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.
- Title: Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
- Author: Jonny Garza Villa
- Publisher: Skyscape
- Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, YA
- Age Range: YA
- Trigger warnings: homophobic slurs (pejorative), homophobia, n word(pejorative), anti-black racism, internalized homophobia, abusive family member(physically and emotionally), gaslighting, hate crime a graffiti of a homophobic slur, panic attack, mentions of death of a grandparent, mentions of death of a parent, disownment, descriptions of PTSD, depressive episodes, some exploration of grief, references to underage drinking, some graphic allusions to sex, bullying
- Rating: ★★★★☆
Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun opens with one of the most thoughtful author’s notes I’ve seen in a while; I truly appreciate Jonny Garza Villa’s author’s note which contains trigger warnings, and an acknowledgment that it’s okay to not read the book if you aren’t ready.
I’ve been looking forward to reading FIfteen Hundred Miles from the Sun ever since I heard about it, with its One Day at Our Time meets Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda comparison titles, and even more so after I got to interview Jonny for the blog!
Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun follows Julián — or Jules, a high school senior, who accidentally comes out on the wrong twitter account while drunk. When his twitter crush Mat slides into his DMs, the two of them fall into a deep friendship, and then later, something more. As someone who admittedly spends far too much time on Twitter, I loved reading about a Twitter mutuals-to-lovers relationship. Some of my closest friends are people I’ve met through twitter, and friends of mine have found love through Twitter too. That being said, I did spend a little time being like “Oh dear!! Internet Safety!!” during this book, but that’s neither here nor there.
The overall tone of Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is hurt/comfort, and that bleeds through into every sentence. It’s a balanced mix of hurt, and comfort, although there were some heavier scenes to the point that I had to put the book down for a little bit. Despite all the hurt that’s displayed, I think it’s important to note that their culture is never once villainized, which I really appreciated. While the main synopsis of the book is centered around Jules-and-Mat, this book is unequivocally Jules’ story.
Through a first-person POV, we’re given insight into how Jules is thinking and feeling at any given moment, making some of the scenes with his father that much more difficult to read. I repeatedly wanted to wrap Jules in a big hug, and tell him that everything would be okay. That he’d be able to make it out, and that things would be better. Because of this, it was also incredibly easy to put myself in his shoes, and to root for his happy ending. His character arc was wonderful to read about; to watch him grow and settle into his identity, to stand up for himself, and for him to find joy despite everything.
If you love hurt/comfort and the found family trope (and you’re in the right mindspace to read), Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is one you can’t miss. The found family trope is so strong, with Jules’ supportive friend group being there for him every step of the way. I loved every single one of them; Jordan, Itzel, Lou, Piña, and Rolie were such supportive friends, and eerily reminiscent of my own friend group.
I would be remiss if I also didn’t talk about Jules’ relationship with his sister, Xo, and his relationship with his grandfather, who he calls Güelo. Jules’ relationship with his sister and Güelo were one of my favorite parts of the book. It was evident how much love and support flowed between them; how much they both cared about him.
One of my favorite things about Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is how the author doesn’t stop to explain cultural references, or translate Spanish. As a reader of color, who grew up reading about countless white people things (I still have so many questions), it makes me so happy to see characters of color being their true, authentic selves without any translations — and for authors of color to be able to write that authenticity. Also, Google is free, and readers should be able to do their own research.
Mat, the love interest, was an interesting character for me. I couldn’t really connect with him, but I did love how much he truly cared about Jules, and was willing to give Jules space when he needed it. I think overall, I just struggled with the lack of character development he went through. Which is fine; it’s Jules’ story, not his. I also thought it was surprising how quickly Mat and Jules’ relationship developed, and think I would’ve enjoyed it more if we’d gotten to read about their relationship, rather than being given a montage/highlights reel of how they fell for each other.
Overall, I really enjoyed Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun, and would recommend it to readers who are fans of found family, hurt/comfort, and in a headspace where they’re able to read something a little heavier. I would highly, highly encourage you to check out ownvoices reviewers, such as these ones.
Jonny (not pronoun particular) is a product of the Great State of Texas, born and raised near and along the Gulf Coast and currently living on unceded Jumanos and Tonkawa land. They are a Sagittarius sun, Capricorn moon, and Aquarius rising; an Earth Bender (but will also accept Fire Bender only if they can be a Sun Warrior); and a proud chaotic neutral.
They are an author of young adult literature, mostly within the contemporary genre and usually #OwnVoices, inspired by their own Tejanx & Chicanx and queer identities. Whether they’re writing about coming out in a Mexican American household, immigration, mariachi, or being in a brand new place for the first time, Jonny ultimately hopes Latinx young people feel seen in their writing.
When not writing, Jonny enjoys reading, playing Dungeons and Dragons, bar hopping, listening to Selena, and spending hours on airline websites, considering all the places they might disappear to for a month if they weren’t so poor.