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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Set in the year 1995, The Mixtape to the Real Me: The Mixtape Chronicles is a young adult coming-of-age story by Jake Martinez. Justin Ortega and Dominic Mendoza are two teenagers in love studying at Garza High in South Texas. However, the place and time they live in force them to keep their relationship a secret from their social circle. But the arrival of a new student in class who unabashedly introduces himself as a bisexual young man instills a sense of hope in Justin and Dominic that maybe there is a chance that people will accept them for who they are. Meanwhile, Dominic's estranged father sends him a letter wishing to reconnect. With the town of McAllen full of bigots, will Justin and Dominic ever be able to love each other without the fear of being harassed?
The Mixtape to the Real Me is a riveting drama that sheds light on the plight of young gay men who struggle to come out in front of their friends and family due to societal dogma and fear of being persecuted. Jake Martinez explores the issue of homophobia in the deep South by following two high schoolers who only wish for the chance to be free to be who they are. The characters are relatable, and as a reader, you will find yourself sympathizing with their predicament. The book ends on an optimistic note and sends a powerful message about empathy and acceptance. A wholesome coming-of-age tale about embracing love in all its forms, The Mixtape to the Real Me is a must-read for today's generation of young adults.