Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty

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...

Title:Wild Beauty
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Wild Beauty Reviews

  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)

    I have never, never, never read anything more deeply beautiful in my life. This is the type of book I'm not quite sure how to review;

    I have never, never, never read anything more deeply beautiful in my life. This is the type of book I'm not quite sure how to review;

    The characters, the love story, the writing, the atmosphere, the imagery. I don't particularly know, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the other two members of this buddyread - my faves

    and

    - both five-starred as well.

    follows a family of women who lose everyone they fall in love with. While they live in a gorgeously decorated set of gardens, the Nomeolvides women are incapable of leaving, and under control by a family called the Briars.

    - One of the youngest of the sisters, and the arguable protagonist. And my icon in every way possible. Her story is one of personal agency and self-hate. Her starflowers appear when she sleeps, unwelcome, unlike those of the rest of the family, and I loved how McLemore balanced. Also, I ship her and Fel so hard. I ship her and Fel so hard.

    - Fel's story is, again, one of agency. I won't spoil his exact character arc, but I

    appreciated that he's SoftTM but doesn't feel emasculated by Estrella's boldness.

    - I just really appreciated her, as a side character. Again, no spoilers! But the narrative around recognizing those you love as people was

    powerful.

    - My fav genderqueer girl! She was just absolutely lovely. I love her narrative about being an outcast.

    All these characters are so well-written and easy to connect with, which is something I think is hard to achieve in magical realism novels. All this beautiful imagery and lovely prose can easily be used to cover up a situation in which

    , but that's not the case with this novel.

    This is an interesting book because it's not

    about racism or about the oppression of queer people. But those themes are

    , woven throughout every aspect of the book. It's such a quintessential queer fairy tale, and I

    it. So, so much.

    I love that we can have books like this now: books that aren't explicit coming out narratives or Issue Books - not that those aren't important - yet still manage to fundamentally tie all of these issues in. It may not be the explicit conflict, but marginalization is at the forefront of this book and this narrative. This is a narrative marginalized people have been writing for years and years. Look at so many narratives about agency or forbidden love -

    , even

    - and you'll discover marginalized people behind the scenes, writing those narratives. But it's a narrative

    And it means so much to me that we finally have these.

    I am so grateful for how far we've come.

    (Can we talk about the fact that this quote manages to decodify bisexuality as being dependent on gender without acting as if everyone else is just shallow? Because it's lovely and I love Anna-Marie McLemore.)

    This book speaks to so many different things, from environmentalism to agency, but all I can say is:

    It is

    an important book, but it never ceases being enjoyable. And while I'll admit this took me a long time to read, I adored every minute, and the last 30% sold me completely on a new all-time favorite. I'm sure not everyone will enjoy it as much as I did - the lyrical writing isn't for everyone - but personally, this is one of the best books I've ever read.

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  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    3.5*

    Every other review I've seen from people I know of this book have been 5 stars but I just didn't love this book, no matter how much I wanted to. I truly love magical realism, the lyrical writing, the odd topics set in a familiar setting, everything about it just amazes me. Magical realisms are generally slow, and I'm okay with that, I read them with patience and a suspension of disbelief in mind, but this was just way too slow for me. The writing was beautiful, the characters and their famil

    3.5*

    Every other review I've seen from people I know of this book have been 5 stars but I just didn't love this book, no matter how much I wanted to. I truly love magical realism, the lyrical writing, the odd topics set in a familiar setting, everything about it just amazes me. Magical realisms are generally slow, and I'm okay with that, I read them with patience and a suspension of disbelief in mind, but this was just way too slow for me. The writing was beautiful, the characters and their family dynamics intrigued me, but it took me so long to figure out what the story was actually about. I'm so sad that I couldn't love this. I liked it, but was slightly disappointed. I think I may give her other books a try, see if they mesh with me a little bit better.

  • Ishmeen

    If I could use only one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. This tale, the characters, the writing - everything about this story was absolutely

    .

    This was my first time reading

    If I could use only one word to describe this book it would be beautiful. This tale, the characters, the writing - everything about this story was absolutely

    .

    This was my first time reading a book written by Anna-Marie McLemore even though I have had

    on my TBR for a long time. Thanks to Netgalley, I was offered an eARC by the publishers and finally got around to exploring Anna's writing style - I have got to say I immediately fell in love with it. I am aware that although her descriptive writing style may not be up to everyone's tastes, I would still recommend giving this story a go purely because of the amazingly crafted characters! Fans of Laini Taylor would especially enjoy her writing style in my opinion ♥️

    I loved the dual POV from Estrella and FEL OMG -

    I loved his chapters soooo much!! He was such a mystery to me and (to himself sigh) but I especially loved the romance ahhhh my fangirling heart is content :) I also loved the diversity and lgbt representation in this story - I personally haven't come across many books with bisexual representatives before but I'll definitely keep my eye out for more in the future!

    I normally get bored by the information dump about history or background in novels, but for some reason I was really interested in the history of the Nomeolvides women and wasn't bored. The bond between the cousins and Fel's opinions of himself really touched my heart and it was just such a nice tale, I would say it definitely lived up to my expectations since this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year!

    I have only read a few books with the themes of magical realism before but I think this genre is really growing on me! I really enjoyed the magical aspects and the fact that everything came into a full circle in the end :') If you're looking a heartwarming and mysterious tale that will hold your interest right till the end, then make sure to pick this one up ♥️

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    Buddy read with the lovely

    and

    ! ❤

    ---

    I should have reviewed this weeks ago when I finished it, but I didn't know how. This book nestled itself so deep into my heart, and left me speechless every time I tried to put my thoughts down in words. Anna-Marie McLemore is a brilliant, beautiful artist who has painted the most lovely images, and sculpted the most precious lives, in this story.

    Buddy read with the lovely

    and

    ! ❤

    ---

    I should have reviewed this weeks ago when I finished it, but I didn't know how. This book nestled itself so deep into my heart, and left me speechless every time I tried to put my thoughts down in words. Anna-Marie McLemore is a brilliant, beautiful artist who has painted the most lovely images, and sculpted the most precious lives, in this story.

    The Nomeolvides women are cursed to lives of growing beautiful things outside of them, while everything beautiful

    of them is turned to dust by heartbreak and loss. The imagery of their heartache is painted so brilliantly that I spent the majority of my time reading

    trapped somewhere between rapture and sorrow.

    You see, the women have been cursed by the land that shelters them: each time a Nomeolvides woman falls in love, she will lose her to lover - either he leaves, or disappears. In the beginning of our story, all five of the youngest generation learn that they have each fallen in love with the same girl, and so, they decide that none of them can have her. Things change when a strange young man is returned from the ground for the first time, and the cousins must determine if a doomed love is worth it.

    Though Estrella, too, begins the story in love with the same young woman her cousins have fallen for, it's quickly evidenced that something is blooming between her and Fel, the boy she pulled from the ground. These two are so precious and wonderful together, and I just wanted to protect them from harm so badly! Their exchanges range anywhere from silly banter to the most adorable moments of endearment and intimacy, and I loved every bit of it.

    More than anything, this book is diverse: it is beautifully queer, with lovely brown women (and men) who I can say absolutely nothing negative about. I obviously cannot speak for the racial representation as it isn't my place, but I can speak for the bisexual rep, and tell you that it moved me to shameless tears. It was one of the purest and most authentic representations of my sexuality that I have ever come across, and so much of what was said rang so true. If anyone asked me for a brilliant representation of bisexuality in fiction, I would immediately point them to the passage I pulled this quote from. <3

    Not only is

    beautifully diverse, but it is also feminist as hell. There are multiple instances in which the Nomeolvides women express their frustrations at the double standards facing them, and I found myself grinning and nodding along at more than one of the comments registered against the sexist ideals forced upon women.

    Not to be silly or dramatic, but this book wrecked

    It put me into the first - and worst - book hangover I've had in a long time, and as I'm writing this review, all I want to do is dive right back in and read it all over again! Anna-Marie McLemore has instantly been placed on my "auto buy" list and I can't wait to read more of her work. I cannot recommend this book enough.

  • Jiana

    I'm finally done with exams and now I can read! I'm super excited for this and I'm highkey salty I don't have a physical copy because LOOK AT THAT COVER!!!

    Buddy read with my love

    . ♥

  • Melanie

    (Thank you so much,

    ! ❤)

    La Pradera is a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. The Nomeolvides girls are five grandmothers, who had five daughters, who are the mothers of the five young girls, who this story centers around. This land of La Pradera is both blessed and cursed. Blessed, because all of the women can create life in the form of beautiful

    (Thank you so much,

    ! ❤)

    La Pradera is a magical garden estate, that is curated by a family of women who are unable to ever leave permanently. The Nomeolvides girls are five grandmothers, who had five daughters, who are the mothers of the five young girls, who this story centers around. This land of La Pradera is both blessed and cursed. Blessed, because all of the women can create life in the form of beautiful flowers. Cursed because if they fall in love with someone that doesn’t belong on the land, the land will take them from the women; just vanishing one day.

    Estrella, Gloria, Dalia, Azalea, and Calla are the youngest generation of Nomeolvides women and, one day, La Pradera gives them back a gift: a boy from the very ground that has taken and given them so much already. A boy, who can’t remember his past, let alone even his name. A boy who all of the girls are scared will steal their hearts, and in return La Pradera will steal back the boy.

    You guys, this book was nothing short of magnificent. I see reviewers that say this book was slow, but I was teleported and completely captivated from page one. Not only is the writing lush, and lyrical, and whimsical on every single page, but the messages and discussions are important, moving, and life changing. This book is so queer, so brown, and so magical.

    This book heavily talks about immigration and the way we treated, and still treat, immigrants. The unfair work conditions, the prejudices, the blatant racism, the inhumane treatment, the cultural erasure, and how people (even in 2017) want to turn a blind eye and pretend that none of this exists. In America today, we still want to appropriate all the different cultures, but never celebrate them.

    This book unapologetically talks about accepting and loving your queerness. There is such a vast array of queerness in this novel, and it is handled very well and very empathetically and there is even a genderqueer side character! This book also has the best representation I’ve ever read surrounding what it is like to be a bisexual female and to be in a relationship with a male. Some like to put levels on queerness, and this book completely abolishes that mindset and made me so very proud and my heart so very full of happiness.

    This book actively talks about how your body is your body, and no one ever is owed access to it. I was actually surprised by the amount of feministic elements in this already perfect story. I mean, if I’m not singing this book’s praises loudly enough, maybe this quote will sell you:

    This book passionately embraces family, whether it be the blood you share with others or the found family you unconditionally love. This book truly celebrates the idea of family and heritage. The things we are willing to do and sacrifice for the ones we deem are family is something that I will never get sick of reading in books. Yet, this book also celebrates being an individual and having your own identity, separate from your family. Just like flowers, we all bloom differently and at different times.

    This book powerfully discusses cultures and the discussion is constant. Probably my favorite thing about this book was seeing the characters not only embrace and accept, but also love where they came from. We could learn so much from people and cultures that are different from us, if only people could check their privilege and see the day to day oppression that people face. If only everyone could open their hearts to learn and to love, instead of to fear and to hate.

    Beyond everything else, this story is a love story. It’s a ballad whose prose will make you believe in love again. Love between boys and girls, love between girls and girls, love between boys and boys, love between sisters, and cousins, and nature, and the past, and family.

    is one of the best love stories I’ve ever read in my entire life, because it’s the true and realistic love that isn’t sugarcoated, but raw and gritty and never easy, but always worth it.

    Also, I don’t want to throw shade at anyone, but I have to say something, because I also read

    this month and I really didn’t enjoy it. But I love

    , this own voices Latinx magical realism novel, where the culture beautifully bleeds onto the pages seamlessly and unapologetically, and where I actually feel the pain and realness of colonialism. It’s a different experience and it shows, and I couldn’t write this review without mentioning it.

    I truly hope you guys pick this up in October. I really feel like it is a once in a lifetime story that will haunt me for years and years to come, but in the best way possible. Anna-Marie McLemore has made a fan for life. Her writing is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, her story has completely stolen my heart, and her messages are some that I won’t forget. Thank you, Anna-Marie McLemore, for writing one of the best things 2017 will ever produce.

    Estrella and Fel have stolen my heart, and I don’t think I’ll get it back anytime soon.

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    Buddy read with my favorites:

    &

    ! ❤

    This was also in the October 2017

    box!

  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink

    Once again, I find myself entirely conflicted.

    First of all, something needs to be said for the writing. It's absolutely lovely, and flowery in all sense of the word (hah, see what I did there?) Ugh. It's as if Anna-Marie painted the flowers themselves. The woman can make your mouth water. If you're a writer, this is a must read, much like Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer. I actually really loved Anna's other book, 'The Weight of Feathers'.

    But if you are a reader looking for a fast-paced story

    Once again, I find myself entirely conflicted.

    First of all, something needs to be said for the writing. It's absolutely lovely, and flowery in all sense of the word (hah, see what I did there?) Ugh. It's as if Anna-Marie painted the flowers themselves. The woman can make your mouth water. If you're a writer, this is a must read, much like Laini Taylor's Strange the Dreamer. I actually really loved Anna's other book, 'The Weight of Feathers'.

    But if you are a reader looking for a fast-paced story, look elsewhere. It put me to sleep nearly every time I started reading it. The story is very slow moving and abstract, so go into it with the right expectations. The thing is... gah. You guys. As much as I loved the writing, so much of it was repetitive. Literally, the same sentence written over and over again, just with different words. And okay - it totally works in some instances. I get that. But it was too much for my personal taste. It was meant to be lyrical, which it was, but slowwwww.

    All that said, there's a lot to love about this story. The characters were lovely, as usual with McLemore's stories, though there were way too many family members for me to keep them straight. I absolutely adored Estrella and Fel, and I rooted for them, but I was expecting a more realistic plot twist. I dunno. That part fell a little short for me. A bit predictable. And a few other things left a sour taste in my mouth, though it was only minor details.

    I also feel like I learned some things and my heart broke for the characters many times over, but again... I feel like I would be raving so much more if the pace had been even.

    Anyway, what it boils down to, is I feel the same way about this as I did 'Strange the Dreamer'. I think it's a book many will love and cherish, and others will simply DNF because of the pace. Decide if you're the type of reader who is OK with an abstract, low moving plot, and if you are, check this out.

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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    *4.5/5

    Absolutely gorgeous

  • kazzyboy

    [wakes up] ahhhh can’t wait for a full day of fulfilling my obligations and– what’s that?

    ? starring

    ?? clear my schedule for at least ten uninterrupted hours of reading and weeping

    : dude reading with

    !!

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    My October Owlcrate Box! It's one of my favorite so far. I will add a link to my blog with close-ups of the things under the picture if you're interested ♥

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