Written in verse, Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela is a coming-of-age story with a science fiction edge.
This punchy and incisive tale follows 13-year-old Anamaría, who is growing up in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Anamaría is full of tween angst and her bold inner monologue is cheeky and fun to read. She is trying to keep up with her grades and is dealing with the stress of school. One day, a 30-year-old woman comes up to her claiming to be Anamaría from the future. 13-year-old Anamaría is hesitant to believe “Thirty,” and the novel’s plot begins in earnest, taking the reader on a both heartwarming and heartbreaking adventure.
13-year-old Anamaría is growing up in the 90s, with the backdrop of the missing women and girls of Ciudad Juarez. She has many ideas of what her life will be like when she is older, and as a reader, we get to hear all about her concerns and dreams for the future. When she is directly confronted with the knowledge what happens via Thirty, she doesn’t believe it. She is disappointed, intrigued, and above all curious to learn more about what her future is like. Thirty takes on the role of an older sister to Anamaría, warning her and providing advice so that she can be ready for her future. Through Thirty, Anamaría learns to love herself a little more and appreciate the time she has as a kid. As a reader, it’s interesting to see how Thirty regards some of the things that Anamaría experiences in her present. At times melancholic, there is a certain degree of yearning that the author is able to access through Thirty, which feels sincere and genuine.
Thirty has had a hard life, and the prose does not shy away from some of the darker things at play, such as depression, suicide, sexual assault, femicide, and eating disorders. Thirty may be there to teach Anamaría, but through her younger self, she heals some of the cynicism that time has placed on her shoulders. Their dynamic and the way it evolves throughout the book is one of the most compelling aspects to read. Narváez Varela carefully crafts the bond between present and future in an expert way that leaves audiences wondering what they would tell their younger selves if given the chance. Through introspective and poetic writing, Narváez Varela digs deep into the ways that the past can affect the future and ripple forward in unexpected ways.
While not a light read, Thirty Talks Weird Love takes the reader on a distinct and reflective reading experience. Read this book if you are looking for something that will leave you contemplative and stuck in deep thought!
Thirty Talks Weird Love by Alessandra Narváez Varela releases on June 8, 2021.