The Luis Ortega Survival Club

Sonora Reyes

The Luis Ortega Survival Club
HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
7 June 2023

The Luis Ortega Survival Club

Sonora Reyes

From the bestselling author of the National Book Award Finalist The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School comes a revenge story told with nuance, heart, and the possibility of healing.

Ariana Ruiz wants to be noticed. But as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers-despite her bold fashion choices. So when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.

Luis's attention soon turns to something more, and they have sex at a party-while Ari didn't say no, she definitely didn't say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumor mill begins churning-thanks, she's sure, to Luis's ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won't say no.

Then Ari finds a mysterious note in her locker that eventually leads her to a group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But in order to take Luis down, she'll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night-and risk everything to see justice done.


I loved this new book by the author of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School that champions a neurodiverse protagonist. Ariana Ruiz is autistic and mostly non-verbal at school. She remains largely unnoticed by her classmates, despite her flamboyant dress sense. But when one of the most popular boys in school, Luis Ortega, starts paying attention to her, she is thrilled.

As the story begins, Ariana is in a taxi leaving the party that Luis invited her to, where he took her into a bedroom to have sex. He didn’t ask for consent and Ariana slowly comes to the realisation that she was raped. It’s not long before the school rumour mill starts churning and Ariana is targeted as being ‘easy’, while Luis remains as popular as ever. When an anonymous note in her locker draws her into a group who want revenge on Luis for his ongoing predatory behaviour, Ariana finds some unlikely friendships, particularly with Luis’ ex-girlfriend.

Ariana is such an interesting character and getting into her head was a compelling experience. Although she is mainly non-verbal at school, she will converse when she feels safe. But getting revenge on Luis Ortega means becoming vulnerable and speaking her truth, both verbally and with the written word.

This heartfelt, powerful story with a variety of diverse characters shows readers the insidiousness of predatory behaviour and also helps them to develop empathy for a character who may not speak much but has a great deal going on internally. Although sex and rape are discussed, they occur off-page. Highly recommended for readers aged 15+.

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