A lush garden grown where once the ground was dry and inhospitable. A family of women with flowers at their fingertips. A secret buried deep in the earth, waiting to find the sun.
The grounds of La Pradera were empty and parched until the Nomeolvides women filled them with flowers a century ago and made this odd estate their home. Estrella and her cousins are the latest generation of Nomeolvides to fill the flowerbeds with the blossoms that bloom from their hands, and to bear the weight of their family’s terrible curse: whoever they fall in love with will cease to exist, never to be seen again. Raised alongside three generations of Nomeolvides women, Estrella knows it is her fate to fall in love and have her heart broken, just as she knows blue flowers will always spill from her palms when she least expects them, and that her family’s curses are inescapable.
But the Nomeolvides’ way of life for a century is jeapordized when two strangers intrude upon La Pradera’s lush serenity, bringing with them a tangle of questions. One, a boy, is a mystery; he remembers nothing of his past, not even his own name, and yet may be the key to understanding the Nomeolvides’ curse. And the other, a man, seeks to shatter Estrella’s way of life—but he may only succeed in exposing the ugliest secrets deep within the earth.
Anna-Marie McLemore is one of my absolute favorite writers; their luminous writing, stunning characters, and unusual plots have made every book I’ve read by them an instant favorite (some of their other works include Blanca and Roja, Lakelore, and When the Moon Was Ours). Wild Beauty was no exception. Intricate, gorgeous, and thought-provoking, this tale of family, love, and prejudice wove into something as deep as it is beautiful, a thoughtful reflection on the legacies our families leave us with and the price of forgetting the histories our world is built upon. But this fantasy world of flowers and curses is also part of our own, and the way McLemore seamlessly brings hatred, prejudice and dehumanization truly brings this story vibrantly, and devastatingly, alive. Lush, reflective, and powerful, I highly recommend Wild Beauty to readers ages twelve and up.