Miss Meteor is a tribute to everyone who’s ever struggled to love what makes them shine

Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia. Image courtesy HarperCollins
Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia. Image courtesy HarperCollins /

Miss Meteor is a story that will transport you right back to that awkward time in your life when you thought everyone had everything figured out except for you.

Lita doesn’t know how much longer she has to live.

Well … “live” the way humans on the planet of Earth live, anyway.

So naturally, her first priority, knowing her days are limited … is to compete in a beauty pageant.

Even though she isn’t from Earth, Lita has lived there for as long as she can remember. And she has all the same worries human girls her age deal with every day: former best friends who faded away. Crushes on boys that couldn’t possibly give her a second glance. Bullies who will do anything and everything to make her feel small.

She wants to make the most of the time she has left.

When she enlists the help of her used-to-be best friend Chicky — whose sisters are former pageant contestants and know how to play the game — it becomes much harder to hide their respective secrets from each other.

That’s the one thing no one ever tells you about the small town of Meteor, New Mexico. Everyone has a secret they’d do anything to keep to themselves.

In Miss Meteor, authors Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore paint a brilliant narrative about how it feels to fear you’ll be forgotten. Lita, Chicky, and their friends are all struggling to figure out how they fit into a world that feels too big to navigate alone. Luckily, they quickly learn they don’t have to: They have each other.

This book is, on the surface, a story about a girl who wants to prove once and for all that shes’ more than what she seems. Outside appearances only showcase a small fraction of who someone truly is — no one knows this better than Lita.

One layer deeper, it’s a book about the self-destructive implications of hiding who you really are, especially from the people who care about you most.

And even deeper than that? It’s a story about the friends that help you piece together who you want to be in the world you’re all living in together.

Despite its light dusting of magic, Miss Meteor is a story anyone can relate to. There are characters like Lita and Chicky, whose friendship suffered the unbearable burden of secrets no middle-school child should have to keep. There’s Cole, whose family keeps up the facade of perfection so well that his potential love interest has no idea who he used to be.

And then there’s Kendra, who wants the best for her brother but goes about protecting him in every single wrong way possible. We’ve all known at least one person like that.

This book is an excellent reminder that none of us knows how much time we have — or what that time will look like. In times so unpredictable, perhaps we could all benefit from entering our own metaphorical beauty pageants, doing that one thing we’ve always dreamed of because who knows if we’ll get another chance?

At the very least, maybe we can learn to accept the things about ourselves that will never change, and fall for the people we’re becoming.

Next. Save Steve is not your stereotypical YA cancer love story. dark

Miss Meteor is available now wherever books are sold.