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The Mixtape to My Life

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Justin Ortega might as well be starring in his very own coming-of-age 80s movie. If only he could find his dream boy to pull up in front of his house in a red convertible and sweep him off his feet, already! At seventeen years young, he isn’t quite Mexican enough for his South Texas town; isn’t manly enough for his father; can sometimes be too much of a smart mouth for his ...more
Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published March 27th 2020 by Deep Hearts YA
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I really wish that I enjoyed The Mixtape to My Life more, especially since it's Jake Martinez's first book, but I found it to be a rough read to get through.

I've read numerous books with a similar feel and setting (Something Like Summer, Pictures of You), and though I enjoyed having a Mexican-American MC in this story, it wasn't enough to make this story stand out. The other books, frankly, were just better written, and that's including Something Like Summer, which I didn't even like.

I thought
Apr 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, netgalley, lgbtqia
Thanks go out to NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I feel like I sleep-walked through this entire book. None of it sank in or gripped me like I wanted it to, and I’m disappointed... but I’m angry, too, for wasting my time. I feel a little awful for saying that, as it’s Mr. Martinez’s debut, but I have to be honest. It’s just a muddled mess of high school angst, cringe-inducing encounters, unconvincing romance, and a steady bombardment of
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is YA coming of age book set in the 90’s. Our main character is Justin Ortega, who lives in South Texas. Justin loves his music especially music from the 80’s and is in the band in school. Justin is gay and at the start of the book only one other person knows this.

Justin as person in the book doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. He feels he isn’t quite Mexican enough for some people in the place he lives . He feels he only really has one friend and anyone in school doesn’t like him.
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
i got thru 21% of this and so far:

- mc compared eyes of his crush to eyes of his mom
- mc's friend pulled his pants and underwear down in public, specifically in front of mc's crush's house
- mc admitted to his friend and friend's gf that he never kissed anyone, so the girl kissed him without saying a word about it
- and then made the friend kiss him too, which the mc also didn't see coming
- it wasn't just a peck, they friench kissed

on top of that, the writing is dry and repetitive, and uninviting
Finitha Jose
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I do love coming-of-age stories. The unpredictable future, pressure from peers and the desire for recognition . . . teenage years are the worst. Sigh! But you are going to be a hard nut to crack once you successfully manage to thwart the crisis. Quite predictably reading these stories never fail to produce in me the satisfying smirk of a veteran.
This is the story of Justin Ortega, who as per his teacher's opinion cannot even pronounce his name correctly. In other words, he is called a coconut.
Moony (The Burglar Baggins) MeowPoff
Got this ARC from Netgalley
Sadly, this book wasn`t for me. I wasn`t invested in the story or the characters ._. I really wanted to be, plus the front was cool! But it just wasn`t for me.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I had two big issues with this book: 1) too much gushy romance and not enough music, and 2) the timeline of the story was incredibly unrealistic. The entire story takes place over two weeks during summer vacation. To get from point A to point B during that timeframe was ridiculous. I won't tell you what point B is so as to not spoil the book, but I will tell you that my eyes rolled. Add to this the excess teeny bop romance and I cringed through most of the book. I didn't care that it was two mal ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was a struggle to get through and an even bigger struggle to rate. I really wanted to bump this up to a three because I feel like the author's heart is in the right place and the message was good in theory but I really hated the execution and can't rate it above a two because of that.

The writing was pretty bland and repetitive, I definitely wasn't a fan. The more I read the more I got used to it but in the beginning it was so jarring I wanted to dnf it - the only reason I didn't was becaus
May 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I'm kind of on the fence about this book, I thought it was an okay read but I also felt like the writing was a bit juvenile and the characters weren't my favorite.

This is set in 1994, so being gay is less tolerated and Justin has to hide who he is for fear of being bullied at school or disowned by his parents. I felt for Justin in his struggles, finding love for the first time and trying to sort out your feelings. He also had a lot of drama with his friends. Benny has been his best friend for t
Mar 30, 2020 rated it liked it
eARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a wild ride. I have very mixed feelings about this book. I definitely liked it but there were some parts that just left me weirded out or I just felt mweh about.

The mixtape to my life is a YA coming-of-age story that follows Justin Ortega, a 17-year-old southern Texan gay boy, who loves music. Justin is in the band at school which isn't exactly making his dad happy because it isn't manly enough. Justin feels like his dad is di
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtqia, ya, 2020
Thank to you Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Listen. I really wish that I would have loved this book because it has a lot of potential. Stories like Justin's are important. Not just because of his sexuality, but because of his race, his looks (I LOVE that he is described as chubby) and his personality, which does not match with the toxic masculinity that's all around him. All of this is made especially important because the story takes place in the nineties,
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
*My thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC on Netgalley in exchange for a fair review*

The Mixtape to My Life is a YA coming-of-age story about Justin Ortega, a gay 17-year-old boy who, like many people his age, is desperately trying to find his place in the world. He is coming into his sexuality, finally learning to accept himself, even if others are not quite ready to do so yet. Fearful of his family finding out, Justin hides this aspect of his life and escapes into his favorite
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An introvert, shy teenager struggles to navigate the demands of an ordinary world as he tries to come to terms with his sexual identity in Martinez’s poignant coming-of-age story set in the early 90s.

Seventeen-year-old Justin Ortega is at the brink of adulthood, but barely knows his own place in the world. Tired of trying to be someone else for the sake of his family, Justin’s only comfort is the mixtapes of 80s hair metal bands and his friendship with adorable Benny. But when an old friend mov
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
To be honest I had a hard time with this book.
At first it was hard for me to like Justin. It got better during the book because his passion for music and his overall believes but he still stayed way to childish for me. Maybe it is because YA novels these days often have very mature protagonists, but the characters in this book felt really childish and thoughtless at times.
The book per se felt way too rushed and extreme. The actions didn't fit with each other smoothly, more like walking down st
Georgia Fradico
Okay, it was a good book to pass the time, and the romance was sweet. It deals with homophobia and machismo and bullying. But the friendships here bothered me SO MUCH. There's something that the alleged "best friend" does that was very hurtful to read, especially as a queer person. The way the situation was handled was even worse. The two MC's friends were written in a very strange way, it seemed like the author gave them a new personality every time they were in a scene. The write is not amazin ...more
Jodie "Bookish"  Cook
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
H. Taylor
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I read the mixtape to my life by Jake Martinez a little under a week ago at this point and I have to say, while I enjoyed it while reading, ultimately, it’s pretty…forgettable. I’m not sure I can even recount exactly what it’s about at this stage. From what I do remember, it’s a YA coming of age book, set in the 90s.
Our MC Justine lives in south Texas and is in the band. He loves music and is going for a captain’s position in the band that has only ever been a girl’s role. His band mates bully
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
*ARC given by Netgalley*

This was a cute story about getting to be comfortable into your own skin, fighting all the obstacles life throws at you, while also navigating being a teenager in love.
The writing was easy to get into, but I had some issues with the story, though. For 60% more or less, we get a boy trying to be captain of his school band, meeting again an old crush (a bit of instalove here), having parents telling him to "be a man", and getting bullied by really awful human beings. Then t
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really love books like this and think they are extremely invaluable to the Young Adults who read them. That being said, this was everything typical of a high school kid in the 80's.

Justin Ortega is a Junior in high school where he's bullied and been called slurs against his sexuality. He's got a straight best friend that now has a girlfriend and he's dealing with the emotions of losing his best friend to a girl, coming to grips with the fact that his bully has taken marching band away from him
I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Man. I'm starting to feel like I have bad luck with the YA contemporary novels I read this year.

This book had the potential to be such a wonderful and cute book, but unfortunately it didn't wow me enough. I wasn't invested in the characters, nor the plot, nor the romance. It pains me to say this, but all I have for this book is plain indifference. I really had hopes for this one! The two stars are for the Mexican-Am
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
I got an ARC from Netgally

This was such a quick read! I've been in a crazy reading slump, but I still managed to read it within a few hours, and I really needed that.
The story is really good and the characters were really great.
The ending felt a little rushed and I had a few issues with a few things, but it was still a solid and good read!
Apr 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbtqiap
changed my review from two starts to one after sitting with it for a while because literally wtf??

- justin is annoying and whiny and all of his friends seem to enable his behaviour
- dominic is super creepy and kinda controlling (view spoiler)
- dominic outs justin without
Veronica of V's Reads
3.5 Stars.

Justin Ortega is a high school junior growing up in South Texas in the mid-1990s. He's sure he's gay, and has come out to his best friend Benny, who is an ally. Justin's father is a high school football coach, and his hard-line stances clash with Justin who is the definition of non-confrontational. There's a culture clash with Justin's Mexican-American parents, who are religious and highly suspicious of his friendship with Benny. They also don't make light-skinned Justin, or his younge
Apr 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, lgbt, 2020, latinx
This book was okay. It was pretty short so I don't regret reading it as I got through it in a few hours, but it's not an absolute favourite.

There were a few things I didn't like:

1. The book was short. This was okay, considering I got through it a lot faster, but I think the many wild things that happen in the book needed more time to play out. It all felt rushed.

2. The way Justin is treated at certain points in the book was pretty bad, and he still apologized. His best friend calls him the f-sl
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
A huge thank you to Big Hearts YA via Net Galley for providing me with this arc in exchange for an honest review.

This was a huge bust for me. I honestly expected to love it because I grew up in the 90′s and have a huge appreciation for 80′s hair bands. I was totally expecting a throwback to my childhood while reading some reconnection romance and that is just...not at all what I got from this.

I’m not even sure how to describe how I feel about this in a coherent or cohesive manner either because
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
When a teenager's fantasy of happily ever after is right around the corner, will he embrace his identity to make it come true?

It's 1994 and Justin Ortega is a poetry writing, marching band nerd who happens to be gay in South Texas. His best friend is a mouthy dork named Benny. And his favorite music is 80's hair bands. Oh, and did I mention his dad is the football coach? Things are stacked against him for his junior year in high school, but he battles on against the bullying and bigotry by writi
delph ✨
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Full review on my blog.

An e-ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

I think The Mixtape to my Life had everything to be one of my favorite book : it is a queer story and it tackles hard hitting subjects. But for some reasons, somewhere along the way, it misses the mark. I mean, I still liked the book — at least enought for me to rate it three stars — but I’m not even sure I would recommend it. Strange, isn’t
Justin Ortega might as well be starring in his very own coming-of-age 80s movie. If only he could find his dream boy to pull up in front of his house in a red convertible and sweep him off his feet, already! At seventeen years young, he isn’t quite Mexican enough for his South Texas town; isn’t manly enough for his father; can sometimes be too much of a smart mouth for his mother; and as for the other kids at school—let’s just say he’d be cast as the quiet nerd with a heart of gold…and an ear fo ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, ya-historical, lgbtq
THE MIXTAPE TO MY LIFE by Jake Martinez | Grade: B | No spoilers ahead.

The premise of an LGBT teen from conservative South Texas was one I had not seen done before, so I was eager to read it. Another compelling aspect, after reading about the author, is that it seems to be at least partially autobiographical. Both of these things got me excited for this quick read. However, this read let me down in several ways. The least of which was the plot. I actually genuinely liked the plot. My only critic
Z Aung
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
NOTE: I read this as an ARC via NetGalley

This was more of a 3.5 that I rounded up to a 4.

I am usually not a big fan of YA contemp, but I picked this up based on the cover and I do not regret it at all. For the record, I'm an SEA diasporan, so while I can't say that I know exactly what Justin Ortega feels like I was wholly sympathetic with how much of an outcast he felt among his own community.

Like Justin, I cannot speak my mother language and anything I say comes out wrong, and boy have I been
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