Leticia Marisol Estrella Torrez, a university honors graduate, moves north to Los Angeles in an attempt to break from the traditional grandmother who raised her and from Weeping Woman, the Mexican folkloric siren who is said to fly through the skies at night to steal troublesome children and who has courted Leticia since her adolescence.
In Los Angeles, Leticia is quickly immersed in the post-punk, post-Queer hipster scene, and after a short-lived affair with the devastating Edith, Leticia meets K, a tall, dark and handsome Old Spice-wearing lovely from Philadelphia. K and Leticia tumble into "candy heaven" bliss, with, to Leticia's amazement, her nana's blessing. As her confidence in herself and her own sexuality grows, Leticia moves toward an identity that K refers to as "shy bookworm sweater femme boy"-- only to have her newfound happiness brutally shattered by Nana's sudden illness and by the disturbing discovery that K is not as trustworthy as she seems.
Vividly wrought, heart-breaking and compelling, Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties is a wonderful debut from Felicia Luna Lemus.
"A warm tale of "princess dyke" life in L.A. What they lack in resources, they make up for in their celebration of familia, love and unapologetic sexual configurations. The Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties is a well-crafted and very refreshing debut novel, a welcome contribution to Chicana letters from the new generation. ¡Felicidades, Felicia Luna Lemus!"
"April Sinclair, Terri de la Pena and a younger Rita Mae Brown wrote of women knowing who they were and what they had to do in order to keep honest with themselves. Now comes sharpshooting Felicia Luna Lemus-with real gut and gusto she sings the praises and pain of upholding that mirror to keep the tradition of honesty alive. Celebratory and loving, Leticia’s voice in Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties is both outrageous and glorious to follow. It’s a wild ride that’s worth every damn cent you spent for the ticket!"
--Helena Maria Viramontes
"Toward the end of the story, Nana, one of the wisest characters of Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, exclaims: Dear Mother of God. Is that a boy or a girl? Paraphrasing Nana, I dare to ask: Dear Mother of God. Is that a novel or a challenge? Nimble and well written, this is also a book of transgressions, and a breath of fresh air in the contemporary Chicana narrative." —Mayra Montero