(Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
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.
When I got this book, I was not expecting the wonder and magic that would fill me while reading it. Each page was a beautiful poem given to nature and to love. Following the stories, the struggle of the Nomeolvides women was overpowering. Their doomed love stories, but also all their family connections. The little things that made them specials. And then comes young Fel’, mysterious, dangerous for their heart, but also maybe a path to redemption. We discover the family members with him, we see their magic with his eyes. And always, this poetry in the writing. The flowers, blooming everywhere. Their scents, allowing you to imagine yourself at La Pradera. I was captivated from the first page by all the descriptions Anna-Marie McLemore does. She has a great talent, she will take you into her world, keeping a piece of your heart with her. That’s for the writing and the heart of the story!
Another aspect of that book that I loved is its clear representation of LGBTQ characters. It is well done and greatly written. It hits right where prejudice lies when it comes to bisexual people. Here are some quotes I particularly loved:
» Estrella had fallen in love twice. They had been different note because one was a man and one was a boy, but because one was Bay and one was Fel. »
« 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 brings me to my last point: there are also so many loves in this book: for your family, for friends or for this one special person. And they are all important, and differents. They all play a part in the book, and they all have something to teach you! It is a story about love and magic, and I can’t say it enough: read it! It just came out last week so GOGOGO!!!
See you for a cup!