never delved too deep into any of them. I think that's the most disappointing part for me, I expected to be dealt an emotional punch but instead I'm feeling lukewarm. Still a good read though!

thank you to for an ALC o
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
This is definitely one of the most interesting books I've read - and the more I think about it, the more I love it.

- Follows Sia, a Mexican-American teen who grieves the death of her mother. When there's a new boy in town, Sia falls in love with him, but she later discovers that he has secrets of his own that are connected to Sia's mother's death. But when a spacecraft crash lands in front of her, and who is inside will upend her life.
- This is indeed a genre-bending book! The first half has e
do yourself a favour and don't read the synopsis. let yourself be surprised. I swear it'll be worth it (4.5)

trigger warnings: sexual assault, ptsd, physical abuse, parental death, racist violence

thank you and Simon Pulse for the audio listening copy
Shannon Doleski
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
The Nerd Daily
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Anuska G

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything is going to be one of the most beautiful books you ever read, and not only because of that supremely lovely cover. It tells one of those mesmerising, cosy stories that stick with you for a long time.

Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quick story: I fell in love with this title first. Then the cover. And now I am in love with what Raquel Vasquez Gilliland wrote in Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything. It's quirky, unusual, and UNIQUE.

Another story: Sometimes the book summarizes itself better than I could. And this quote just about sums it up for you:

"Aliens, government conspiracies, secret experiments. That's all unbelievable enough as it is. No need to add meddling dead abuelas to the mix."

When the syn
Aug 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3,5 stars

I definitely enjoyed the first half of the book, I liked getting to know Sia and seeing life from her perspective. I even enjoyed the rather complicated romance. But the second half was way too messy and tried to do too many things at once to be truly enjoyable. I also disliked the super short chapters, they mostly felt as if the author hit Enter after a few paragraphs and called it a chapter, it was kind of annoying.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I try not to read synopsis when I go into books. I started this book and it was so good. Then it changed for me. It became a science fiction book when it was a work of fiction when I started. I really enjoyed most of the book but the change of genre on me left me having to dock some stars. 3 1/2 🌟 from me.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
YA contemporary meets Roswell and I kind of loved it! It may not work for everyone as it subverts expectations and plays across genres, but I was a big fan.

In this debut coming of age story, Sia Martinez is grieving the death of her mother, angry at the sheriff who deported her, dealing with PTSD from a sexual assault, and grappling with everyday racism. I like that trigger warnings are included at the beginning of the books, and I loved how this handled healing from trauma in a sex-positive way
Sarah Prendergast (lifeandbookswithme)
Sia is dealing with the fact that her mother went missing after trying to cross the border illegally. She was deported by ICE after she was flagged by the local sheriff. Sia is just trying to get through the struggles of high school with the support of her father and best friend, Rose. Sia’s world is turned upside down when her mother suddenly reappears in the middle of the desert one night from a spaceship that crashes. Her mother is on the run from the government who have been illegally detain ...more
I'll start out being honest. More than anything else, I was disappointed by SIA MARTINEZ.

SIA MARTINEZ is the story of a teenaged Mexican girl, Artemisia 'Sia' Martinez, who's mother was deported. Her mother attempted to cross the desert between the USA and Mexico, and was believed to have died on the way. Sia, however, still clings to the hope that her mother's still alive—something her grandmother insisted was true while she was alive—and drives into the desert every new moon, lighting candles
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.

Jenny Moke
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sophie Elaina
Wow this was so strange and beautiful, I am in awe. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did such an astounding job at inflicting emotion, it worked so well with the author's prose. Wonderful! If this book isn't on your radar already, I hope you'll give it a chance! I love that it's being called a mix between Ari & Dante meets Roswell, because that is literally the most perfect way of describing this book. ...more
Zoë ☆

Somehow I went into this thinking it was a contemporary about growing up (like Aristotle and Dante), but it suddenly included aliens in like the second half of the book 😂 So I was a little bit surprised 🙈 However it also deals with heavy subjects such as death, grief and racism, which definitely made the book interesting enough to keep reading! 🙌🏻 Also - it has super short chapters which I always enjoy!
After Sia's mother was deported by ICE some years ago, her and her father believe her to be dead. Despite this belief, Sia visits the desert where her mother was last seen to light candles and lead her home. But in a strange turn of events, Sia begins seeing mysterious blue lights in the sky. And one night, one of those blue lights crashes to Earth. It turns out to be an alien spacecraft bearing her lost mother!

The book begins like many other realistic fiction YA novels. Sia experiences the ave
Tomes And Textiles
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read_latinx, 2020
Full reivew and photo over at TOMES AND TEXTILES.

We meet Artemisia Martinez (Sia) at the beginning of this novel 3 years after her mother disappears and dies.
Raquel took genres as suggestion and not cannon when writing this genre-bender! This book was two genres for the price of one.
The first part is straight contemporary exploitation of Sia, her grief, her world, first love. But it’s also a speculative fiction. Some of the themes it so excellently explores are so relevant: the cruelty of the
True rating 3.5/5

I highly recommend reading reviews from Own Voice reviewers to have a proper understanding of some of the themes in this novel. Please note. there are topics not suitable for some readers: sexual assault, physical abuse and sexual scenes

I don’t often come across novels that merge and twist so many genres into one. YA romance, magical realism, sci-fi and contemporary storylines probe the plot into a jumpy but fast paced read. From the synopsis the reader is aware that Sia’s mothe
Morelia (Strandedinbooks)
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 to 5 stars!


*T/CW: sexual assault, PTSD, physical abuse, death of a parent, racist violence, racial slurs, deportation

I do actually have *a few* questions, as the ending did wrap up pretty quickly, but this is me just being optimistic and hoping there will be more?? But also, these characters fucking rocked?? As did this storyline and all of these relationships? READ THIS
Katey Flowers
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

I listened to the audiobook (thanks to!) and I’m so glad I did because the narrator was fabulous. And what a story! This is heartfelt YA contemporary about a girl named Sia coming to terms with the racism and anti-immigrant sentiment that has resulted in the loss of her mother... with a scifi twist! I didn’t know much about the book before diving right in, so the SF elements took me by surprised, but it was all handled really well. Interwoven beautifully throughout was Sia’s sp
Margaret Schoen
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
Anjali (bookstersisters)
The reason I picked up this book was the blurb comparing it to Aristotle and Dante. So I went in with certain expectations.
The first half did meet up with most of my expectations.
It was slice of life, contemporary, about Sia, whose mother was deported and now she’s grappling with the fact that her mother is missing and could possibly be dead. It touches on a lot of serious issues like grief, abuse, racism etc
But the second half of the book suddenly takes a 180 degree turn which wasn’t really u
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
1 Sentence Summary: Three years after Sia Martinez’s mom was deported and declared dead, Sia is in the desert when a spaceship crashes in front of her, and in it is her mom.

My Thoughts: I really really really wanted to like this!!! The description sounded amazing! And the cover is gorgeous!!! But ughhh it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

First of all, the romance was so unnecessary. I felt absolutely no chemistry between Sia and Noah. And there was way too much sexual content.

Secondly, th
Thank you to Libro FM and their ALC program for a free audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This was freaking amazing. Also for some reason I thought this was middle grade?? Literally no idea why except for the cover design. Which makes zero sense in retrospect. Also can we normalize authors giving content warnings in the beginning of a book, because I seriously loved that.

It has been three years since Sia's mother was deported by ICE thanks to the racist jerks in
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I don't read YA often, but I am so glad I was able to enjoy this one. This book is so unique in with many different layers. It touches topics such as immigration issues, separation of family, grief, sexual assault, PTSD, teen romance, LGTQ+, and maybe some aliens. It includes some Mexican folklore. I enjoyed seeing the world through Sia's eyes. It was so nice to have my inner teen resonate with Sia. I appreciated how the romance element of this novel was realistic to Latinx family. Sia was guard ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Mandy C.
Cover Story: That's No Moon
BFF Charm: Big Sister
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Record Scratch
Bonus Factors: Culture, Aliens
Anti-Bonus Factor: Racism
Relationship Status: Conflicted

Read the full book report here.
Sam Glasbrenner (Sassyowlreads)
I really loved the first half of the book. It reads like an enjoyable contemporary that addresses serious issues like assault and racism. Mexican Folklore is blended in seamlessly and those aspects were my favorite part.

I actually struggled through the second half with the aliens. I kept putting it down and coming back to it due to not being able to get into the new alien aspect. I'm usually SFF fan but this wasn't hitting the spot for me. If anything, it was detracting from the folklore and fam
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was so freaking good!!!
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Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and painter. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2017. She’s most inspired by fog and seeds and the lineages of all things. When not writing, Raquel tells stories to her plants and they tell her stories back. She lives in Tennessee with her beloved family and mountains. Raquel has published two boo ...more

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