Book Review

Book Review: Once Upon A Quinceañera by Monica Gomez-Hira

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Monica Gomez-Hira
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 2nd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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. 


This book really took me back. I was in a few friends quince’s growing up and all of the practicing, trying on dresses and learning new dances reminded me of the wonderful times those were.

There were many many ups and downs in Carmen’s journey. I think there was a bit tooooo much drama for me. Now that I’m thinking on it, I don’t remember many people giving out genuine apologies? Things felt brushed under the rug, even at the end. Carmen spent the entire (no, really) book angry. So angry at everything. I love a good character arc, but waiting until 95% to give it, was definitely too long to wait. Way more development was needed.

Mauro was super sweet at least! I liked his efforts in reconnectiong and understanding what happened intitially between him and Carmen. The enemies to lovers (+ second chance) trope is always a good decision so I wasn’t mad about that.

The plot was there and I enjoyed what I got overall. It was muddled on and off with many tangents that I didn’t know what the main focus was supposed to be. I didn’t like but maybe 2 (of the many) side characters. Nobody ever got better. No growth to be found by anyone who deseperately needed it. Waverly was an unsung hero and I wish more focus had been put on her friendship with Carmen.

Other aspects like Carmen working for a company that dresses up and princesses/princes for parties was fun. The parties with the little kids made me smile and was wholesomely sweet. Carmen’s video-editing hobby was really cool too! I would have loved to have seen even more of that as well.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door scenes
  • Violence: a lot of yelling and familial conflicts, brief physical altercation
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: brief mention of sexual harrassment in the first chapter or two

Instagram || Goodreads

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