Thirty Talks Weird Love

By Booklist

Narváez Varela’s poignant debut, a novel in verse, tells of Anamaria Aragón Sosa, a 13-year-old girl living in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, in 1999, whose life is forever altered by the appearance of her 30-year-old self during one of the darkest periods of her existence. Young Anamaria’s life is full of worry, fear, and doubt. News of the terrifying femicides in Ciudad Juárez surrounds her, determining her liberties (or lack thereof), and the pressure of performing at the academy she attends threatens to crush her in every waking moment, even as she suffers from bullying classmates and works at her family’s taqueria in any spare moments outside of school. Telling her story through a series of alternately cheeky, macabre, and serious vignettes about her family members, the city, and her classmates, Anamaria experiments with poetry structures and formats as she explores young womanhood and self-love, composing sentimental letters to her current and older selves and salvaging friendships gone sour. As readers meet her parents, friends, and other allies, she opens up about serious mental-health concerns and personal trauma, all conveyed through her relatable persona. Fans of The House on Mango Street or The House of the Spirits will be riveted by the question of whether Anamaria can protect the girls of Ciudad Juárez—and herself—from horrifying fates.