I am a huge fan of Lilliam Rivera ever since The Education of Margot Sanchez. Rivera is one of those authors that I always keep up with and We Light Up the Sky being SF made it even better! If you have loved Rivera’s characters and are excited for YA SF this is for you! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Pedro, Luna, and Rafa may attend Fairfax High School together in Los Angeles, but they run in separate spheres. Pedro is often told that he’s “too much” and seeks refuge from his home life in a local drag bar. Luna is pretending to go along with the popular crowd but is still grieving the unexpected passing of her beloved cousin Tasha. Then there’s Rafa, the quiet new kid who is hiding the fact that his family is homeless.
But Pedro, Luna, and Rafa find themselves thrown together when an extraterrestrial visitor lands in their city and takes the form of Luna’s cousin Tasha. As the Visitor causes destruction wherever it goes, the three teens struggle to survive and warn others of what’s coming–because this Visitor is only the first of many. But who is their true enemy–this alien, or their fellow humans? Can Pedro, Luna, and Rafa find a way to save a world that has repeatedly proven it doesn’t want to save them?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
We Light Up the Sky is an action packed SF until the very end. In an almost omniscient way, Rivera skips us between Pedro, Luna, and Rafa’s perspective. One of my favorite elements had to be Luna’s experiences with grief. The way that people think that at some point, one should be over it. Each one of these characters bring something heart wrenching to We Light Up the Sky. Something human and emotional to this SF.
In many ways, We Light Up the Sky is about the things we don’t pay attention to, until they crash into us. About the way the world doesn’t just stop when our world does. While it’s very much about this new invasion, War of the Worlds style, it’s also about our ghosts and regrets which come back to haunt us. I loved to witness the unfolding interactions between these three characters, to see their relationships developing. And Rivera’s story forces them to confront both the memory of Tasha and their knowledge of who they are.
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Towards the end, I just wish there was more space devoted to a truly twisty ending! I just needed a little more time to really process that because wow. I would read pages more of Rivera’s characters – which are always my favorite element – and so would have just enjoyed a bit more at the end. That being said, We Light Up the Sky is still an action packed SF that forces us to examine who we are at the end. It’s definitely a must read for YA SF! Find We Light Up the Sky on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.