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Wild Beauty: A Novel Hardcover – October 3, 2017
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"A garden is the perfect setting for McLemore's plush, sensuous prose, which unspools the story with delicious languor. Part mystery, part love story, this evocative, lush novel is a delight for sophisticated readers."
"[A] vibrant and magical tale that readers will not easily forget...This fantastical tale will delight her fans and entice a new audience." ―School Library Journal (starred)
Praise for When the Moon Was Ours:
“McLemore’s second novel is such a lush surprising fable, you half expect birds to fly out of the pages… McLemore uses the supernatural to remind us that the body’s need to speak its truth is primal and profound, and that the connection between two people is no more anyone’s business than why the dish ran away with the spoon.” ―Jeff Giles, New York Times Book Review, on When the Moon was Ours
"McLemore dances deftly across genres, uniquely weaving glistening strands of culture, myth, dream, mystery, love, and gender identity to create a tale that resonated to my core. It’s that rare kind of book that you want to read slowly, deliciously, savoring every exquisite sentence. I adored this book." ―Laura Resau, Américas Award-winning author of Red Glass and The Queen of Water
"Lushly written and surprisingly suspenseful, this magical tale is not just a love story, but a story of the secrets we keep and the lies we tell, and the courage it takes to reveal our authentic selves to each other and to the world." ―Laura Ruby, Printz Award-winning author of Bone Gap
"McElmore blends magical elements with a culturally vibrant cast to create a haunting modern fairy tale...Lush, reverential language remains a hallmark of McElmore’s work... Readers interested in gender identity and the pull of family and history will find this to be an engrossing exploration of these and other powerful themes." ―Publishers Weekly
"McLemore mesmerizes once again with a lush narrative set at the thresholds of identity, family, and devotion... Readers will be ensnared in this ethereal narrative long before they even realize the net has been cast." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"With luminous prose infused with Latino folklore and magical realism, this mixes fairy-tale ingredients with the elegance of a love story, with all of it rooted in a deeply real sense of humanity. Lovely, necessary, and true." ―Booklist, starred review
"Readers who stick with this novel will be rewarded with a love story that is as endearingly old-fashioned as it is modern and as fantastical as it is real." ―School Library Journal, starred review
"It is a story of secrets, and of speaking them, and the power of saying–and living–your truth, without fear." ―Lambda Literary
Praise for The Weight of Feathers:
"Scales and feathers touch and burn in McLemore’s stunning debut. The beauty of the language wraps around you, not letting go until long after the final page." ―Jaleigh Johnson, New York Times-bestselling author of The Mark of the Dragonfly and Secrets of Solace
"Ethereal and beguiling... The enchanting setup and the forbidden romance that blooms between these two outcasts will quickly draw readers in, along with the steady unspooling of the families’ history and mutual suspicions in this promising first novel." ―Publishers Weekly
"Readers beguiled by the languorous language...will find themselves falling under its spell...A contemporary, magical take on an ever compelling theme." ―Kirkus Reviews
"A very imaginative modern-day romance akin to Romeo and Juliet and is infused with the whimsy of magical realism." ―RT Book Reviews
"Told with skillful poetic nuances, this Romeo-and-Juliet story of forbidden love will entice fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s “Raven Cycle” who wished for a little more romance." ―School Library Journal
About the Author
ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE was born in the foothills of theSan Gabriel Mountains and grew up hearing la llorona in the Santa Anawinds. She is the author of William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist The Weight of Feathers, Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours, and Wild Beauty.
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McLemore once again dazzles with her storytelling ability. With lush and intimate descriptions, the gardens of La Pradera come to life. The setting is equal parts magical and strange. There is both darkness and light in the Nomeolvides’s world that the author is expert at exploring. The women in Wild Beauty are well-rounded and engaging. I loved how the author let’s the reader learn more about these young women as they learn about themselves. When the novel opens, Estrella and her cousins are desperate to outrun their family curse. Though history says that it is only men that disappear, none of them want to take the risk when it comes to Bay Briar. Bay has been a part of their world forever and ever since she lost her grandmother, who owned the land the Nomeolvides have cared for for generations, they feel even more protective of her. When they all discover that each of them has fallen a little in love with her, they take action, sacrificing their greatest treasures to La Pradera in exchange for Bay’s safety. McLemore focuses on the alienation these young women experience because of their gift, but she also explores how the possibility of finding love can alienate them from one another. It’s a consequence predicated on the idea that love is something that will eventually caused them pain.
Fel adds another wrinkle to the story. The ease at which the Nomeolvides women welcome him into their family filled me with so much affection for them. Though sadness is ingrained in their world, it is their love for one another that motivates and drives them. There’s a growing affection between Fel and these women. They care for him like one of their own and he in turn feels the need to protect them. He wants to discover who he is, but there’s a part of him that is afraid of the truth and what this will mean for his relationship with these women. Estrella and her family are an ensemble I’d like to see more often. There are three generations of Nomeolvides women under the same roof who are joined by and large by their shared grief, but are inevitably separated by experience. While the older generations know grief intimately, the younger ones have not yet lost someone they love. The older women have walked this life for decades. They know what it’s like to love and grieve, to watch those closest to them crumble under the weight of loss, and what it’s like to give everything to the land that has both blessed and cursed them. Estrella and her cousins are only beginning to learn what it means to be a part of the Nomeolvides family.
Wild Beauty is a multi-layered story that will have readers enthralled from the very first page. McLemore has crafted a novel that devastates readers both with its beauty and sorrow in equal parts. If you’ve never picked up this author’s novels, you are missing out on some of the most profound and stunning writing published in recent years.
“Sorrow was a family heirloom, written into their blood like ink of a will.”
It all starts with the Nomeolvides, a family of las hijas del aire (daughters air), derived from a people who are nomadic out of boundaries drawn in their original homeland. These cousins, mothers, grandmothers share the gift of growing from their very hands and feet, sunken deep into the earth. As nomadic people with rare gifts, they are prone to receiving prejudice. Women who struggle to control their gift out of misuse have a history of being called witches and at times outright murdered by the fear of others.
“Because falling in love with a girl who feared nothing in this world had left her ready to love a boy whose heart had been broken before she ever touched him.”
This book was so much more than a beautiful flower garden with beautiful girls and a mysterious boy. The author effortlessly explores immigration, sexuality, people of color, gender fluidity, social status, and those who are forgotten. I adored the way the McLemore didn’t make their love for women and occasionally men as something to be astounded by. Perhaps in the future, this book will not be so uncommon and I’ll be happy for such a diverse future, but at this moment books with these character’s are rare. I enjoyed learning the secret of their ‘curse’ and it had me questioning our own land and what lays beneath.
“They would change nothing by picking flowers.
They had to rip out their fate by the roots.”
To read my more in-depth review head to: Inktingeddreamer.wordpress.com/
Bay is fierce when she needs to be and such a delight. Calla is my favorite Nomeolvides girl, though I also love Estrella a lot. And Fel <3 <3
I loved the themes of seeing who people really are, of seeing what has really happened, of seeing what is really true.
Most recent customer reviews
tags: lgbt, f/f romance, magical realism, standalone, young adult
goodreads rating: 3.Read more
I loved this book, so much. With magical realism everything feels a bit like a fairy-tale and it's all a bit out of reach. Almost like it's intangible.Read more