Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira is an entertaining story about a summer internship that takes a turn. I enjoyed the tension of the family drama, and I was excited to finally see a book about a quinceañera. While the concept has promise, I found the execution wasn’t as strong as it could have been, and parts of the book drag. However, those looking for a fun and unique romcom will enjoy this one.
Title: Once Upon a Quinceañera
Author: Monica Gomez-Hira
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Jenny Han meets "Jane the Virgin" in this flashy and fun Own Voices romcom from debut author Monica Gomez-Hira.
Carmen Aguilar just wants to make her happily ever after come true. Except apparently “happily ever after” for Carmen involves being stuck in an unpaid summer internship! All she has to do is perform! In a ball gown! During the summer. In Miami.
Fine. Except that Carmen’s company is hired for her spoiled cousin Ariana’s over the top quinceañera.
And of course, her new dance partner at work is none other than Mauro Reyes, Carmen’s most deeply regrettable ex.
If Carmen is going to move into the future she wants, she needs to leave the past behind. And if she can manage dancing in the blistering heat, fending off Mauro’s texts, and stopping Ariana from ruining her own quinceañera Carmen might just get that happily ever after after all.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira
After quitting her internship as a video editor, Carmen finds herself working for an party company over the summer in order to graduate from high school. Her duties involve dressing up as Belle for children’s parties, but things get more complicated when her cousin, who she hasn’t spoken to in years, books the company for her quinceañera. Tension rises when Carmen’s ex-boyfriend returns to Miami and ends up working for the same company, as the Beast. This one has such a fun concept, and going behind the scenes with Carmen as she works as a party princess is an interesting experience. There are also themes of family, which I always love to see, and I enjoyed the dynamics between Carmen’s and her cousin’s family.
❀ Main Character is Hard to Connect With
Carmen is an independent and realistic character. I really felt for her, as she never got a quinceañera of her own and has to help her cousin, who is the reason why Carmen’s quinceañera was cancelled, get everything she couldn’t. Carmen has been hurt by many people, and she rightfully feels a lot of anger, but sometimes her actions as a result of this anger made me dislike her. Normally, I love to see flawed characters, but in this case, I had trouble connecting with her.
❀ Characters are One-Dimensional
My biggest issue with the book is the execution. There are many points throughout the story with a lot of backstory all at once, and this reduces the tension and makes everything drag. I also found many of the characters to be one-dimensional, and I would have especially liked to see more about Carmen’s cousin. Because of this, I found myself getting bored about halfway through the book.
❀ A Fresh Story
Once Upon a Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hirais a fresh story about party planning and family drama. I loved the parts of the book that feature Carmen’s experiences as Belle, and she is an easy character to sympathize with. However, I wasn’t a fan of the infodumps throughout the book that make the story drag. I would still recommend this one, though, to those who have an interest in the subject of quinceañeras.