Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
The three generations of Nomeolvides, women who tend the garden of La Pradera, are both blessed and cursed: they can call forth the most beautiful of flowers and trees from the soil in the blink of an eye, but when they love people too much, they disappear. Each generation always has five women, no boys or men. Estrella and her cousins live in their world of unspeakable beauty and unspeakable heartache, not knowing how to break the curse on their family, until one day a strange boy appears. Fel doesn't know anything about where he came from or who he is, but as his memory starts coming back in brief flashes, both he and Estrella realize with growing horror that the land of La Pradera is angry about a past crime, and it will not let the Nomeolvides women or their lovers leave until it has finally attained vengeance. Ultimately, in an act of desperation, the women and Fel are able to put the land at peace and enjoy some unexpected surprises from uncovering the truth of La Pradera.
This is a beautifully told fantasy/fairy tale/folk tale that is imbued with magic in every word. The lyrical, storytelling style is enchanting and riveting. The story itself is very intriguing, and the Nomeolvides women and Fel are three-dimensional, realistic, and sympathetic characters. More than just a story about an ancient curse and land with a mind of its own, this is a story about family and relationships and true love. Readers should be aware that while there is homosexual romance present in the book, it is present without having an agenda or being graphic or purposeless. This book read like a dream mixed with reality, and the haunting story will stay with readers for a while after turning the last page. Fans of dark fairy tales and superstitious myths and legends will love this new addition to the canon of YA fantasy romance that puts a new spin on the classic genre.
*Contains moderate sexual content and mild violence.