Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And have the chance to move away from Corpus Christi, Texas, and the suffocating expectations of others that have forced Jules into an inauthentic life.
Then in one reckless moment, with one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. The downside: the whole world knows, and Jules has to prepare for rejection. The upside: Jules now has the opportunity to be his real self.
Then Mat, a cute, empathetic Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into Jules’s DMs. Jules can tell him anything. Mat makes the world seem conquerable. But when Jules’s fears about coming out come true, the person he needs most is fifteen hundred miles away. Jules has to face them alone.
Jules accidentally propelled himself into the life he’s always dreamed of. And now that he’s in control of it, what he does next is up to him.
Lo siento, this review is sooooo late, but I’m finally catching up with everything I lost track of this summer.
Jules is a fairly typical Catholic school kid: he plays soccer, has a great friend group, and is trying to get into a good college. Because of his strict homophobic father, coming out is not an option, which is why Jules plans to wait until college.
But plans don’t always go as… planned. Luckily, Jules has support from his friends and his older sister and his Twitter crush Mat, a Vietnamese-American teen who lives in Los Angeles. The two boys talk all the time, but falling in love with someone who lives fifteen hundred miles away is completely bananas, right? They’ve never even met in person!
There’s a strong cast of secondary characters, and quite frankly, I would read a spinoff with most of those kids. I have a special place in my heart for Lou, whose voice I could hear based solely on written words.
And how could I not mention Mat? Even though he’s not a POV character, he’s still an integral part of the book. He’s an amazing boyfriend—supportive and caring—I loved the way he and Jules shared their respective cultural background with each other.
This book is an homage to a Latinx adolescence in Texas. The characters frequently lapse into Spanglish, and the descriptions of food had me ready to hop on a plane. This native Californian even smiled at Jules hating on In N Out.
Okay, I’m going to try to keep this vague to avoid spoilers, but as a mom, I appreciated the conversations about safe sex. Sure, kids learn about all that in health class, but it’s always refreshing to see it modeled in the media they consume.
I would absolutely recommend Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun. There’s some pretty heavy content with Jules’ accidental (self) outing, but there are plenty of lighter moments, like the constant banter with Jules and his friends. Jules’ “St. Caucasian” description of his school’s soccer opponents has lived in my head since I first read this book; it makes me smile all the time. Jonny Garza Villa is an amazingly talented author, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
I received a digital ARC of this book from Skyscape/NetGalley.