Wild Beauty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I read [book:When the Moon Was Ours|28220826] this summer and fell in love with it. I've requested it multiple times to people so when I saw that McLemore had another book coming out, I knew I had to read it as soon as possible!

McLemore didn't disappoint. Actually, I think I fell in love with her writing even more in this book. Wild Beauty is a beautifully written magical realism novel about a family of women who are cursed. Their lovers tend to vanish so the youngest group of Nomeolvides girls attempt to guard their hearts to prevent the curse from happening. 

The Nomeolvides girls have tended to the La Praeda gardens for generations; the curse hovering over each woman suffers a broken heart. They reach deep into the ground and call forth gorgeous flowers but not once have they been able to bring up anything else from the dirt until a boy is uprooted. He has a past he cannot recall and the Nomeolvides are determined to help him unearth it.

There was such gorgeous descriptive language that provided the ethereal setting of the garden; so much that the garden became a character itself. I adored each character, even the ones I despised, if that makes sense. If you love The Raven Boys, Bone Gap, or have read McLemore's other works, pick this one up immediately.
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Another gorgeous story by McLemore! I was not disappointed and this is certain to be the next must-read.
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I'm definitely one of the black sheep when it comes to Wild Beauty. Despite every attempt to love this book, I struggled to get through it. 

This is one of those books where the prose is gorgeous. . . but it covered up flat characters. My biggest problem with Wild Beauty is that I couldn't care less about the characters. They were beautifully created. I can't speak to the bisexual rep in this book as I don't identify as such so take the fact that I loved it with a grain of salt. There's such a strong family theme as well which I don't see often enough in YA so more points to you, Wild Beauty. 

Yet I couldn't tell you who my favorite character was. I couldn't tell you which one I shipped with that one. I couldn't tell you what I loved about them. Because I never connected with these characters. I never felt anything for them, became invested in them. I've said this with other books in the past and I'll say it again with this one: if I can't connect with the characters, I won't enjoy the book. It's who I am as a reader. And I couldn't get behind these characters enough to care what happened to them.

To be fair, not that much really happened in this book. It just plods along with all the flowery description but little action until the end where there's some attempt at making it a cohesive flowing story when there wasn't much to go off of. I guess I never got the point of this book. I like a story that has an end goal. The heroine completes her quest. The prince takes down the empire. You know that there's an end of some kind, a task to be completed. Perhaps it's more a personal preference but I don't like stories that are more. . . open. 

With that, I want to fall into the book. I want to feel the magic. And I actually really liked the world of Wild Beauty -- or at least what it could have been. The idea of this family of 5 women in each generation rooted to this home where they grow flowers, that just intrigues me. But while there's this magic going on, I wasn't grounded in the world. There was plenty of description but not enough detail, if that makes sense. It comes back to the writing style. Lots of flowery language but not necessarily substance. 

When it comes down to it, this book bored me. I contemplated DNFing a few times because it just didn't hold my attention. I need more action in a book BUT it doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend this book. If you don't need as much action and are looking for a book with rich family themes and an amazing diverse cast of characters, then I think you'll really enjoy this book. For me, it just wasn't what I was expecting and I ended up being disappointed.
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This book had beautiful and lovely writing. But I just didn't connect with the story and characters as I would like to have. I loved the beginning when Fel appears and doesn't know who he is, though!
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Well, this was an unexpected read. I swear YA books are breaking from their stereotypical molds. Wild Beauty was nothing like I expected. It features a story wherein loving someone too much can literally cause them to disappear. The premise alone was enticing enough to pique my interest. 

The writing style is unique. At first I felt out of my element because the structure and the way Wild Beauty was written is not what I'm used to in YA books. Given that this book tackles magic realism, I suppose that explains for the alienated feeling. It also features a little bit of Spanish which I absolutely loved. It added a lot of uniqueness and made this book stand out more than it already did. 

The plot is about an estate that's run by girls, their mothers, and their grandmothers. They are known to have magical powers that make the land fruitful and beautiful. However, they are cursed because they can neither leave their land (they'll die if they do) nor can they reproduce because there are no males present... until now. To avoid spoilers, I'll leave it at that. 

I felt a lot of mixed feelings reading this so I'll be listing them and provide a brief explanation!
•Uneasiness. The peculiarities of the book made me feel uneasy because it's something new, so naturally I was apprehensive in reading it in fear that I would have just wasted my time. 
•Impressed. Again, I had low expectations for this book because it wasn't the cookie cutter YA book but I can't dent that I was impressed with the mastery of writing style and keeping me wanting more of the story!
•Boredom. The pacing paid a lot of attention to details and internal monologues coupled with backstories in the middle of certain chapters so there were parts that I skimmed because I was looking forward to getting back to the dialogue. 
•Satisfaction. Overall I was very satisfied with how this book turned out because it made me step out of my comfort zone when it comes to genres. I normally don't read magic realism and LGBT books but I can say that I'm glad I picked this up and finished it!

Wild Beauty is a wonderful mixture of wonder and reality that mastered the art of making its readers feel at home while flying. 

It is set to be released on 3 October 2017.
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4.5/5 STARS!! 

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 beautiful. 

This was my first time reading a book written by Anna-Marie McLemore even though I have had When The Moon Was Ours 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 - MY HEART GOES OUT TO THIS BOY Y'ALL!! 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 ♥️
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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Feiwel & Friends Candlewick for the ARC, Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore.  I just love the way Anna-Marie McLemore writes, the title for this third novel is perfect! There is such gorgeous worldbuilding with the gardens of the Nomeolvides women consisting of grandmothers, mothers, and cousins who are bound to the land of La Pradera where to leave is to die. The flowers, their colors, their beauty (and magic) Estrella and her cousins nurture was also a restrictive world where generations of Nomeolvides women have been cursed and their lovers (male or female) were punished by disappearing forever.  Estrella and her cousins, Azalea, Gloria, Calla, and Dalia are all fiercely in love with Bay Briar, whose grandmother owned the lands and gardens of LaPradera.  Would their gifts to LaPradera spare Bay from their venomous hearts?  Estrella finds a boy who has no memory of who he is or where he comes from.  Together, the Nomeolvides women decide this boy, Fel, is a gift - maybe he is going to save LaPredera and hopefully bring back their lovers.  They all decide to love him as a brother.  So begins McLemore’s stunning novel with her special kind of magical realism in plot, setting, imagery, dialogue, and language. This book was lush, full of confusion, lies, secrets and the drama of families, loss, and love.  I could not put down this mesmerizing world of flowers, willful Nomeolvides women, Fel’s grasping for memories and loving the Nomeolvides women.  Highly recommended!
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A beautifully written book about 5 cousins whose family can't leaver La Padera or they will die. These remarkable young women can grow the flower of their name sake at will. The cousins and their mothers live together tending the garden and are determined never to fall in love. For if they do their loved one will disappear forever. 

I loved the magical realism and LGBTQ touch.
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McLemore's writing only gets better and better. The story is lush and magical and the characters are fully realized and memorable.
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I loved the cover of this book, one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and was excited to read it due to the great reviews I saw on goodreads, but just couldn't get into it-- it was too offbeat for me and not the kind of "love story" I enjoy... But thank you for the opportunity!
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What a gorgeous book. Lush and magical the story of Nomeolvides  women living on the beautiful estate of La Pradera that enchants anyone who goes there. the author is so descriptive you feel as if you can really see this grand estate. The women that live here although magical have secrets . Anyone they ever love disappears . A mysterious boy appears one day and as he pieces together his past the story of La Pradera's dark past and the Nomeoelvides women come to light. you will get lost in the pages of this beautiful enchanting book.
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This book was glorious. I went in having heard great things about Anna Marie McLemore and nervous that she wouldn't live up to the hype but this exceeded my expectations and has me excited to go out and buy her other books!

In the YouTube link below my review begins at 9 minutes and 22 seconds.
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I am in love with Anna-Marie McLemore’s stories. They’re all mystical and full of mystery and secrets. Her books present a deep understanding of the world and human emotion using lore and creative characters. What if you love someone and they disappear? How will that affect you? Will you become cold to the world and create a garden to protect yourself? Or will you love in spite of them leaving? This book takes five women, their mothers, and their grandmothers, and gives us their answers.

There are so many relationships and characters in this book that spoke volumes. Estrella is such a strong character and she develops so well. In the beginning, she seems to go with the flow and work in the world her family has created in La Pradera. But as the story goes on, she branches out and realizes not everything is what she imagines it to be. Estrella is as unique as her name, a star in a sea of flowers.

Fel is the boy she discovers in the garden. When we meet him, he remembers nothing before that moment, and even as the plot progresses, he isn’t exactly sure about his memories, just remembers little things and how he felt about the people he loved. He is a blank canvas, and I love that even as he struggles to understand who he is and what his life was like before, he has an inclination to be as truthful as he can be and as kind. Fel and Estrella are fantastic together.

I absolutely love that this book has bisexual representation. Not only that, but they are PoC! All of the cousins in the current generation of Nomeolvides women are bisexual, and even some of the mothers and grandmothers are. There is also a genderqueer character. This story had so many diverse characters that were represented incredibly well and shared their untold stories in a way that really resonates with the reader.

If you read and loved When the Moon Was Ours, you’ll love Wild Beauty. Anna-Marie McLemore does a great job with representation and brings out spectacular characters you root with, feel with, and want more of. While When the Moon Was Ours focused more on the development of the characters and learning more about their struggles, I found that Wild Beauty was more about the history of La Pradera and the Nomeolvides women, their legacy and their curse. Both are beautifully written and stayed with me long after I finished.

Wild Beauty is a wonderful story about family, love, power, and hidden history. I can’t wait till this book comes out so I can get a published copy. Eagerly awaiting her next book!
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If i had to describe this story in one word, it would be "beautiful".. Beautiful language, beautiful characters and a beautiful setting. Few authors can make a setting seem so lush and real. It's almost another character in the story, and not just because it hapoens to be magical. The characters are interesting and unique, and I love the strength of the female characters and their bonds.
I can see some readers shying away because of the issues of sexuality addressed. I hope those who would be offended will accept the lesbian theme as integral to the story, not gratuitous or gimmicky. It is not addressed explicitly. It simply exists in the story, which in my opinion is the way good writing should address controversial themes. Shying away from this novel because it features a subplot of women in love with women would be a mistake. It is a beautiful celebration of love in all its forms, including romantic and familial.
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This book was incredible, very, very lush. I tried to savor this title but I couldn't help myself and read as fast as I could. Everything from the family descriptions and characterizations to the descriptions of the gardens and flowers themselves was breathtaking. The heartbreak that you experience reading this feels so real and fierce. This book had me captivated till the very end. Highly recommend.
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Anna-Marie is such an incredible author. I love how whimsical her stories are and how beautifully poetic her writing is. Her sensory descriptions are so good at world building and making you feel like you are experiencing the story along with the characters! This book was another gorgeous tale of family, relationships, magic and beauty. Although some parts were a bit slow, it was the slow burn that sucks you in and keeps you excited to see what happens next. The characters were well developed and I love that McLemore's characters are always grey. There are no purely good or purely bad characters in her books and she lets the readers decide how to perceive their motivations.
I would definitely recommend this book, especially to someone who has enjoyed other works by the author.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing/Feiwel & Friends for the eARC of Wild Beauty.

Wild Beauty is the story of the Nomeolvides women, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters (5 in each generation) who have "flowers in their hands" and live in La Pradera, a former waste that their powers with plants have transformed into Eden. The women have been called witches in the outside world, but here prove that their powers create beauty and fecundity (and money for the rich family who own the land). The catch is that they can't leave (on pain of death, choked by pollen) and that their lovers disappear. For Estrella, the daughter we follow most closely, this is her life until Bay, the girl she and her cousins love disappears and Fel, a boy from who knows where shows up and things start to change.

A disclaimer before I really get into the review. This book just didn't grab me - it took me almost a month to read, and I really had to power through the last section. I think it is more a case of not for me than truly bad, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would based on the interesting premise.

Here's what I did like - the beginning is interesting. I liked my first steps into La Pradera and wondering what the mysteries surrounding these women were. The flowery (literally) language also landed better at the beginning of the book, and really did allow me to imagine this place. Unfortunately, things dragged in the middle and a the end of this one for me. The book was too slow to make me want to get back to it. I also felt that the characters were treated too much like groups - the 5 grandmothers and mothers had almost no character development and the 5 cousins had only barely more. We know Estrella and some other details about a few of the cousins, but I still felt like I didn't KNOW them. Ultimately, I felt the world building was lacking too. There was a definite sence of place in La Pradera (the best aspect of the book), but there wasn't a good sense of time or of what the outside world might be like. That just didn't work for me.

Overall, I can see why people might be enchanted by La Pradera and the Nomeolvides women, but the worldbuilding an increasingly repetitive language fell flat for me. For better world building and  more luscious language, try Laini Taylor and for a pseudo-Spain but kinda fantasy setting, try Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns series.
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Oh. My. God. Guys. This book literally made it into my ultimate top ten, and I read over 100 books per year. Like this book blew my mind. I’m trying really hard to be serious and do a well-written, eloquent review, but really all I want to do is fangirl about this book. So I’m gonna take a minute to fangirl.


Okay, I’m calm now. Mostly.

When I received the ARC of Wild Beauty I, I was SO excited. This novel follows the Nomeolvides family. For as long as they can remember, there have always been five Nomeolvides in every generation, and every Nomeolvides woman is born with a gift and a curse. Every woman is born with flowers at her fingertips; able to grow flowers wherever she wants. They grow them at La Pradera, their home. The land loves them and they love the land; it protects them from those that would call them witches and try to hurt them. However, they are also born with a curse: every man they love disappears into thin air.

There are just so many good things to talk about with this novel, but I need to keep my review shorter than the book, so I’ll pick just a few.

The writing of this book is honestly some of the most beautiful writing I’ve read in years. Rich descriptions and staggering emotion fill every page, and the writing is both original and reminiscent of my favorite old fairy tales. I wanted to read this book again and again just for the craft of it. If I can write even half as well as Anna-Marie McLemore someday, I will die happy.

The characters and relationships in this book are extremely well crafted. The way McLemore approaches the topic of womanhood and motherhood in a multi-generational home is refreshing to see within young-adult fiction. This brought a depth to the story that was simply beautiful in that achingly poignant way that makes you want to read this story again and again.

The concept of this book was also very original. Finding a YA novel that approaches magic in a fresh, new way is extremely rare, and finding a concept that hasn’t been done before is even more so. But somehow in this book, I found myself being constantly surprised by the ingenuity and creativity of the author.

Finally, the plotting of this book was precise and impeccable. As the writing carried me effortlessly from page to page, the tension and mystery of La Pradera kept my heart racing and my mind spinning. I obviously can’t tell you the ending of this book, but I can say that Anna-Marie McLemore managed to bring in themes and topics that I have never seen done that well in a YA novel before. It was truly a work of art.

Overall, I loved this book, if you haven’t already figured that out. It will be released on October 3rd and I already preordered my hardcover (only $12 for a hardcover guys!). I strongly suggest you do the same. This book just swept me off my feet.

Final rating- 5/5
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So, heads up, I'm latina, I was brought up reading magical realism. It was the first and last genre I learned at school (at least I did). I read 100 years of solitude when I was 12 because I wanted to (and that's 500 pages of an adult novel). So by the time I was a teenager I wanted magical realism far away from me. I enjoyed it, but I felt like I've had enough.

AND THEN. OH AN THEN THIS BOOK HAPPENED. It's PERFECT. I love everything about this and the author is latina herself so YAY! (I have my reservations for non latinos writing magical realism). 

If you're new to the genre I advise you go in with an open mind, it can be tricky to get into the novel but once you do YOU'LL LOVE IT I promise! The characters are well rounded, the plot is so intriguing, it has bi rep, AAAAND the writing is beautiful. BEAUTIFUL I TELL YOU. Here's my favorite quote so YOU CAN SEE:

“Even in it’s first faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidding places. Love grew such strange things.”

I'm so glad I got to read this one so early, Wild Beauty just made me happy, you know? Go read!
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I savored this beautiful book as much as I could, but I couldn't hold myself and devoured in half way through to the end. Gorgeous, true magical realism. Such luscious writing it felt like swimming in a pool of sensory indulgence. We Need Diverse Books like this, authentic, honest, and gorgeous. I'll read everything Anna-Marie writes forever and ever. 
Thank you for the copy, Netgalley!
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