Once Upon A Quinceanera by Monica Gomez-Hira
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.
Once Upon A Quinceanera was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I loved it!
Carmen lives with her mom in Miami. Her father left when she was a baby. Three years earlier, there was a falling out with Carmen, her mom, her aunt, and her cousin. Because of this, Carmen never had a Quince. She dated a boy, Mauro, that had a famous photographer dad. I guess they weren’t dating so much as hooking up. Things did not end well. The falling out started when Carmen took her twelve year old cousin, Ariana, to Mauro’s party and she drank. Carmen called the police and Mauro was sent away to school. After that, Carmen didn’t really date. She fooled around with boys, but that’s it. She did have a huge crush, Alex.
Carmen needs to finish a job during the summer to get her missed high school diploma. She ends up working with her best friend, Waverly, at Dreams Come True. She had to dress up as Belle and perform for children at parties. The Beast was late and finally showed up and it wasn’t the boy who normally played him. Carmen recognized the voice and it was Mauro. That was the start of her summer problems. Her mom also made up with her aunt and Carmen ended up as part of Ariana’s Quince. The whole Dreams team had to perform there and became a part of the court. Carmen could not forgive Ariana about the past, so there was a lot of tension. Ariana was the perfect princess and Carmen felt bad about all the things Ariana got.
Carmen had some serious trust issues and abandonment issues. It didn’t help that her mom was so jaded about her past. It makes Carmen push people away since they’ll leave anyway. I kind of wanted to smack her at times, but I understood why she was that way. She did start falling for Mauro again, but that didn’t go smoothly either.
I just really enjoyed everything about this book. I laughed out loud a few times and could picture a lot of the scenes. I will definitely read another book by the author. Another thing I liked was the mixture of Spanish and English throughout the book.
I gave this book 5 stars.
Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my earc.
Warnings for sexism, inappropriate conduct by an older male, underage drinking, parental abandonment, and a bit of slut shaming.
Have you read this yet? Is it on your TBR?