Four friends. Four resolutions. One new year. And to change the pace, they decide to write one another’s New Year’s resolutions. Nora wants to add her experimental pastries to the family’s Puerto Rican eatery, while Ryan seeks to mend his broken heart, Lee prepares for her mother’s death anniversary, and Jess balances keeping her valedictorian status with “loosening up,” as her resolution states. The Resolutions is about making time for change, for healing, and for our dreams.
Mia García has previously written Even if The Sky Falls, a YA about celebrating Mardi Gras against trauma and an oncoming hurricane, and a short story “Ginger, Lemon and Honey“. A Puerto Rican native and New School graduate, we are happy to have García here on Book Riot.
The Resolutions covers the journey of four friends who write one another’s New Years resolutions. What was your inspiration?
The Resolutions was a collaboration between myself and my editor, Alex Arnold. We both have this love of strong friendships in books and film and wanted to explore that in a YA novel. There is really something amazing about friends who are there for you through thick and thin and who have your back even when you don’t have your own. That’s how this story started, with four friends and where the year would take them
What resolutions would you write for your friends, and what do you hope your friends’ resolutions for you would be?
Oh gosh! I think at first we would all be a little nervous about it, but considering we are busy people (not like world tour busy, but you know how life is), most of my resolutions for my friends would be to hang out more! Basically, I’m Jess (who sets the plot in motion by suggesting they each write resolutions for each other to make sure they don’t drift apart) in this situation. I think my friends would do something similar or perhaps they would tell me to work on my confidence! I’m super shy, but I’m trying to work on that more!
Ryan’s story talks about the troubles of recovering from a relationship and a broken heart. What inspired Ryan’s pain and desire to move on?
What I love about Ryan is that, like many of us, he’s wound so much of himself in his relationship (for Ryan it’s specifically romantic, but relationships can be familial/friendships, etc) that he feels unmoored now that he’s no longer in it. He hinged his emotions and validation on who they were as a couple that now that it’s gone he isn’t sure what to hold on to. Even though his friends and family are there, it’s a bit hard to see through the haze of heartache.
My teen self can relate to this A LOT, but not in a romantic sense. I spent a big chunk of my teen self trying very hard to be liked and adjusting who I was to meet those expectations that any indication that I wasn’t liked sent me reeling. Ryan’s journey is finding who he is as a person and finding strength in that – understanding that the people who love and respect you are the ones you want in your corner, so that you can weather the next storms.
Do you like baking like Nora? Any favorite recipes you have?
YES! I love to bake. Baking and cooking are big parts of my life and culture. It calms me, it helps me be creative, it connects me to my family, and history.
I love exploring new recipes and I recently found this super easy one for quesitos which are small puff-pastries filled with sweet cheese! They are delicious and dangerously easy to make. I also recommend getting some guava paste and adding some strips to make guava and cheese quesitos.
Also don’t blame me if you start adding guava to everything – it’s delicious.
Oh! Here’s another good one. Homemade dulce de leche: grab a can of condensed milk and drop it in a pot of boiling water. Boil it (still in closed can) for 2 to 2 ½ hours making sure the water is always covering the can. And voila! Dulce de leche.
What do you hope will happen in the book world as we usher in more #ownvoices authors and diverse books?
I would love to see more happy books, more genre books, more intersectionality. I want the Latinx community to see themselves in teen romances, comedies, fantasy novels…I want us to lead rebellions and ride on the back of dragons. I want the Latinx Shakespeare-inspired YA. I want a horror novel set in Latin America or the Caribbean and I want them written by Latinx authors of all ethnicities, orientation and race. I guess in the end, I just want more.
How can friends stay close as they get older?
I would recommend to not stress out about it too much. Each friendship is different and works in it’s own way. I have friends I speak with every day, others once a week, others I catch up with every couple of months over coffee. Every friendship has its own rhythm and needs. I’m not saying not to try and make time for friends, but I believe eventually you start to understand the differences and rhythms.
Which art classes would you take, if you could?
I’m actually taking wheel throwing/pottery classes right now. I’m very happy I decided to take them; it’s great to have an outlet outside of writing where I can work creatively in a different way.
I also find it helps me with my patience. I will work hours on a piece and fire it wrong or pick the wrong glaze and have to toss it. Which you’d think would bum me out or add to my stress but I’m still happy I worked on it because it taught me something new and I honed my skills. It’s something I often need to remind myself of in my writing.
Any upcoming projects you want readers to know about?
Haha. You know people talk about how hard the second book is but what about the third! It’s almost like I’m re-learning how to write with each story and this current one is very demanding. At the moment it is a historical fantasy about sadness, isolation, and friendship. We shall see where it goes.