Every now and then you pick up an author’s work and immediately fall in love. That’s how I felt after I finished The Weight of Feathers by Mexican-American author Anna-Marie McLemore. McLemore’s gorgeous prose and magical realism sucked me in back in 2015, and I’ve looked forward to and enjoyed every subsequent novel she has produced. (I’m super excited for Blanca & Roja this fall!)
When we decided to do YA author spotlights for Women’s History Month, McLemore was one of the very first authors I thought of highlighting. If you haven’t already picked up one of her books, you should, especially if you’re looking for a good entry point into magical realism. McLemore’s books frequently grapple with identity (including LGBTQ themes), love, generational trauma, and family. It’s easy to lose yourself in one of her books, and be prepared to have tissues on hand because you might find yourself needing them sometimes.
The Weight of Feathers || My review
For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.
Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.
When the Moon Was Ours || My review
When the Moon Was Ours follows two characters through a story that has multicultural elements and magical realism, but also has central LGBT themes—a transgender boy, the best friend he’s falling in love with, and both of them deciding how they want to define themselves.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.
But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Wild Beauty || My 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.
Blanca & Roja || Excerpt & summary from Bustle
Sister relationships are always complicated, but the one between the del Cisne girls goes far beyond standard sibling squabbling. Best friends and rivals, Blanca and Roja have been pitted against each other since birth by a curse that will force one of them to shed their human skin and live life as a swan. Like each set of sisters in their family before them, Blanca and Roja know they will be forced to play a dangerous game that will determine their fates, but when two of their childhood friends become unwilling participants, the girls must find a way to break the curse, or risk having each of their fates changed forever.