“Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun” is a perfect blend of fluffy YA contemporary romance, mixed with the heartbreaking reality of what it can be like for gay teens to come out when they have a toxic parent who is forever full of criticisms. Jules is a sweet, young man who longs to live authentically, but is rightly afraid of what his father may do if he were to know the truth. Jules believes the freedom he so craves to live openly exists only in going to college in Los Angeles, far away from his father in Texas. But when Jules accidentally comes out on Twitter while drunk during a house party with his best friends (they’re all seniors in HS), Jules realizes that he didn’t always have to hide—well, not from everyone.
The author starts their book with a note about the kind of trigger warnings you’ll find, so I do encourage you to read that before diving in. Some parts can be incredibly hard for queer identifying people as Jules’ father is a very traditional MAN and has very outdated views of what and how men are supposed to be and act, and he is not above beating those ideals into his son. It can be devastating to read, especially as, despite everything, Jules still loves his father. But, that being said, this book was incredibly beautiful with how Jules’ friends treat him after the “incident”. His support group is phenomenal and so strong; I really loved each of his friends and their group as a whole and how they defend each other, and also tease each other constantly.
I often found myself wanting to skim ahead in the story, not because I was bored, but because I wanted to make sure things were going to turn out ok for Jules before I dove into a new chunk of chapters! Besides having a cute long-distance romance between high school seniors, this book also manages to capture the exquisite pain and torture of waiting to hear from the colleges you applied to, and the impact rejection letters can have on teens. I’m well past a decade from having done that, but the author captures those feelings so well that I was immediately transported back to that fragile time, so take that as you will.
“Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun”, even with its moments of pain, was a cute, easy, own voices story to read of a young man coming into his own. I loved watching Jules grow and thrive! Did I want his sister to stand up for him more to their dad? Yes. Did the ending of the book feel like it went on a bit too long? Also, yes (which is why this is getting 4 stars). But otherwise, I think this debut novel would be perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli, Aidan Thomas, and Adam Silvera with it’s beautiful, and (mostly) positive portrayal of a gay man coming out, his experiences, and how that fits into the love he has for his Mexican American heritage (seriously, this book talks about so much yummy food that I was constantly hungry reading it). I can’t wait to see what lays ahead for this author!
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