November 17, 2017

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Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | SLJ Review

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redstarMCLEMORE, Anna-Marie. Wild Beauty. 352p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250124555.

Gr 7 Up –Set in an undisclosed time period, this new magical realism story featuring characters of color across the gender and sexuality spectrum draws on Latin American culture and language. Relying on lyrical prose, McLemore weaves an intricate tale of family, love, loss, and flowers. The Nomeolvides women have lived on and tended the enchanted gardens of La Pradera for generations. They are also hiding a dangerous secret: when those in their family fall in love too deeply, their lovers suddenly vanish. When Estrella and her four cousins (the youngest generation of Nomeolvides women) realize they are all in love with the same girl, they offer a desperate prayer to the gardens to save Bay Briar from nothingness. However, instead of protecting Bay from disappearing, they conjure up a strange and mysterious boy who knows nothing about his past or even his identity. As Estrella helps Fel discover the truth of his history, the Nomeolvides women learn more and more about their family’s legendary curse and the terrifying power of La Pradera. While somewhat confusing at times, the leisurely plot flows smoothly and elegantly. The well-crafted characters add to the vibrant and magical tale that readers will not easily forget. VERDICT A solid, must-have addition to McLemore’s growing body of work, this fantastical tale will delight her fans and entice a new audience.–Ariel Birdoff, New York Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal July 2017 issue.

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