Wild Beauty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

The link to the review will be added upon completing and polishing the review.
Was this review helpful?
Basic Keywords and Intro:

Own Voices: Queer Latinx Women
-YA Fantasy Novel
-Third person Omniscient Narration + Dual POV
-La Pradera is a magical garden that the Nomeolvides women curate.
-Those women are a generation of 5 girls, and their mothers, and their Grandmas.
-La Pradera is a cursed land that vanishes any person who is truly loved by any of the Nomeolvides girls.
-The five girls are: Estrella, Calla, Gloria, Azalea, and Dalia.
-They are all in love with the same girl, Bay.
-For the 1st time ever, the La Pradera gifts the young girls a boy.
-The land that takes, gave back a boy who remembers nothing about his past.
-A boy who could vanish again if one of the girls falls in love him.

“This was the heart of being a Nomeolvides girl. The more she loved a boy, the more reasons there were not to touch him.”

Points to address:

-The writing style was everything! Beautiful, Breathtaking, and all of the synonyms that go with those 2 words.
-I believe that Anna-Marie did a brilliant job with how she connected the beautiful, whimsical aspects of life with the brutally blunt reality of the world that we live in.
-And that is what makes Wild Beauty so magical.

“Never underestimate what the ground under your feet knows, what it can do. What it can give you and what it can steal."

Things I liked:

-A lyrical and beautiful writing style.
-A unique take on Magical Realism.
-FLOWERS!!! I can’t believe that I’ve read and loved an entire book about flowers.
-Being torn apart when it came to deciding what I liked the most .
-Is it the melodious writing style, the spellbinding storyline, or the captivating traits of every single character.
-Addressing the exploitation of child labor, the bigotry towards immigrants, and racism.

“You’d be amazed how no one looks past that. Most of the time, people don’t look past what they think they know.”

Things I didn’t like:

-NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL! NIL!

I received an eARC in exchange with an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Several people have told me to check out Anna-Marie McLemore and I can certainly see why! This is a really lovely book that feels very grounded in cultural specifics while still building a unique magic system. The family dynamics reminded me a bit of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, and the romance was very sweet. For lack of a better term, the writing is very aesthetic -- lots of descriptions of scenery and outfits and flowers -- but I think McLemore pulls it off admirably. A beautiful fairy tale of a book.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this book pretty sure that I wouldn't love it as much as I loved When The Moon Was Ours. It was good, but the plot and the magic weren't as cohesive as WTMWO, and the characters felt not quite as real. It was confusing at times, and flowed along in a sort of dream-like way -- which can be good, but it left me more with a sense of vagueness than wonder. The ending was powerful, although it felt a little sudden and didn't build up to it as much as I would have liked. The romance was good, and McLemore writes good kissing and intimacy. It was good, but sort of meandering, and just didn't hold together as strongly as WTMWO.
Was this review helpful?
DNF. I tried so hard to get into this book but once I realized that I would never figure out the characters or the setting itself, I gave up. There are five girls immediately introduced but not by any way I could tell them apart. As I read I kept thinking it as taking place in the past but it sounded like it was supposed to be the present. Yet, that didn't seem right. Also, what country is this supposed to be? The characters might be Hispanic but that doesn't help me at all.
Was this review helpful?
This is a lovely book. I was cautious of it because I disliked 'The Weight of Feathers', but this novel is a vast improvement upon that one.
Was this review helpful?
Estrella was one of five cousins living with each of their mothers and grandmothers in the strange valley of La Pradera. Any male that entered and had an affair with any of the women disappeared, so only women and girls occupied this strange valley where each of the inhabitants had a magical ability to touch soil and specific types of flowers would grow. When other characters enter their lives, both from within and without their magical valley, the routine order of their lives is disrupted. This young adult fantasy is so lyrically and beautifully written that I couldn't put it down. 
If you like fantasy novels, you will like this one.
Was this review helpful?
I know I've been saying this a lot lately, but Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore has taken its rightful spot as one of my 2017 favorites. I was so happy when I received the email that my request for this book had been approved! It's too bad I didn't finish this earlier, but reading slumps suck. The book as a whole is just so beautiful, from the cover to the words written on the pages. McLemore's writing is magical in itself with her descriptions and talk of flowers and horses and her characters are so good it makes me cry and wish I had her talent.

I don't have anything negative to say about this book if I'm being honest, which is why this review won't be very long because it's harder to write reviews about books you loved over books you despised.

The main point I want to get across is that this book is so good and everyone needs to put it on their tbr immediately. Anna-Marie McLemore has definitely improved since her last release When the Moon was Ours. I promise this book is worth the read. I mean, how on earth could you beat a bunch of poc queer girls that grow flowers with their hands? Two of my favorite things rolled into one book, queer girls, and flowers.

I'm at a point where I just can't decide if my favorite character in the story was Fel or Estrella, so I'll just go with both. The best Fel moment, in my opinion, was in the beginning and he couldn't figure out how potatoes fit into the Instant Mash Potatoes box. He's so sweet and we don't deserve him.

Estrella is such a strong female lead. I loved her character growth after the whole Bay situation, she turned into an even better character than before. I just wanted to give her a hug for most of the book and tell her it would be okay.

So yes, everyone put this book down on your to-be-read. This book is one of the best of 2017 hands down and it makes me so excited to read Anna-Marie's next book!
Was this review helpful?
Teen Estrella Nomeolvides and her cousins live on the beautiful Californian garden property, La Pradera, for generations. Known as "las hijas del aire", they are bound to the land, forming beautiful flowers that create breathtaking gardens, but the gift is a curse: every man loved by a Nomeolvides woman disappears. Just... dissipates. The cousins are all in love with the same woman, Bay Briar, and pray to the gardens to keep her safe from vanishing; instead, a young man they call Fel appears, thrust forth by the garden. Fel has choppy memories of his past, and Estrella takes it on herself to help him recover his memories. What none of them realize is that Fel's memories - Fel's past - is inextricably linked to the ugly truth behind a Pradera.

There is a lot going on in Wild Beauty. There are several subplots that intertwine with the main story, all moving toward the revelations at the end. Beautifully written, with fully realized characters, Wild Beauty can be confusing - there were characters and subplots that took me a few re-reads to fully get my head straight - and the story tends to meander, which may frustrate some readers. Readers familiar with magical realism will recognize this and press on. There's beautiful imagery, gender identity and fluid sexuality, and a respect for Latinx heroines and matriarchal family structures. 

Wild Beauty has starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and School Library Journal. Bust Magazine has a great write-up on the book and the author.
Was this review helpful?
I love the combination of mystery, magic and family in McLemore's books. This book has beautiful imagery, lyrical text and some great character and world-building going on. I want to befriend the girls, I want to walk through the garden, and I want to immerse myself in the history of La Pradera. McLemore is able to weave together incredible characters with thrilling stories that bring me around the world with each book - I cannot wait to read more by her!!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eGalley to be able to read this book ahead of publication!
Was this review helpful?
This book was so beautifully written! I wasn't too sure about it when I started since I haven't had the greatest luck with this author's other titles.  But the cover was just stellar (esp the one from Owlcrate) and I knew I really had to try it! I loved the gardens of La Pradera and I really enjoyed reading about Estrella and Fell.  I do think that we didn't really five cousins and I wish that number would have been cut. I think the story as a whole would have been a lot smoother.  With as it sits parts of this book were slightly confusing trying to keep all of them together.  I will say, however, that once you really just leave them as side characters you kinda forget they are even there.  This story surrounds Estrella, Fell, Bay, Delhia, and the gardens as a whole and that is pretty much it. Everyone else like the grandmothers, Estrella's mom, and most of the other cousins are really just there.  

This is one story with a lot of world building even though its just some gardens as some say.  The gardens have their own life and it made the story feel like another world even though its set in ours.  This made them come fully alive with this story!  The mystery surrounding the woman of La Pradera was wonderful.  I wished that the reveal would have come a little sooner so the story could have gone a little further but all in all, it was great.  

I also loved how the author interweaves Spanish into the book. So many other authors don't use other languages in their titles.  Everyone is just speaking another language or English and that's that.  This having it woven into the story was perfect and I hope to find more books with this style. 

If you are looking for a new world to fall for check this one out.  You might get a little lost along the way but stick with it because you will fall in love with the Nomeolvides women I know I did!
Was this review helpful?
The Pradera is where the Nomeolvides women lived for many generations.  5 women who have 5 daughters who are destine to have 5 daughters.  All of this comes to an end when all the girls fall in love with another girl.  However the Pradera always takes away the people they love so in order for the Pradera not to take this girl they all love, the girls ask the Pradera to keep her safe and give them an answer to their prayers.  That's when an strange boy is born from the Pradera and he comes to change everything.  This book was amazing, it's not only a lovely love story, where the characters are easy to love.  But it is also whimsical, dreamy and enchanting, helping the reader understand the love the girls have for everything in the Pradera.
Was this review helpful?
Anna-Marie McLemore’s lyrical Wild Beauty loses its way 

WILD BEAUTY, by Anna-Marie McLemore, Feiwel & Friends, Oct. 3, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)

Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore, is the third young adult novel I’ve read recently that has garnered rave reviews but failed to make an impression on me.

At the center of Wild Beauty are the Nomeolvides women. The Nomeolvides women have always stood out, even when they try to blend in. They are tied to the earth, and the bond is unbreakable.

Nearly a century ago, the Nomeolvides women moved to La Pradera, a barren estate no one would want to visit. But under the Nomeolvides’ touch La Pradera becomes a lush estate one can only dream of.

The estate’s beautiful gardens draw visitors from all over the world, but they come at a price — if one of the Nomeolvides women falls too deeply in love, their lover will vanish.

This seems the path everyone will follow until a strange boy appears in the gardens. He doesn’t remember who he is or where he came from. It appears La Pradera has given the women a gift, but it’s up to them to decide what to do with it.

I started out Wild Beauty with high hopes, and at first, they were met. McLemore’s prose is lyrical and inviting. I found her descriptions of the women pushing their fingers into the dirt and sprouting plants and flowers intriguing. But after a while, the prose seems to get in the way of the story. And halfway through the novel, I still felt like I knew next to nothing about the main characters.

Though I struggled with Wild Beauty, it has received a number of starred reviews, so I’ve included a few quotes and links to full reviews below.

“Part mystery, part love story, this evocative, lush novel is a delight for sophisticated readers.” —Kirkus

“A solid, must-have addition to McLemore’s growing body of work, this fantastical tale will delight her fans and entice a new audience.” — School Library Journal
Was this review helpful?
WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore has been getting some rave reviews and I definitely was drawn to this absolutely lovely cover.

Described as "magical realism" and a "stunning exploration of love, loss, and family," McLemore's third young adult novel received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus AND School Library Journal. In it, Estrella and her cousins Azalea, Calla, Dalia, and Gloria pay a price for their magical abilities such as growing flowers from their bare hands. Their curse is that anyone they love will disappear and when they are all attracted to the young woman who will inherit the garden where they live, they try to protect her with surprising results.
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful book cover with an equally enchanting story. I enjoyed the story and was delighted with all the flower references even though it got a bit slow in the middle. Will definitely look forward to future works by this author.
Was this review helpful?
I would give this book 3.5 stars as a a review*
I loved the writing of this book. It was so lovely and it captured me from page one. It is very detailed thought and at points i got lost in the details. I thought the world building was crafted so well and I could not see the twists and turns in the story coming. I felt like the pacing was much slower then I wanted it to be but the characters kept me engaged and overall i really enjoyed it. I hope to read more by this author soon!
Was this review helpful?
Wild Beauty, by Anna-Marie McLemore, is a beautiful work of poetic prose, with a story that is part magical realism, part fantasy, and part historical drama. It tells the story of the Nomeolovides girls and their lives at La Pradera, a garden estate that holds magic, mystery and secrets. Both cursed and blessed years ago, they remain separated from society, and any man they fall in love with mysteriously vanishes. 

Years pass with generations of Nomeolvides women living in isolation - but when a strange boy, who cannot remember who he is or where he came from shows up at La Pradera, the girls see him as a gift who could change their troubled past. Could he break the curse, bringing back the lost men they loved? Or will they fall in love with him, dooming him to the same fate as all the others? 

Wild Beauty is a story filled with mystery, secrets - and possibilities. Written in gorgeous poetic prose, it tells a family drama that questions how and why we love each other, celebrates diversity and shows compassion for differences. Although it may be classified as young adult fiction and magical realism, it has elements of fantasy and mystery in it as well as the rich historical drama of the Nomeolvides women which will make it appeal to many readers. A slow moving artistic portrait with beautiful descriptions, this is a novel to be savored and shared.
Was this review helpful?
BEAUTIFUL BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL. Once again, Anna-Marie McLemore has crafted a super original, magical, and GORGEOUS piece of fiction. She is definitely an auto-buy author for me.

Not only is this story unique, but it has representation in it! It’s diverse! Whaaaaaat?!

I went into this with very high expectations because of previous reviews of it I’d seen and because I loved her book “When The Moon Was Ours” so much. And it blew those expectations out of the water. I was a bit nervous when I started it though, because all of the women’s names were confusing to me and it didn’t start off very fast. But boy did I end up completely transfixed and engaged.

I won’t go into much detail about the plot specifically because 1. It’s honestly a difficult plot to explain correctly and 2. I don’t want to spoil a single thing. But I will say that it completely unique and wonderfully creative and artistic.

I just want to live in this author’s worlds and words. They are just so magical and colorful and vibrant. And each woman in this book had her own personality that I wanted to get to know better. Yes some girls were given more time and character development than others, but there are literally 15 women in the family of this book, plus 3 other very important characters who aren’t part of the family. I’d say given those circumstances the author did a damn good job of giving each character a voice.

I really don’t know what else to say; it’s a perfect, beautiful novel. Every single word is clearly carefully chosen, and I just am in awe of this book. Please read it, it just came out on October 3rd. LOVE IT.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to be more enchanted by this book than I was.  I thought, at times, like it was trying too hard and I wasn't really buying it.  I really loved the flower motif throughout the book and the loved the idea of the plot, but I didn't really enjoy the story.  I ended up just skimming through the end of it and I hardly noticed.
Was this review helpful?
Ah, man this was a tough one. I wanted so badly to love this book but I couldn't, even though almost everyone else does.

This magical realism book follows a family called the Nomeolvides women who are bound to the land of La Pradera. They have the power to grow flowers so they fill the land with gardens. They have a curse where if they fall in love with someone, that person disappears. A boy named Fel shows up in the garden, unaware of his past. And the women suspect that he is a past lover of a Nomeolvides woman who disappeared.

Oh my, the plot started off good but it's one of those plots that go off track. I loved the premise of this book which is why I wanted to pick it up. And the first few chapters followed that premise but the middle of the book went all over the place. Nothing in the middle of the book seemed to pertain to the plot. I was hoping the ending of the book would pick up but unfortunately, it didn't. We got to know more about Fel's past in the end but the problem was that I had already become so disinterested in the book that I didn't care anymore.

I couldn't tell you who each character was, including Estrella, the protagonist. There was no character development and not even any inside looks at the characters individually. All the characters seemed to become one person. There were grandmothers and mothers, but we never got to know them. We barely got to know the cousins, if any at all. Because of this, I felt nothing for these characters. They could get killed off and I wouldn't care one bit. The characters were the biggest downfall of this book. If a book has one-dimensional, uninteresting characters, I'm just not going to like the book.

Because I didn't care about the characters, I didn't care about their relationships. All of the cousin's are in love with this girl named Bay and I really could never understand why. Bay was so uninteresting and we barely got to know her and I just couldn't understand how she was so GREAT that five girls were in love with her. 

The strongest thing about this book is the writing. I will admit, the writing is beautiful. But it doesn't matter how gorgeous writing is. If the plot and characters aren't strong, the book's a dud for me.

Now I do have to say if you love lyrical writing and vivid settings, I think you'll like this book. But if you're more into character development and cohesive plots, I'd say skip this one. I really wished I could've loved this book like everyone else seems to. But it wasn't for me. And this is the second magical realism book that I haven't liked and I've only read two. So I have a bad feeling about the genre. :(
Was this review helpful?