Title: Once Upon a Quinceanera
Author: Monica Gomez-Hira
Published: March 2, 2021
Format: e-ARC, thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss!!
Blurb from GR:
“Jenny Han meets “Jane the Virgin” in this flashy and fun Own Voices romcom from debut author Monica Gomez-Hira.
Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.
Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.
And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.
If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.”
I was so excited when I got the chance to read this for review. Oh, to preface, receiving and ARC has no way influenced my opinions. They are my own and honest thoughts. Anyways, I love reading a book about my own culture.
I loved many of the side characters in this book. I think Waverly might have been my favorite of the whole book. I had a hard time connecting to the main character, Carmen. She has a lot of baggage and I mean a lot. Her dad left when she was younger and they are not speaking to her mom’s side of the family. We get a lot of backstories because there’s a lot of things that have happened in the past. Carmen didn’t get a Quinceanera and her cousin is having one now. The funny part is that this is the same aunt that canceled Carmen’s, four years ago.
Carmen knows how to hold onto a grudge and how to really go there. She takes things too far and is the most stubborn person I have ever met. She blames everything on everyone else and never wants to take any of the blame. The amount of jealousy and pettiness is quite hard to take. I think this takes a lot away from the overall story. It was just too much and made me uncomfortable.
Mauro is looking for a second chance after being terrible four years ago. I liked him and the love story was okay. It was a very slow one. I think there’s a lot of petty things that get in the way here. He puts up with a lot. He kind of deserves it because he was a jerk in the past. Still.. it’s a lot to handle with all Carmen’s drama.
The pacing of the book was a tad slower than I would like. It took a lot for the plot to actually get going. This is a heavily character-driven book and I usually don’t mind it. I just disliked Carmen. I don’t even know if the ending redeemed her enough in my eyes.
The ending of the book was good. I also loved the information and bit of traditions we get to see with the Quinceanera overall. I think I just wanted much more from this book than I got. It’s cute at times and it was a really easy read. I just had a hard time getting engrossed with Carmen’s overall attitude.