Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Title: The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: ARC received for review from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings with your own eyes? It is truly something lovely and awesome to behold. Sorta like this book. The Weight of Feathers takes the Romeo & Juliet story and turns it on its head, making it so much more magical and intriguing than I ever thought the original story was.

Don't get me wrong. I adore stories of forbidden love. But Romeo was a fickle man and not worth dying for, in my opinion. No, I love the stories of feuding families and digging deeper into what started the feud and why it doesn't matter to the couple who find themselves in love in spite of it. And that's exactly what this book does.

Boy, does it ever. The thing I think I liked best about this book was that it was twisty without being tricksy. I was never misdirected, only led astray by my own observations and the assumptions I made because of them. I had theories about the rift between the families, about that fateful day twenty years ago, but I still didn't see it for what it was. Not until I was blinded by it.

And that's mostly because I was so focused on what was developing between Cluck and Lace and what their families were doing to them at this point, not in the past. Secrets are a big part of this story, as is each of the characters' heritage. It's easy to see their roots throughout -- their different superstitions and beliefs -- and to see how that may have led to their status as rival entertaining families and then as plain old enemies.

But Lace and Cluck fall in love not knowing they're supposed to be bitter enemies. Or at least believing that maybe they shouldn't be, or at the very least...that they don't have to be. You could read their genuine affection for each other, something they both needed. There was magic in that, as well as in them. But the magic isn't overt or obvious. In fact, the families keep it hidden -- from their audiences and from anyone who isn't a part of the family. It only shows in a lost feather here or a scale there.

Until a lady straight up bursts into feathers. That part had me transfixed to the story because up until that point, the magical elements to the story had been so subtle and most of the story read like a contemporary. But there were moments when the reader gets a glimpse of something magical but not quite magic. And those moments were beautiful and poignant and what left me feeling light as a feather while reading.

I don't think I realized this story was going to feature magical realism based on what I read of the summary, but that's okay. As I said, it's really understated, and I think that's what makes it such a thing of beauty. This was such an impressive debut, and I can't wait to read more from Anna-Marie McLemore.

GIF it to me straight:
Magical, mysterious, and oh so beautiful.

About the Author:

Anna-Marie McLemore writes from her Mexican-American heritage and the love for stories she learned from her family. She lives in California’s Central Valley. Her debut novel THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a YA contemporary love story with a magical twist, will be released in 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press.

Find Anne-Marie:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook


  1. I'm so glad you liked this one. It's in my TBR for the month and it sounds so interesting. I've been wanting to try more magical realism and I've heard good things about this book. Great review.
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

  2. I've been thinking about this one. It sounds super deep, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be one of those books that are trying too hard or not. It sounds like it's perfect though!! Great review!


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