Wild Beauty
Wild Beauty

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Annotation: For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the gardens of La Pradera, all while hiding a terrible legacy--if they fall in love too deeply, those they fall in love with vanish. One day, the mysterious, amnesiac Fel arrives, and Estrella helps him piece together his dangerous past.
Catalog Number: #149463
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 339 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-12455-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99376-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-12455-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99376-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016058771
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
For generations, the Nomeolvides women have lived on La Pradera, tending the magical gardens while hiding a curse: anyone they love will vanish. When Estrella and her four cousins fall in love with the same woman--and a man mysteriously arrives at the estate--old balances are upset. With lovely language and magical realism, McLemore explores ancestral injustices, tradition, and the tension between love and loyalty.
Kirkus Reviews
Estrella and her four cousins have been told anyone they love too deeply will vanish, so what happens if they all fall for the same young woman? McLemore's latest original fairy tale follows the Nomeolvides ("Forget-Me-Not") women, of implied Mexican descent: for generations, they've tended the gardens of La Pradera, a beautiful property set in an undisclosed location (and time period). Although they possess inexplicable abilities to grow flowers with their bare hands, Estrella, Azalea, Calla, Dalia, and Gloria pay a price for their magic. Their elders have warned them that if they love someone, he will eventually disappear. They must also never permanently leave the grounds, or they will die. When the cousins realize, to shared horror, that they are all in love with wonderful Bay Briar—heiress to La Pradera—they pray for her safety by scattering treasured offerings in the magical garden's dark pond. The next day, Estrella discovers the garden has given something back: a mysterious Spanish-speaking young man, in century-old clothes, with nothing more than a half-ripped label spelling "FEL." The women speculate that Fel, who can remember nothing about his past, is one of their predecessor's missing lovers. As Estrella bonds with the sensitive and attentive Fel, she begins to question the rules governing the Nomeolvides women's lives, the legendary curse keeping them tied to this garden, and the nature of love. A garden is the perfect setting for McLemore's plush, sensuous prose, which unspools the story with delicious languor. Part mystery, part love story, this evocative, lush novel is a delight for sophisticated readers. (Magical realism. 13-adult)
Publishers Weekly
Nomeolvides women have the power to conjure flowers. They-re also cursed: whenever they fall in love, the object of their affection vanishes. The women strive for normalcy, channeling their magic into the elaborate gardens at La Pradera estate and forsaking suitors before they can disappear, but then Estrella Nomeolvides and her four cousins all fall for La Pradera-s vivacious owner, Bay Briar. The girls perform a ritual that-s intended to protect her, but it instead summons Fel, a strangely dressed boy who can-t recall his past. Assuming that Fel is the resurrection of a prior generation-s lost lover, the Nomeolvideses take him in; when his memories surface, they must face dark truths about their history and home. Featuring gay, bisexual, and genderqueer characters from multiple cultures, this vibrant, eloquently written fairy tale from McLemore (When the Moon Was Ours) illustrates the nondiscriminatory nature of love while thoughtfully exploring its risks and rewards. The pace is languid and some of the supporting characters lack depth, but McLemore-s mythology is rich, and the heart-rending conclusion thrills and gratifies. Ages 12-up. Agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary. (Oct.)

School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 7 UpSet in an undisclosed time period, this new magical realism story featuring characters of color across the gender and sexuality spectrum draws on Latin American culture and language. Relying on lyrical prose, McLemore weaves an intricate tale of family, love, loss, and flowers. The Nomeolvides women have lived on and tended the enchanted gardens of La Pradera for generations. They are also hiding a dangerous secret: when those in their family fall in love too deeply, their lovers suddenly vanish. When Estrella and her four cousins (the youngest generation of Nomeolvides women) realize they are all in love with the same girl, they offer a desperate prayer to the gardens to save Bay Briar from nothingness. However, instead of protecting Bay from disappearing, they conjure up a strange and mysterious boy who knows nothing about his past or even his identity. As Estrella helps Fel discover the truth of his history, the Nomeolvides women learn more and more about their family's legendary curse and the terrifying power of La Pradera. While somewhat confusing at times, the leisurely plot flows smoothly and elegantly. The well-crafted characters add to the vibrant and magical tale that readers will not easily forget. VERDICT A solid, must-have addition to McLemore's growing body of work, this fantastical tale will delight her fans and entice a new audience.Ariel Birdoff, New York Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Estrella and her four cousins have been told anyone they love too deeply will vanish, so what happens if they all fall for the same young woman? McLemore's latest original fairy tale follows the Nomeolvides ("Forget-Me-Not") women, of implied Mexican descent: for generations, they've tended the gardens of La Pradera, a beautiful property set in an undisclosed location (and time period). Although they possess inexplicable abilities to grow flowers with their bare hands, Estrella, Azalea, Calla, Dalia, and Gloria pay a price for their magic. Their elders have warned them that if they love someone, he will eventually disappear. They must also never permanently leave the grounds, or they will die. When the cousins realize, to shared horror, that they are all in love with wonderful Bay Briar—heiress to La Pradera—they pray for her safety by scattering treasured offerings in the magical garden's dark pond. The next day, Estrella discovers the garden has given something back: a mysterious Spanish-speaking young man, in century-old clothes, with nothing more than a half-ripped label spelling "FEL." The women speculate that Fel, who can remember nothing about his past, is one of their predecessor's missing lovers. As Estrella bonds with the sensitive and attentive Fel, she begins to question the rules governing the Nomeolvides women's lives, the legendary curse keeping them tied to this garden, and the nature of love. A garden is the perfect setting for McLemore's plush, sensuous prose, which unspools the story with delicious languor. Part mystery, part love story, this evocative, lush novel is a delight for sophisticated readers. (Magical realism. 13-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The Nomeolvides women can sprout starflowers from their fingertips and bloom tulips from barren soil in their sleep. They know what it means to wearily wander the land as las hijas del aire ildren of the air; they also know what it means to be hunted as brujas tches. For the past century, the Nomeolvides women have used their magic to tend the vengeful grounds of La Pradera, magnificent gardens at the outskirts of town, and they've been safe. However, those they fall in love with are not. And the youngest generation of Nomeolvideses trella, Dalia, Azalea, Gloria, and Calla deeply smitten with one Bay Briar. But when the girls make a pact to protect Bay, the land spawns something stranger than ever before: a boy bearing scars, toy horses, and a past perhaps as painful as their own. No one does magical realism quite like McLemore (When the Moon Was Ours, 2016), and this third novel, laced with slow-burning suspense, folklore, and romance, and spun together with exquisite, luxuriant prose, proves it. This is not only a powerful exploration of truth and family (the ones we're born into and the ones we choose) but also gender identity, sexuality (all five Nomeolvides girls are bisexual, with "hearts . . . no more reckless or easily won than any other heart"), and love itself. Sheer magic: fierce, bright, and blazing with possibility.
Word Count: 76,723
Reading Level: 5.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.5 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 193673 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q72083
Lexile: 830L
Guided Reading Level: K

No one does magical realism quite like McLemore, and this third novel, laced with slow-burning suspense, folklore, romance, and spun together with exquisite, luxuriant prose, proves it., Sheer magic: fierce, bright, and blazing with possibility.-- Booklist (starred) Love grows such strange things. Anna-Marie McLemore's debut novel The Weight of Feathers garnered fabulous reviews and was a finalist for the prestigious YALSA Morris Award, and her second novel, When the Moon was Ours , was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Now, in Wild Beauty, McLemore introduces a spellbinding setting and two characters who are drawn together by fate--and pulled apart by reality. 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.


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