Wild Beauty. Anna-Marie McLemore. Magic realism/Young adult/Fantasy. 320 pages. 2017. 3 stars.
The only lovers who did not vanish were ones who did not stay. The ones who left or who were made to leave were the ones who lived.
I received an Advanced Readers’ Copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Well, this was an unexpected read. I swear YA books are breaking from their stereotypical molds. Wild Beauty was nothing like I expected. It features a story wherein loving someone too much can literally cause them to disappear. The premise alone was enticing enough to pique my interest.
The writing style is unique. At first I felt out of my element because the structure and the way Wild Beauty was written is not what I’m used to in YA books. Given that this book tackles magic realism, I suppose that explains for the alienated feeling. It also features a little bit of Spanish which I absolutely loved. It added a lot of uniqueness and made this book stand out more than it already did.
The plot is about an estate that’s run by girls, their mothers, and their grandmothers. They are known to have magical powers that make the land fruitful and beautiful. However, they are cursed because they can neither leave their land (they’ll die if they do) nor can they reproduce because there are no males present… until now. To avoid spoilers, I’ll leave it at that.
I felt a lot of mixed feelings reading this so I’ll be listing them and provide a brief explanation!
- Uneasiness. The peculiarities of the book made me feel uneasy because it’s something new, so naturally I was apprehensive in reading it in fear that I would have just wasted my time.
- Impressed. Again, I had low expectations for this book because it wasn’t the cookie cutter YA book but I can’t dent that I was impressed with the mastery of writing style and keeping me wanting more of the story!
- Boredom. The pacing paid a lot of attention to details and internal monologues coupled with backstories in the middle of certain chapters so there were parts that I skimmed because I was looking forward to getting back to the dialogue.
- Satisfaction. Overall I was satisfied with how this book turned out because it made me step out of my comfort zone when it comes to genres. I normally don’t read magic realism and LGBT books but I can say that I’m glad I picked this up and finished it!
Wild Beauty is a mixture of wonder and reality that mastered the art of making its readers feel at home while flying. While it had its hits and misses, I generally liked the book. I don’t think I’ll read it again but I don’t regret picking it up.
It is set to be released on 3 October 2017.