trace elements of random tea parties


(FSG, 2003; Seal Press, 2004)

*click to purchase*

“Buckle up, doll. I promise I’ll try not to tangle your quinceñaera dress.” So begins the adventure of Leticia Marisol Estrella Torrez, who moves to Los Angeles in an attempt to break from her past: from starched dresses and sleek, tight braids, from Nana, the traditional grandmother who raised her, and from Weeping Woman, the siren of Mexican folklore who flies through night skies to steal troublesome children and who embodies, in many ways, Leti’s first love. As Leti immerses herself in Los Angeles’ post-punk, post-queer hipster scene, navigating the twisting road of her own shifting gender and falling deep into “papaya lush blush” love, she rediscovers the strength and meaning of familia. A striking debut novel, Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties turns tradition on its head while laying flowers at its feet.

Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties is both outrageous and glorious.  It’s a wild ride that’s worth every damn cent you spent for the ticket!”
-Helena María Viramontes, author of Under the Feet of Jesus

“Nimble and well written…a breath of fresh air in the contemporary Chicana narrative.”
-Mayra Montero, author of Deep Purple

“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.”
-Ana Castillo, author of The Mixquiahuala Letters

“Lemus’ language shifts as fluidly as her heroine’s gender.  Her sentences at their best are so condensed, so packed and hot, they’re on the verge of exploding.  Bursting at the seams with pizzazz and invention…”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“An edgy and risky debut that leaps over clichés and lands in the center of the modern-day intricacies of a new generation…Felicia Luna Lemus will indeed be declared a trail-blazing writer.”
El Paso Times

Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties captures the messy, pinball reality of a young, urban dyke princess, struggling to carve out a place in the world.”
Lambda Book Report

“Offers deep insights into familia and cultura without an ounce of heavy-handedness.”
Latina Magazine

“An edgy, exuberant debut.  This is an intriguing novel sure to attract readers searching for something urban, lively, and a bit different.”
Publishers Weekly

“Engagingly told…this tale will charm and earn this first-time author a following.”

“Lemus is a truly talented storyteller. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Lemus’ writing on love is intoxicating.”
Ruminator Review

“Felicia Luna Lemus is fiercely intelligent.”
The Advocate

“A spry debut from a writer who’s got the skills.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Dares to be bold.”
Hispanic Magazine

Astraea Foundation, Honorable Mention in Fiction