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Welcome to Meteor(ite), New Mexico, a guest post by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia

In this piece from Miss Meteor co-authors Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia, the authors take you to Meteor, New Mexico, a town known for two things: the space rock that crashed into the desert nearby, and the annual Miss Meteor beauty pageant. Here, main characters Chicky Quintanilla and Lita Perez take you on a tour of Meteor.

Lita: Hi there, I’m Lita Perez, contestant in the Fiftieth Annual Meteor Regional Pageant and Talent Competition Showcase (otherwise known as the Miss Meteor pageant), here to show you some of our town’s most famous sites. I’m lucky to be joined today by my pageant manager, Chicky Quintanilla.

Chicky: *Looks at Lita* Me now? Okay, uh, hi I’m Chicky. Kind of a behind the scenes person really. I usually leave the Vaseline smiling and baton twirling to Lita. Too soon? Sorry. But come on, it was pretty funny, right?

 Lita: In the distance you’ll see some of the most beautiful cactuses in New Mexico, each one with their own personality and astrological sign (no really, ask Chicky). Everyone wave hello to Señora Strawberry, who, as you probably guessed from the streamers, recently had a birthday!

Chicky: Also the important historical site of meetings of our destructive witch coven, responsible for basically any ruckus that gets kicked up around town. I mean seriously, we’re very dangerous people. Steer clear.

 Lita: On our right is the Meteor Meteorite Museum, housing one of the most stunning space rocks in the world. This crown jewel from the sky crash-landed into this very desert more than fifty years ago. And no, that has nothing to do with me, it’s just an astronomy fact, why, what did you hear? Okay moving on…

 Chicky: Yeah, also the historical place where Junior Cortes, famous Meteor artist, painted all the cornhole boards for every tournament for the last five years. But also the site where he traitorously practiced that infamous non-sport in absolute secret even from his alleged friend and soon to be girlfriend. Sorry I’m probably doing this wrong, but that wasn’t very cash money of him, and I felt like the world should know.

 Lita: A trip to Meteor would never be complete without a stop at Selena’s Diner, owned and operated by the Quintanillas. Don’t miss their world famous nopal grilled cheese and jalapeño cupcakes!

Chicky: Yeah, just don’t come on Wednesdays after school if you want to be able to actually eat the food. Fresa’s on the grill that day and she’s more into her reflection in the spatula than actually preparing something edible. *Coughs* I mean uh, come every day or I’ll be wearing Converse with a hole in the heel all winter. Ha.

Lita: And there is one other reason people come from miles around to visit Meteor. But that’s probably not a secret I should tell just yet, so you might have to stick around to find out. 

 Chicky: Um, what she said. And sorry for the mumbling. *Looks at Lita* Are we done now? I’m starving.

Meet the authors

Photo credit: Christina Grout

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, raised in the same town as the world’s largest wisteria vine, and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers, When the Moon Was Ours, Wild Beauty, Blanca & Roja, and Dark and Deepest Red.

Photo credit: Tia Reagan

Tehlor Kay Mejia is an Oregon native and the author of  the YA novels We Set the Dark on Fire and We Unleash the Merciless Storm and the middle grade novel Paola Santiago and the Drowned Palace. Her short fiction has appeared in the All Out and Toil & Trouble anthologies from Harlequin Teen. You can find her on Twitter @tehlorkay.

About Miss Meteor

Miss Meteor

A gorgeous and magical collaboration between two critically acclaimed, powerhouse YA authors offers a richly imagined underdog story perfect for fans of Dumplin’ and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

There hasn’t been a winner of the Miss Meteor beauty pageant who looks like Lita Perez or Chicky Quintanilla in all its history.

But that’s not the only reason Lita wants to enter the contest, or her ex-best friend Chicky wants to help her. The road to becoming Miss Meteor isn’t about being perfect; it’s about sharing who you are with the world—and loving the parts of yourself no one else understands.

So to pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, Lita and Chicky are going to have to forget the past and imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough—they are everything.

ISBN-13: 9780062869913
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/22/2020
Age Range: 14 – 17 Years

From Amanda’s review: This layered story with fantastic characters shows that trying to blend in sometimes just hides the many wonderful ways you were made to stand out. Like Chicky and Lita find out, there is space for you. You belong, just as you are.


  1. […] Welcome to Meteor(ite), New Mexico, a guest post by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia […]

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