Wild Beauty
Love grows such strange things.For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Wild Beauty Details

TitleWild Beauty
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherFeiwel & Friends
ISBN-139781250124555
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Magical Realism, Lgbt

Wild Beauty Review

  • Em
    January 1, 1970
    This book should be covered in rose petals and leave a rose petal everywhere it’s been just so everyone knows it’s been there.I've ascended through several emotional planes of existence reading this book and I have a lot of feelings about it and not enough characters to express them. I literally cannot convey how much I love it but I know reading it was the equivalent of entering a warm room after being out in the cold, of lying in a breezy field with wildflowers and big puffy clouds overhead. I This book should be covered in rose petals and leave a rose petal everywhere it’s been just so everyone knows it’s been there.I've ascended through several emotional planes of existence reading this book and I have a lot of feelings about it and not enough characters to express them. I literally cannot convey how much I love it but I know reading it was the equivalent of entering a warm room after being out in the cold, of lying in a breezy field with wildflowers and big puffy clouds overhead. I truly wish I could just wrap my heart in this story and leave it to soak. 🌟 what is this book about? “Even in its first faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidding places.Love grew such strange things.” This is an #OwnVoices novel about queer women of color who love their lovers out of existence and grow flowers that never keep to where their hands put them & soft boys who appear from nothingness to relearn the letters of their names in an alphabet that's constantly changing.It's about brown-skinned men who were driven out of their lands by men who duct-taped down six shelves of their sweat and hard-work & shatterproof legacies that consist of pinning flowers to the earth in an unwitting attempt to conceal the decaying ruins under.It's about intentions that are rooted in good but that often grow thorns in the end & love stories that always come with the price of loss.This is a story that both broke my heart and held it inside me. As a queer woman of color from a country that fell under imperialism and is still affected by it, reading this book truly felt like a hand reached for and found in the dark. I really can't put into words how much #OwnVoices stories like these matter for marginalized readers. We finally get to star. 🌟 THE WRITING: “Her heart was poison. It was a close tangle of thorns. Even when it held love, that love came sharp, and she didn’t know how to offer it to anyone except with the edges out.” It's actually so weird how much of an effect beautiful writing can have on me. Like, there could just be one particular sentence and I would physically feel my heart fill with love and float higher and higher into the sky while 'take me to church' is playing in the distance.Anna-Marie deserves the warmth of a thousand suns for writing an inspiring story that spiritually translates to putting lemons in water and walking in gardens on humid july nights to pick honeysuckles to loop around your hair. And I say inspiring because if she can derive such poetry from her writing, then surely we can all crawl across the salt flats of our lives to gain something transcendent from whatever love we can scrape together. 🌟 THE CHARACTERS: ✨ The Nomeolvides girlsI want to reach a Nomeolvides level of etherealness where people are in awe of my existence and there are rumors that I am a witch or not even human!!Every Nomeolvides woman is doomed to a life of shoving people inside their hearts where they stuck out like shards of glass and it would hurt every time they came close to loving them. A Nomeolvides is as likely to fall in love with a woman as with a man but their love will ALWAYS make them disappear.So what happens when not only one but five Nomeolvides cousins fall in love with the same girl?I honestly love these women and if I could actually get the moon to always shine down on them, I would. They are both the growing garden and the elements that give it life and there will always be little heart doodles around their names in my head!! “Twice as many paths to trouble, their mothers would whisper. As though their daughters loving men and women meant they wanted all of them in the world. There was no way to tell their mothers the truth and make them believe it, that hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits.” ✨ FelWhen the Nomeolvides cousins feared that they would love Bay (who's genderqueer, by the way) into disappearance, they offered a sacrifice to the gardens which they're bound to. So La Pradera brought them a boy, Fel.Look, I love those Pure & Soft characters. The ones who are too good. The ones who give everything to the universe and stay good at heart even when it's treating them horribly. The ones who would do something and your immediate thought would be “I love you” no matter how small or transient like cooking for 15 grieving Nomeolvides women but they would do it and your brain is just like, yeah I would venture out into the depths of hell pits for that one.Fel is one of them and I volunteer as tribute to kiss his eyelids and draw a thousand heart emojis on him and cover him in a fluffy blanket and hugs because he's actually the purest thing the earth has created!!“Fel remembered the times he’d tried blinking away the feeling of tears along his eyelashes, saying I’m not crying. Adán always held a kind laugh under his words when he said, Yes, you are. Not an accusation, an assurance that Adán thought no less of him.”Also, I ship Fel & Estrella so much I want to drown myself in theirs hearts for a moment of intimacy!! And I'm totally down to read an entire book about them just haunting local streets at 3am!! 🌟 OVERALL: Basically the main takeaway of this review is that this book was phenomenal and it genuinely deserves every single praise because this story took my damn breath away!!✨ this review is also posted on my blog!!
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received via #arcsfortrade on Twitter! (Thank you so much, Kendice! ❤) “Love grew such strange things.” La Pradera is a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. The Nomeolvides girls are five grandmothers, who had five daughters, who are the mothers of the five young girls, who this story centers around. This land of La Pradera is both blessed and cursed. Blessed, because all of the women can create life in the form of beautiful ARC received via #arcsfortrade on Twitter! (Thank you so much, Kendice! ❤) “Love grew such strange things.” La Pradera is a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. The Nomeolvides girls are five grandmothers, who had five daughters, who are the mothers of the five young girls, who this story centers around. This land of La Pradera is both blessed and cursed. Blessed, because all of the women can create life in the form of beautiful flowers. Cursed because if they fall in love with someone that doesn’t belong on the land, the land will take them from the women; just vanishing one day. “There were two kinds of Nomeolvides hearts, ones broken by the vanishings, and ones who counted themselves lucky to have seen the back of their lovers as they left.” Estrella, Gloria, Dalia, Azalea, and Calla are the youngest generation of Nomeolvides women and, one day, La Pradera gives them back a gift: a boy from the very ground that has taken and given them so much already. A boy, who can’t remember his past, let alone even his name. A boy who all of the girls are scared will steal their hearts, and in return La Pradera will steal back the boy. “If La Pradera could bring back a boy lost a hundred years ago, maybe it could break this curse they had carried here in their hearts. Maybe it would give them back other vanished lovers. Maybe it would lift the awful legacy from this generation of daughters.” You guys, this book was nothing short of magnificent. I see reviewers that say this book was slow, but I was teleported and completely captivated from page one. Not only is the writing lush, and lyrical, and whimsical on every single page, but the messages and discussions are important, moving, and life changing. This book is so queer, so brown, and so magical. “That was the dangerous thing. Not that she and her cousins all spoke the language of loving boys and girls, but that they all shared the legacy of losing them.” This book heavily talks about immigration and the way we treated, and still treat, immigrants. The unfair work conditions, the prejudices, the blatant racism, the inhumane treatment, the cultural erasure, and how people (even in 2017) want to turn a blind eye and pretend that none of this exists. In America today, we still want to appropriate all the different cultures, but never celebrate them. This book unapologetically talks about accepting and loving your queerness. There is such a vast array of queerness in this novel, and it is handled very well and very empathetically and there is even a genderqueer side character! This book also has the best representation I’ve ever read surrounding what it is like to be a bisexual female and to be in a relationship with a male. Some like to put levels on queerness, and this book completely abolishes that mindset and made me so very proud and my heart so very full of happiness. “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 actively talks about how your body is your body, and no one ever is owed access to it. I was actually surprised by the amount of feministic elements in this already perfect story. I mean, if I’m not singing this book’s praises loudly enough, maybe this quote will sell you: “He was a man, and a rich one, and these together made him believe that planets and moons orbited around the single point of his desires.” This book passionately embraces family, whether it be the blood you share with others or the found family you unconditionally love. This book truly celebrates the idea of family and heritage. The things we are willing to do and sacrifice for the ones we deem are family is something that I will never get sick of reading in books. Yet, this book also celebrates being an individual and having your own identity, separate from your family. Just like flowers, we all bloom differently and at different times. This book powerfully discusses cultures and the discussion is constant. Probably my favorite thing about this book was seeing the characters not only embrace and accept, but also love where they came from. We could learn so much from people and cultures that are different from us, if only people could check their privilege and see the day to day oppression that people face. If only everyone could open their hearts to learn and to love, instead of to fear and to hate. Beyond everything else, this story is a love story. It’s a ballad whose prose will make you believe in love again. Love between boys and girls, love between girls and girls, love between boys and boys, love between sisters, and cousins, and nature, and the past, and family. Wild Beauty is one of the best love stories I’ve ever read in my entire life, because it’s the true and realistic love that isn’t sugarcoated, but raw and gritty and never easy, but always worth it. “Everyone’s broken. The only difference is how.” Also, I don’t want to throw shade at anyone, but I have to say something, because I also read All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater this month and I really didn’t enjoy it. But I love Wild Beauty, this own voices Latinx magical realism novel, where the culture beautifully bleeds onto the pages seamlessly and unapologetically, and where I actually feel the pain and realness of colonialism. It’s a different experience and it shows, and I couldn’t write this review without mentioning it. “They would change nothing by picking flowers.They had to rip out their fate by the roots.” I truly hope you guys pick this up in October. I really feel like it is a once in a lifetime story that will haunt me for years and years to come, but in the best way possible. Anna-Marie McLemore has made a fan for life. Her writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, her story has completely stolen my heart, and her messages are some that I won’t forget. Thank you, Anna-Marie McLemore, for writing one of the best things 2017 will ever produce.Estrella and Fel have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll get it back anytime soon. “Sorrow was a family heirloom, written into their blood like ink of a will.” Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Buddy read with my favorite: Elise! ❤This was also in the October 2017 OwlCrate box!
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    Each spring felt like all of them, not just the gardens, coming back to life. They spent winters giving their flowers to ceramic pots they kept indoors, or pulling snowdrift roses out of patches of land soft enough to grow. But now all of La Pradera was theirs. They had every acre to let out the blooms that had been waiting in their hands all winter. I have never, never, never read anything more deeply beautiful in my life. Something about it just hit me. The characters, the love story, the w Each spring felt like all of them, not just the gardens, coming back to life. They spent winters giving their flowers to ceramic pots they kept indoors, or pulling snowdrift roses out of patches of land soft enough to grow. But now all of La Pradera was theirs. They had every acre to let out the blooms that had been waiting in their hands all winter. I have never, never, never read anything more deeply beautiful in my life. Something about it just hit me. The characters, the love story, the writing, the atmosphere, the imagery. I don't even know how to articulate it, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the other two members of this buddyread - my faves Melanie and Destiny - both loved this as well. And that this book ended up making its way to my literal favorite book of 2017. This book is worth so much.Wild Beauty follows a family of women who lose everyone they fall in love with. While they live in a gorgeously decorated set of gardens, the Nomeolvides women are incapable of leaving, and under control by a family called the Briars. ♔ Estrella - One of the youngest of the sisters, and the protagonist. And my icon in every way possible. Her story is one of personal agency and self-hate. Her starflowers appear when she sleeps, unwelcome, unlike those of the rest of the family, and I loved how McLemore balanced this. I literally adore her and I connect to her self-hatred so much. Also, I ship her and Fel so hard. ♚ Fel - Fel's story is, again, one of agency. I won't spoil his exact character arc, but I really appreciated that he's SoftTM but doesn't feel emasculated by Estrella's boldness.♔ Dalia - I just really appreciated her, as a side character. Again, no spoilers! But the narrative around recognizing those you love as people was so powerful.♚ Bay - a genderqueer icon! She was just absolutely lovely. I love her narrative about being an outcast and having to find herself. All these characters are so well-written and easy to connect with, which is something I think is hard to achieve in magical realism novels. All this beautiful imagery and lovely prose can easily be used to cover up a situation in which not much is happening, but that's not the case with this novel. The prose is beautiful, but the story itself is just as important. For months, Bay had been choking. Her flourishes had grown stiff, her smiles more nerves than charm. But with every meal in the Nomeolvides women’s stone house, with every plate of mole poblano, Bay sat up a little straighter. This is an interesting book because it's not explicitly about racism or about the oppression of queer people. But those themes are there, woven throughout every aspect of the book. It's such a quintessential queer fairy tale, and I adored it. So, so much. They had pretended they were there to clean it, and because men who stood so proud in pressed slacks and wrinkled shirts were used to having brown-skinned women wait on them, he seemed not to notice. I love that we can have books like this now: books that aren't explicit coming out narratives or Issue Books - not that those aren't important - yet still manage to fundamentally tie all of these issues in. It may not be the explicit conflict, but marginalization is at the forefront of this book and this narrative. This is a narrative marginalized people have been writing for years and years. Look at so many narratives about agency or forbidden love - A Streetcar Named Desire, even Beauty and the Beast - and you'll discover marginalized people behind the scenes, writing those narratives. But it's a narrative we have never gotten for ourselves. And it means so much to me that we finally have these. The robbery of agency of queer women and colonized peoples is right there, right at the forefront, and this time, we get to star. I am so grateful for how far we've come. Hearts that loved both boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits. (Can we talk about the fact that this quote manages to decodify bisexuality as being dependent on gender without implicating other people as shallow? Because it's lovely and I love Anna-Marie McLemore.)This book speaks to so many different things, from environmentalism to agency, but all I can say is: you need this. It is such an important book, but it never ceases being enjoyable. And while I'll admit this took me a long time to read, I adored every minute, and the last 30% sold me completely on a new all-time favorite. I'm sure not everyone will enjoy it as much as I did - the lyrical writing isn't for everyone - but personally, this is one of the best books I've ever read. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube
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  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*Every other review I've seen from people I know of this book have been 5 stars but I just didn't love this book, no matter how much I wanted to. I truly love magical realism, the lyrical writing, the odd topics set in a familiar setting, everything about it just amazes me. Magical realisms are generally slow, and I'm okay with that, I read them with patience and a suspension of disbelief in mind, but this was just way too slow for me. The writing was beautiful, the characters and their famil 3.5*Every other review I've seen from people I know of this book have been 5 stars but I just didn't love this book, no matter how much I wanted to. I truly love magical realism, the lyrical writing, the odd topics set in a familiar setting, everything about it just amazes me. Magical realisms are generally slow, and I'm okay with that, I read them with patience and a suspension of disbelief in mind, but this was just way too slow for me. The writing was beautiful, the characters and their family dynamics intrigued me, but it took me so long to figure out what the story was actually about. I'm so sad that I couldn't love this. I liked it, but was slightly disappointed. I think I may give her other books a try, see if they mesh with me a little bit better.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    My October Owlcrate Box! It's one of my favorite so far. I will add a link to my blog with close-ups of the things under the picture if you're interested ♥More PicturesUnfortunately, I didn't like it. I did love one of the author's other books but this one wasn't for me. I'm glad plenty of people love it though. We all want to love our books. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐾🐺
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  • Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars "Everything we touch, we wreck." "So wreck me." Reviewing this is weird, as it's honestly some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read, and all my words feel clunky and out of place next to it. McLemore's lush prose beautifully weaves this story together. Every description was vibrant and decadent and made me want to sink my teeth right into this setting. While I can understand why some won't enjoy how "flowery" the narrative is, I think it blends perfectly with how unapologetica 4 Stars "Everything we touch, we wreck." "So wreck me." Reviewing this is weird, as it's honestly some of the most beautiful writing I've ever read, and all my words feel clunky and out of place next to it. McLemore's lush prose beautifully weaves this story together. Every description was vibrant and decadent and made me want to sink my teeth right into this setting. While I can understand why some won't enjoy how "flowery" the narrative is, I think it blends perfectly with how unapologetically feminine this book is. Our core characters are mostly women, who talk about frills in their dresses and curls in their hair and don't mince words for the boys: "Nothing else in the world makes a man like that more afraid than five girls on their periods." While not every character is so traditionally feminine (Bay's developing relationship with gender and perceived roles is in particular fascinating) there's something so great about how so many bask in it. YA tends to assign silly roles to openly feminine characters, but here the girls were allowed to be strong, smart, quirky and multifaceted-- while still loving pink things.AND loving other girls! Personally I found the bisexual representation abundant and beautiful. as neither the characters or the narrative shies away from discussing gender and orientation.At it's core, this is a story about finding yourself. From Fel emerging in a brand-new world, to Estrella developing her own individuality without guilt, to Bay's perspective of herself contrasting with how others view her. There is plot but it's primarily character driven as the characters determine who they are and who they want to be. "Don't you ever get tired of this... Of acting like all five of us are one person?" While the narrative is keenly aware... it also never fully went there. I still can barely distinguish the five cousins outside of Estrella, Fel's storyline turned a little vague/confusing when it had the chance to delve deep, and so much of Bay's character was merely alluded too. I wish there'd been a bit more bite under all the pretty description. It was almost there.Overall:Gorgeous writing filled with pretty flowers, sapphic girls, and character's determining their identity. But most members of the family group don't get enough individual focus.
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    This story is as lush and gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing as the cover. AHHHH!! Wait. Am I allowed to call a story aesthetically pleasing!? Because holy flowerbeds, peoples, this book is gorgeous. The premise immediately absolutely devoured me: with magical gardens and women who can make flowers grow and finding a strange lost boy hidden in the earth. Absolutely all of that is ME when it comes to books. Besotted by the premise. <3 Not let down at all. <3Well, actually I admit there are This story is as lush and gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing as the cover. AHHHH!! Wait. Am I allowed to call a story aesthetically pleasing!? Because holy flowerbeds, peoples, this book is gorgeous. The premise immediately absolutely devoured me: with magical gardens and women who can make flowers grow and finding a strange lost boy hidden in the earth. Absolutely all of that is ME when it comes to books. Besotted by the premise. <3 Not let down at all. <3Well, actually I admit there are a few small smidge things that didn't work for me but pfft.I'm also a huge fan of this author!The Weight of Feathers is one of my ALL TIME favourite novels of ever, and I liked When the Moon Was Ours but not as much. I felt it had no plot?? Wild Beauty was just gorgeous and it had:a) complicated and interesting plotb) so so many secretsc) it was queer here there and everywhered) like I said: AESTHETICALLY MAGICAL GROWING GARDENSe) the writing is so exquisite you literally just sit there and realise you cannot word in comparison to the beautiful words this book has worded. ** um I rest my case I guess pls help meHonestly the writing is the stand out.It really hones in on the details. So it's not going to say "she grew a flower". It will say "she grew a midnight blue rose" or something like that and it just really hones in on making everything explode out of the pages. I felt like I fell into this magical fairy tale garden of mystery and sadness and utter beauty. I mean it is slightly "purple prose" but that's not always bad, ok?!? It's the style here and it's thick and luscious. This isn't the kind of book you skim and it's not like a smol sandwich. It is a hugely rich chocolate cake.I like cake. So so much cake.Actually speaking of food: the food descriptions in here are fantastic. Plus the boy they pull out of the garden sees all the women are sad so he COOKS THEM DINNER. Quality lad.It's absolutely FULL of complex and interesting women!So the Nomeolvides women all live in this garden that the can never leave (or they die; super fun times) and they grow flowers and tend it etc. etc. Most people think they are witches. 10/10 want to be a flower-growing-witch now. ANYWAY. So 3 generations of women live in the house, 5 grandmas, 5 mothers, and 5 daughters. The 5 cousins basically function as sisters and they're SO EPIC AND POWERFUL. They love pretty things and they love being feminine. (That is to say NOTHING AGAINST girls who don't like feminine things!! But we have tons and tons of them in literature so it's lovely to see feminine things rejoiced okay?!) They're also all queer and in love with the landowner's daughter: Bay Briar. Like LOL @ LOVE TRIANGLES. We have a love-pentagon.Although I full admit it wasn't an irritating romance.The girls all loved Bay but they weren't bitter or nasty about it. Most of them didn't want to ADMIT to loving her because there's a family curse that makes people they love disappear. The book is mainly from the pov of Estrella and Fel. Fel being the boy they dig out of the garden who is smol and quiet and tragic and LOST (aka my favourite type of bookish boy) and Estrella falls in love with him. They are so beautiful, both of them. However I don't think we really got to know Estrella very well. Which is a shame. ANYWAY.Okay so remember that I said a small amount of things bothered me?? Right, eat a plate of flowers and let's get to it.• It is pretty much instalove hahaha...oh wow.• Sometimes the book was SO beautifully written it forgot to make anyone more than a 2D character.• Bay, in particularly, was everyone's unattainable manic pixie dream girl.• I got so confused around 80% through that I had to reread some chapters.But ultimately? This book is, in a word: GORGEOUS.It is a celebration of magic and flowers and how beautiful things can often cover up deep suffering. The writing was so beautiful at times I just gahhhh. My mouth is open like a codfish. And I literally loved that the entire cast was POC and 90% of them were queer. Magical diverse fantasy is actually what we need in this world. I am SO in love with this book!!
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    Buddy read with the lovely Melanie and Elise! ❤---"Things growing just live in us," she said.I should have reviewed this weeks ago when I finished it, but I didn't know how. This book nestled itself so deep into my heart, and left me speechless every time I tried to put my thoughts down in words. Anna-Marie McLemore is a brilliant, beautiful artist who has painted the most lovely images, and sculpted the most precious lives, in this story.In this family, broken hearts were passed down like locke Buddy read with the lovely Melanie and Elise! ❤---"Things growing just live in us," she said.I should have reviewed this weeks ago when I finished it, but I didn't know how. This book nestled itself so deep into my heart, and left me speechless every time I tried to put my thoughts down in words. Anna-Marie McLemore is a brilliant, beautiful artist who has painted the most lovely images, and sculpted the most precious lives, in this story.In this family, broken hearts were passed down like lockets. And Estrella had been enough a fool to think she could refuse the one meant for her simply by not opening her hands.The Nomeolvides women are cursed to lives of growing beautiful things outside of them, while everything beautiful inside of them is turned to dust by heartbreak and loss. The imagery of their heartache is painted so brilliantly that I spent the majority of my time reading Wild Beauty trapped somewhere between rapture and sorrow. You see, the women have been cursed by the land that shelters them: each time a Nomeolvides woman falls in love, she will lose her to lover - either he leaves, or disappears. In the beginning of our story, all five of the youngest generation learn that they have each fallen in love with the same girl, and so, they decide that none of them can have her. Things change when a strange young man is returned from the ground for the first time, and the cousins must determine if a doomed love is worth it.He was the chance that the raw will of La Pradera was stronger than the curse they passed down like antique lace.Though Estrella, too, begins the story in love with the same young woman her cousins have fallen for, it's quickly evidenced that something is blooming between her and Fel, the boy she pulled from the ground. These two are so precious and wonderful together, and I just wanted to protect them from harm so badly! Their exchanges range anywhere from silly banter to the most adorable moments of endearment and intimacy, and I loved every bit of it.Estrella had fallen in love twice. They had been different not because one was a woman and one was a boy, but because one was Bay and one was Fel.More than anything, this book is diverse: it is beautifully queer, with lovely brown women (and men) who I can say absolutely nothing negative about. I obviously cannot speak for the racial representation as it isn't my place, but I can speak for the bisexual rep, and tell you that it moved me to shameless tears. It was one of the purest and most authentic representations of my sexuality that I have ever come across, and so much of what was said rang so true. If anyone asked me for a brilliant representation of bisexuality in fiction, I would immediately point them to the passage I pulled this quote from. <3What shamed a girl was, in a boy, so often worth showing off.Not only is Wild Beauty beautifully diverse, but it is also feminist as hell. There are multiple instances in which the Nomeolvides women express their frustrations at the double standards facing them, and I found myself grinning and nodding along at more than one of the comments registered against the sexist ideals forced upon women."Then wreck me," he said.Not to be silly or dramatic, but this book wrecked me. It put me into the first - and worst - book hangover I've had in a long time, and as I'm writing this review, all I want to do is dive right back in and read it all over again! Anna-Marie McLemore has instantly been placed on my "auto buy" list and I can't wait to read more of her work. I cannot recommend this book enough.Thank you to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for granting me this wonderful ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 stars
  • April
    January 1, 1970
    "There's nothing wrong with who we love, what's wrong is what's always been wrong. We're Nomeolvides girls."This book is so beautiful and meaningful.
  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5/5Absolutely gorgeous
  • Ishmeen
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 STARS!! If I could use only one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. This tale, the characters, the writing - everything about this story was absolutely beautiful. "Hearts that loved both boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits." This was my first time reading 4.5/5 STARS!! If I could use only one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. This tale, the characters, the writing - everything about this story was absolutely beautiful. "Hearts that loved both boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits." This was my first time reading a book written by Anna-Marie McLemore even though I have had When The Moon Was Ours on my TBR for a long time. Thanks to Netgalley, I was offered an eARC by the publishers and finally got around to exploring Anna's writing style - I have got to say I immediately fell in love with it. I am aware that although her descriptive writing style may not be up to everyone's tastes, I would still recommend giving this story a go purely because of the amazingly crafted characters! Fans of Laini Taylor would especially enjoy her writing style in my opinion ♥️ I loved the dual POV from Estrella and FEL OMG - MY HEART GOES OUT TO THIS BOY Y'ALL!! "She wanted to give her own breath to every part of him that hurt, every piece of him still broken or bruised or left underground." I loved his chapters soooo much!! He was such a mystery to me and (to himself sigh) but I especially loved the romance ahhhh my fangirling heart is content :) I also loved the diversity and lgbt representation in this story - I personally haven't come across many books with bisexual representatives before but I'll definitely keep my eye out for more in the future! I normally get bored by the information dump about history or background in novels, but for some reason I was really interested in the history of the Nomeolvides women and wasn't bored. The bond between the cousins and Fel's opinions of himself really touched my heart and it was just such a nice tale, I would say it definitely lived up to my expectations since this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year! I have only read a few books with the themes of magical realism before but I think this genre is really growing on me! I really enjoyed the magical aspects and the fact that everything came into a full circle in the end :') If you're looking a heartwarming and mysterious tale that will hold your interest right till the end, then make sure to pick this one up ♥️
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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
    January 1, 1970
    Once again, I find myself entirely conflicted. First of all, something needs to be said for the writing. It's absolutely lovely, and flowery in all sense of the word (hah, see what I did there?) Ugh. It's as if Anna-Marie painted the flowers themselves. The woman can make your mouth water. If you're a writer, this is a must read, much like Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer. I actually really loved Anna's other book, 'The Weight of Feathers'.But if you are a reader looking for a fast-paced story Once again, I find myself entirely conflicted. First of all, something needs to be said for the writing. It's absolutely lovely, and flowery in all sense of the word (hah, see what I did there?) Ugh. It's as if Anna-Marie painted the flowers themselves. The woman can make your mouth water. If you're a writer, this is a must read, much like Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer. I actually really loved Anna's other book, 'The Weight of Feathers'.But if you are a reader looking for a fast-paced story, look elsewhere. It put me to sleep nearly every time I started reading it. The story is very slow moving and abstract, so go into it with the right expectations. The thing is... gah. You guys. As much as I loved the writing, so much of it was repetitive. Literally, the same sentence written over and over again, just with different words. And okay - it totally works in some instances. I get that. But it was too much for my personal taste. It was meant to be lyrical, which it was, but slowwwww. All that said, there's a lot to love about this story. The characters were lovely, as usual with McLemore's stories, though there were way too many family members for me to keep them straight. I absolutely adored Estrella and Fel, and I rooted for them, but I was expecting a more realistic plot twist. I dunno. That part fell a little short for me. A bit predictable. And a few other things left a sour taste in my mouth, though it was only minor details. I also feel like I learned some things and my heart broke for the characters many times over, but again... I feel like I would be raving so much more if the pace had been even. Anyway, what it boils down to, is I feel the same way about this as I did 'Strange the Dreamer'. I think it's a book many will love and cherish, and others will simply DNF because of the pace. Decide if you're the type of reader who is OK with an abstract, low moving plot, and if you are, check this out. My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter ~ Etsy
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  • Lily ☁️ {semi hiatus}
    January 1, 1970
    ➳ 1 1/2 stars (the 1/2 star goes to the great bi rep)I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse for not liking a book, so no one hate on me, please. 😭🌈 buddy read with a disappointed world cup followerBlog ¦ Bloglovin’ ¦ Tumblr ¦ Instagram
  • may ➹ (hiatus)
    January 1, 1970
    before: after 2 months of agonizing wait, I’m ready to fall in love now: I FEL(L) IN LOVEI’m sorry, the pun was too good, I couldn’t resist4.5 stars, RTC! // Thanks so much to Ju for the beautiful copy!!
  • Jiana
    January 1, 1970
    *sighs for the next 10 hours*That was just excruciatingly slow and boring. Not even the ending or the reveals saved it for me?? Like I genuinely cannot remember a single part of the book that wasn’t slow. It was just slow from page 1 till the last damn page. I can’t deal with slow books. I’m entirely fine with books that start off slow, but when the book hits 40% and it’s still mind-numbingly slow?? Then that’s not good for me at all. I literally had to force myself to pick it up and read every *sighs for the next 10 hours*That was just excruciatingly slow and boring. Not even the ending or the reveals saved it for me?? Like I genuinely cannot remember a single part of the book that wasn’t slow. It was just slow from page 1 till the last damn page. I can’t deal with slow books. I’m entirely fine with books that start off slow, but when the book hits 40% and it’s still mind-numbingly slow?? Then that’s not good for me at all. I literally had to force myself to pick it up and read every single time and I refused to DNF.I’ll be honest, the writing is beautiful, but it was so heavy and tough to read; it was way too much for me. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters either?? I literally have zero emotions towards every single one of them. I’ll admit the book had a really important and creative plot but oh well. I’m just glad I’m done with it. My struggle is over. Buddy read with my love Em. ♥
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  • may ❀
    January 1, 1970
    this book actually feels like reading a dream (that sounds so dramatic I know) but its genuinely has such a whimsical aura I was legit captivated from the first chapter Pros - The writing is so gorgeous, it was one of the elements of the story that immediately grabbed my attention- THE CHARACTERS- There are so many wonderfully tragic, realistically crafted characters - the Nomeolvides family 😭😭😭- the fam all love each other so much I cri- the relationships that were written were so ??!great!!?- this book actually feels like reading a dream (that sounds so dramatic I know) but its genuinely has such a whimsical aura I was legit captivated from the first chapter Pros - The writing is so gorgeous, it was one of the elements of the story that immediately grabbed my attention- THE CHARACTERS- There are so many wonderfully tragic, realistically crafted characters - the Nomeolvides family 😭😭😭- the fam all love each other so much I cri- the relationships that were written were so ??!great!!?- I felt as if they were real people in real relationships getting into real troubles that you know, big families naturally do- F E L - ma baby- hes a soft, precious, innocent little boy and im gonna wrap him in a blanket from here onward- this book lowkey reminded me of maggie stiefvater’s books and let me tell you kids, I am a FAN- the book is so aesthetic I could crY Cons - I don’t have many complaints on this front, its just that if you’re not heavily INTO character driven plots this may not work for you- bc honestly there’s not much plot- while I did really enjoy reading about the ladies that make gardens grow from their hands or have unwanted ability of killing all their lovers, I felt like the actual story lacked substance??- The writing is slow but it didn’t bother me much since I was hooked from the start4 stars! Buddy read with lil(y) blog queen
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Sorrow was a family heirloom, written into their blood like ink on a will. Wild Beauty is one of those rare books that not only lives up to the hype, but turns out to be even more stunning than you anticipated. It’s one of the most magical stories I’ve ever read, and I feel like everyone else I know has already written eloquent and glowing reviews of this book so I don’t know how much I can add here.Estrella and her cousins have spent their lives within the gardens of La Pradera, like their mot Sorrow was a family heirloom, written into their blood like ink on a will. Wild Beauty is one of those rare books that not only lives up to the hype, but turns out to be even more stunning than you anticipated. It’s one of the most magical stories I’ve ever read, and I feel like everyone else I know has already written eloquent and glowing reviews of this book so I don’t know how much I can add here.Estrella and her cousins have spent their lives within the gardens of La Pradera, like their mothers and grandmothers before them. Although they all share a magical gift for growing flowers, they can never forget that the land upon which they live does not belong to them, and their lives and loves are dictated by a curse beyond their control.I honestly feel like that’s all you need to know going into the book, because reading this story really does feel like watching a field of flowers bloom—it unfolds slowly, each chapter full of gorgeous imagery. Anna-Marie McLemore has crafted a piece of beautifully written Latinx magical realism, with incredibly important messages about colonialism, racism, cultural appropriation, and immigration. There are also so many important reflections on multi-gender attraction that made my bi heart happy! 💖Anyway, this book is so so lovely and it made me cry twice (once at the end and once during That Scene between Estrella and her mom) butDiverse rep: queer Latinx MCs, genderqueer side characterThis review was also posted on my blog.---------------- alright alright I'm ready for this to fuck me up
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  • Romie
    January 1, 1970
    Can you do yourself a really huge favour and start this book now?Even before starting this book, I knew I would love it, I just didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with it. But then again, this book was recommended to me by someone I trust, so I should have known it wouldn’t be a common reading experience. It only took me 15 pages to know where I stood, to know this book was so much more than ink on paper.This isn’t just a book about women growing flowers out of their hands, it’s about Can you do yourself a really huge favour and start this book now?Even before starting this book, I knew I would love it, I just didn’t expect to fall head over heels in love with it. But then again, this book was recommended to me by someone I trust, so I should have known it wouldn’t be a common reading experience. It only took me 15 pages to know where I stood, to know this book was so much more than ink on paper.This isn’t just a book about women growing flowers out of their hands, it’s about families — the one we’re born with and the one we make — about privileges, about immigration, about life and how it can be unfair to those deserving the entire world, but also how life can hand you small miracles and make you eternally grateful for them.The Nomeolvides have been told their whole life that they’re cursed : they’re bound to La Pradera and make their lovers vanish by loving them too much. But one day, the garden gives them back a boy, Fel. A lost boy who forgot everything about his life and is trying to find where he stands in this new world.I fell in love with with Estrella’s words, her strong mind, her fears, her hopes … She has a love-hate relationship with herself, she wears the guilt of her entire family on her shoulders, she doesn’t think she deserves to be loved by someone who isn’t family because it means she’ll kill this person, she doesn’t think about what she wants as real possibilities because she’s been taught not to want. The way she loves fiercely, both men and women, with all her heart, even when she knows she cannot act on her feelings.Fel is my precious boy, the moment we met him I decided to adopt him. He’s obviously not from this century, and though he cannot remember anything about his previous life, he knows he did something, something wrong enough for God to erase his memory … He’s living with this guilt of not remembering something he did wrong. But the truth is, he’s worthy of so much love and this cruel world made him nearly forget about his worthiness.This book has a strong political message. You can read it without noticing it, true, but it means you’re not aware of what’s wrong in this world. From the first pages, it’s there, sometimes it’s just one sentence, but one sentence is enough to send a message when it’s well done, and Anna-Marie McLemore has magic in her fingers, she knows how to do it.
This book critics the way immigrants are treated as if they’re ‘spare people’ interchangeable, not worthy of being remembered, less deserving of your attention, less worthy of being alive.
But it also critics white male privileges. Men taking power over women, treating them as objects, white men thinking they own the entire world just because of the colour of their skin. This book deals with important subjects, things that are happening nowadays, and have been happening for centuries. The message of this book is relevant and deserves to be shared.This was a thing he’d learned: that setting his hand on a girl’s back, and that girl letting his hand stay, led to fairy rings, and ponds full of stars.
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  • Hiba
    January 1, 1970
    I don't really like encountering beautiful books, because as much as love them while reading them, they leave me such an awkward mess afterwards so that I'm left only with sentences like 'holyfuck, that was fucking amazing what should I do next?' or something to the same extent. So here I am, upon finishing this beautiful masterpeice, I stand in front of you with petals and dirt covered clothes, dazed expression, I say with every drop of love I can muster from the core of my rotten heart, this b I don't really like encountering beautiful books, because as much as love them while reading them, they leave me such an awkward mess afterwards so that I'm left only with sentences like 'holyfuck, that was fucking amazing what should I do next?' or something to the same extent. So here I am, upon finishing this beautiful masterpeice, I stand in front of you with petals and dirt covered clothes, dazed expression, I say with every drop of love I can muster from the core of my rotten heart, this book was fucking gorgeous.
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  • Joshua Gabriel (조수아)
    January 1, 1970
    There were two kinds of Nomeolvides hearts, ones broken by the vanishings, and one who counted themselves lucky to have seen the back of their lovers as they left.Cheers, dear Brittney (Reverie and Ink)! We finally finished this tedious journey! I had fun exchanging thoughts about our love-hate relationship with this book. xDI cannot believe how accomplished I feel after finishing such a dragging novel. I practically forced myself to do so because it was kindly sent by a publisher and I also do There were two kinds of Nomeolvides hearts, ones broken by the vanishings, and one who counted themselves lucky to have seen the back of their lovers as they left.Cheers, dear Brittney (Reverie and Ink)! We finally finished this tedious journey! I had fun exchanging thoughts about our love-hate relationship with this book. xDI cannot believe how accomplished I feel after finishing such a dragging novel. I practically forced myself to do so because it was kindly sent by a publisher and I also do not DNF books. Wild Beauty's Feminist content was cool, but I cannot honestly say that I recommend the book. Beautiful cover, utterly boring story.Essentially, Wild Beauty is a magical realism novel that follows five girls from the Nomeolvides family: Estrella, Dalia, Gloria, Calla, and Azalea. All of them are both gifted and cursed. They can make flowers bloom literally anywhere, but it is impossible for them to leave La Pradera, the estate gardens that have been their family's home/prison for generations. To make things worse, it is said that the lovers of each Nomeolvides woman are fated to disappear. When a boy suddenly appears in the gardens, dangerous secrets are uncovered and freedom starts to loom just over the horizon.Like most people, I was beguiled by the beautiful cover and premise of this book. I started the first chapter with an excited smile on my face, ready to have the time of my life. Little did I know that Wild Beauty would be my own literary lullaby. I blamed the writing, which was too...lyrical for my taste. I usually have no problem with flowery writing. However, in the case of this book, there were more vivid descriptions than lively dialogue. Plus, I was so confused because there were so many characters to get to know. I couldn't even pronounce their family name, Nomeolvides, for crying out loud! NO-MEEYO-VEE-DES??? I asked Brittney, but she also had no idea. Hahaha. xDExamining the plot, I found it to be uneventful. The pacing didn't pick up until around 80% of the book, and the conflict was bland and easily resolved. I had fun learning about the truth behind La Predera and the Nomeolvides curse, but that wasn't enough to captivate my interest. Only God knows how many times I yawned and blinked away tears of drowsiness. :(The last catalyst behind my low rating had something to to with religion. Estrella and her family prayed and read the Bible, so I was disturbed when they sardonically questioned the character of God, particularly His ability to forgive people for their sins. In light of my personal beliefs, I admit that this complaint is very subjective. Hence, I wouldn't be surprised if you ignored it.Despite it's flaws, I couldn't bring myself to give Wild Beauty 1 star because of its excellent take on Feminism/gender politics. It definitely uplifted the standpoint of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Furthermore, it was my first time to encounter bisexual/lesbian romance in literature. The "love hexagon" in this book took me by surprise; Estrella and her cousins were in love with one girl. Thankfully, it wasn't emphasized to the point of creating unnecessary drama. The "central" romance was the one between Estrella and the mysterious boy named Fel. Their relationship was interesting in that Estrella seemed to be the one taking the lead and Fel didn't feel emasculated or undermined. Also, I was glad that what they had wasn't instalove. :)It might sound strange that my favorite character was La Pradera. The gardens were indeed the setting of the story, but they were actually depicted to be sentient. In retrospect, La Pradera was somehow one of the antagonists, deliberately causing pain and heartbreak in the Nomeolvides family. I really liked how La Pradera delineated the paradox of Mother Nature; she can give life, but she can also take it away.To sum up my thoughts, Wild Beauty did have virtues in regards to its empowering content. Nevertheless, for the most part, it was utterly slow. It nearly gave me a reading slump every time I picked it up. Who knew beauty could be boring?
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  • Ava
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful, beautiful book.More coherent thoughts (from a thread I wrote on Twitter), now that I've had a day to gather them:WILD BEAUTY is pure magic. It's hard to describe in words how incredible it is. While reading, I couldn't put it down, and read it in one sitting, which rarely happens. Anna-Marie's writing is like candy. It's simply divine, and I want to eat her words and savor them for the rest of my life. This book is filled with love, and family, and secrets, and flowers. It's st What a beautiful, beautiful book.More coherent thoughts (from a thread I wrote on Twitter), now that I've had a day to gather them:WILD BEAUTY is pure magic. It's hard to describe in words how incredible it is. While reading, I couldn't put it down, and read it in one sitting, which rarely happens. Anna-Marie's writing is like candy. It's simply divine, and I want to eat her words and savor them for the rest of my life. This book is filled with love, and family, and secrets, and flowers. It's stunning. You don't read it - you experience it like you're there, in the story. The bisexual representation made my bi heart overflowing with happiness. There is just so, so much of it. I cried. I cried for the bisexual rep, and I cried for this story, because it's just too beautiful for me *not* to cry. This book has one of the best families I've ever read about in YA. The relationships are carefully and thoroughly explored, and it's beautiful. I loved reading about the generations of Nomeolvides women, and the magic they each have. The love story in this book is not the whole story, but it's a part of it, and I adored it. Those two characters are so dear to me now. I would read a hundred more novels about them. WILD BEAUTY is Anna-Marie's best book yet. If you like queer magical realism with beautiful writing, you will love this book. It is a book everyone should read. My own words cannot do it justice, so you have to experience this magic for yourself when it releases in September.
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  • Sonja ✧ Badass Wanderer ✧
    January 1, 1970
    Wild Beauty is legit the prettiest book I own ✨the book's contents better be just as beautiful as the cover
  • Irene△⃒⃘
    January 1, 1970
    3.75/5 “You took the truth and you made it into flowers.” Warning: This book is a VERY slow read!This doesn’t mean that it’s boring or less interesting than a book full packed with action.I think that this book has a beautiful writing and a beautiful story.It focuses mainly on the family theme and you can totally feel that family is all what these girls have. They live with the fear of loving, if they truly love someone he/she will disappear, just like a curse.But there’s so much more under all 3.75/5 “You took the truth and you made it into flowers.” Warning: This book is a VERY slow read!This doesn’t mean that it’s boring or less interesting than a book full packed with action.I think that this book has a beautiful writing and a beautiful story.It focuses mainly on the family theme and you can totally feel that family is all what these girls have. They live with the fear of loving, if they truly love someone he/she will disappear, just like a curse.But there’s so much more under all of this.Things get way more complicated for the girls when a boy appears at La Pradera, Fel. Who is he and why is he there?Everything is super slow-paced but not boring. I personally prefer a more “alive” book, but I have never read something like this before.It was almost like a poetry, this book is super flowery, seriously it’s full of flowers descriptions and the style is so delicate.There’s then another interesting figure her, Reid, the person who owns the whole territory.And you really should keep an eye on him since the very beginning, trust me.I think I made the mistake of underestimate him at the beginning but he is a very important character and brings another theme for our story that I’m not going to say otherwise the whole magic of the book vanishes, you understand all this almost near the end, so…“Never underestimate what the ground under your feet knows, what it can do. What it can give and what it can steal.”
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so beautiful! I had a lot of theories of what I thought would happen but none of them actually did so that was a nice surprise. The writing of this book was absolutely GORGEOUS and the magical realism was so beautifully done. I loved following Fel and Estrella's journeys, especially watching Fel remember different things from his past.AGH it was just really beautiful and I would definitely recommend it.READ IT!
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free through BookLikes’ Giveaways.I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.This was such a unique read. I have never read anything quite like this before. It’s really hard to explain what this book is about, because you kind of have to read it for yourself to find out. I loved a lot about this book. First there was all the diversity! All the main characters are Latinx. In addition there was also great LGBT rep. All 5 of the girls were bisexual and had a crush on t I received this book for free through BookLikes’ Giveaways.I give this book 4.5 stars which rounds up to 5.This was such a unique read. I have never read anything quite like this before. It’s really hard to explain what this book is about, because you kind of have to read it for yourself to find out. I loved a lot about this book. First there was all the diversity! All the main characters are Latinx. In addition there was also great LGBT rep. All 5 of the girls were bisexual and had a crush on the same girl, and the girl they had a crush on ended up being genderqueer. I loved the writing style of the book as well. The author writes so beautifully. The atmosphere the author creates is magical. In general, I loved the Latino folktale vibe of the entire book. It was so refreshing to read a book from that perspective. I also really liked all the witch allusions. The women were often referred to as witches and that word just holds so many connotations. It really showed how feared these women were but also their strength.This is random, but I liked how the book talked about periods. Periods are mentioned a few times and I’m glad the author mentioned them because it is a part of life and being a woman. There was one passage that I really loved and want to share:“As though their daughters loving men and women meant they wanted all of them in the world. There was no way to tell their mothers the truth and make them believe it, that hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits” (242). I thought this was so powerful and showed that love is love while also dispelling the common belief that bisexuals are promiscuous.The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that it still felt like things were unresolved at the end. I had wanted a bit more than what I got. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you are looking for a different kind of read, then consider picking this book up.
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  • Emer
    January 1, 1970
    Not sure how to review this at all. My review will probably be as messy as this book was! “Everyone’s broken. The only difference is how.” That was A LOT of flowery prose. Too much. Definitely too much. The first half of the book felt so disordered that I couldn't make head nor tail of what was going on. Sometimes being plunged directly into a world works... This time I felt I was struggling for air until at least the half way point when I eventually began to see the story come together. The si Not sure how to review this at all. My review will probably be as messy as this book was! “Everyone’s broken. The only difference is how.” That was A LOT of flowery prose. Too much. Definitely too much. The first half of the book felt so disordered that I couldn't make head nor tail of what was going on. Sometimes being plunged directly into a world works... This time I felt I was struggling for air until at least the half way point when I eventually began to see the story come together. The sisters barely had any uniquely identifying characteristics or personality traits...I think there were five of them??? Honestly. I've just put down the book and the fact that I can only remember one name, Azalea (purely because my parents' had the most beautiful azalea shrub in our garden when we were children and I loved it) but anyway... The fact that I'm struggling to recall names at this early stage is never a good sign. I was totally hooked on the idea behind this book and ultimately the story that was revealed to the reader by the end was fulfilling. I do love the bittersweet beauty of magical realism... but we could have gotten to that conclusion a lot quicker and with a lot less of the repetitive flowery prose. I enjoy my flowery prose. I adore how lyrical it all feels... But I have a limit. And my limit happened in maybe chapter one!! THAT is how overdone this was. FYI There are thirty-nine chapters! Beautifully descriptive prose is wonderful but ultimately we do have to get to the point and, sometimes, the old adage of less is more really should be taken on board by some writers. I'm neither a native Spanish speaker nor a Spanish speaker at all. My knowledge of Spanish is limited to cheering olé olé olé at footie matches and hollering vamos with Rafa Nadal. So when there were some Spanish words and phrases incorporated into the body of the English text I would have liked either a corresponding footnote with the translation or the translation within the text. Was frustrating having to go to google and have my reading interrupted because understanding the translation I felt helped understand what was going on in the book. All the characters were supremely wishy washy with very little regard given to their motivations. For such descriptive writing style for the atmosphere of the book it pretty much sucks that the characters weren't equally described. Brownie points for diverse rep and the normalisation of the fluidity of sexual attraction. Nice to see it done in such a simple and beautiful way in YA. I'll definitely read something else by this author (because I already bought her two other books because those blurbs just speak to me) but I'm not sure if she and I will ever truly connect as writer and reader... But second chances and all that. So let's see what the future brings. Sadly this one left me a little cold and I'm going with two stars "All of us, our hearts for women and for men. You know what that means?”“More ways to lose them?” Estrella asked.“Our hearts or the ones we love?” Gloria asked.“Both.”The word came out bitter. Estrella let it. This was what their mothers would say if she and her cousins ever told them the things they folded inside their hearts. Twice as many paths to trouble, their mothers would whisper. As though their daughters loving men and women meant they wanted all of them in the world. There was no way to tell their mothers the truth and make them believe it, that hearts that loved boys and girls were no more reckless or easily won than any other heart. They loved who they loved. They broke how they broke. And the way it happened depended less on what was under their lovers’ clothes and more on what was wrapped inside their spirits. What secret halls and trapdoors their souls held, and what each one hid and guarded.”
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  • Roshani Chokshi
    January 1, 1970
    Anna-Marie did it again. I don't know how. This was so incredibly lush and perfect. There's so much to cherish here--from the rich family descriptions to the exquisite and heartbreaking consequences of fiercely loving someone. If ever there's a book that can only grow more verdant and luxurious in your heart the moment you finish reading, it's this one.
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  • alice (arctic books)
    January 1, 1970
    Y'ALL I'M CRYING THAT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL
  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe my favorite Anna-Marie McLemore book ever? Is that blasphemy? I love this book. It's like magic.
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