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by Anna-Marie McLemore

WILD BEAUTY by Anna-Marie McLemore

a magical realism YA/cross-over which Feiwel & Friends will publish in hardcover September 2017

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 Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

About the author: A third-generation Mexican-American, McLemore writes from her heritage in the Southwest. In 2008, she graduated from the University of Southern California. During her time at USC, her family history essay was featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, an online spotlight piece for the organization for over a year. She is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction, and winner of the 2012 Victoria Hudson Emerging Writer Scholarship. Her work appears in The Portland Review, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, A Priceless Wedding (Voyageur Press, Dec. 2012), and as part of Camera Obscura’s “Bridge-the-Gap” series. Writing under the pen name Anna Meadows, her Chicana-themed romance appears in twenty anthologies. She lives in California’s Central Valley. Her debut novel was The Weight of Feathers. Her second novel, When the Moon was Ours, was longlisted for the National Book Award, 2016. http://cricketssingforannamarie.blogspot.com


* Foreign sales history:

When the Moon was Ours: Romania (Herg Benet)

The Weight of Feathers: Turkey (Marti)

Favorite lines:

“Through the blue-gray veil of sleep he understood. She was stopping him from drifting away. She was anchoring him to this bed so his dreams could not draw him up into their current like dust into the air. She was pulling him back from the place where he dreamed about scars appearing on his back, that feeling like he was being cut open with a rope made of embers.

The petals went dark, one at a time like blown-out candles. Then there was nothing but night sky, and her hands, and these whispered words.

Stay. A thing she told him to do for no other reason than This is where you are.”

“Her pride was so sure he could almost taste it on the air, like sugar mixed with the bite of chili powder. She was both shameless and soft, open-hearted and vicious. He wondered how she remembered to be all these things at once, how there was any space left in her to lure flowers from the earth.”

“None of them had seemed safe the way loving Bay had seemed safe. Bay, the one they’d grown up alongside, but who was never close enough for them to hold onto. She was the yellow fleck of a planet in the night sky, too far to grasp, but shining and easy to find, appearing in the dark so reliably they could almost believe she was theirs.”

Praise for Anna-Marie McLemore’s previous work:


“McLemore mesmerizes once again with a lush narrative set at the thresholds of identity, family, and devotion….Luxurious language infused with Spanish phrases, Latin lunar geography, and Pakistani traditions is so rich it lingers on the tongue, and the presence of magic is effortlessly woven into a web of prose that languidly unfolds to reveal the complexities of gender, culture, family, and self. Readers will be ensnared in this ethereal narrative long before they even realize the net has been cast.” – Kirkus, starred review

“Love bests every opponent in this surreal exploration of familial bonds and sexual identity….Amid the ordinariness of the small-town setting, McLemore winds arabesques of magical realism. This imbues the narrative with the feel of a centuries-old fairy tale, while the theme of sexual identity gives it the utmost relevance.” – School Library Journal, starred review

“McLemore’s second novel is such a lush surprising fable, you half expect birds to fly out of the pages….McLemore uses the supernatural to remind us that the body’s need to speak its truth is primal and profound, and that the connection between two people is no more anyone’s business than why the dish ran away with the spoon.” – Jeff Giles, New York Times Book Review

“With luminous prose infused with Latino folklore and magical realism, this mixes fairy-tale ingredients with the elegance of a love story, with all of it rooted in a deeply real sense of humanity. Lovely, necessary, and true.” – Booklist, starred review

“It is a story of secrets, and of speaking them, and the power of saying–and living–your truth, without fear.” – Lambda Literary

“McElmore blends magical elements with a culturally vibrant cast to create a haunting modern fairy tale....Lush, reverential language remains a hallmark of McElmore’s work....Readers interested in gender identity and the pull of family and history will find this to be an engrossing exploration of these and other powerful themes.” – Publishers Weekly

“McLemore dances deftly across genres, uniquely weaving glistening strands of culture, myth, dream, mystery, love, and gender identity to create a tale that resonated to my core. It’s that rare kind of book that you want to read slowly, deliciously, savoring every exquisite sentence. I adored this book.” – Laura Resau, Américas Award Winning Author of Red Glass and The Queen of Water

“Lushly written and surprisingly suspenseful, this magical tale is not just a love story, but a story of the secrets we keep and the lies we tell, and the courage it takes to reveal our authentic selves to each other and to the world.” – Laura Ruby, Printz Award Winning-Author of Bone Gap

“I loved all the magic and the quirkiness of the story and its setting, even though it was surprisingly creepy and thrilling. There were some amazing plot twists that I didn’t see coming and I highly enjoyed every last word of this novel.” – Reading With Jenna

“This is also another title where I get excited because we are seeing something so new here. This story hasn’t been told. These characters are unique. The plot took completely unexpected twists. Give to this fans of magical realism, those who liked Sarah McCarry’s Metamorphoses Trilogy or Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap, and anyone who appreciates staggeringly beautiful writing. Go read.” – Teen Librarian Tool Box

“If you loved Feathers, you’ll most likely love Moon as the curses, family problems, and magical realism are all still present. The prose itself is excellent, with many beautiful, sometimes haunting, frequently memorable lines and passages. Moon is a fascinating world filled with women who can cure lovesickness, girls made of water, roses that grow from people’s wrists, boys who paint and hang the dozens of moons, and sisters who can get whatever and whoever they want.” – Rich in Color

“As with her debut novel, The Weight of Feathers, McLemore threads these very real and tangible issues with elements of magical realism, using Miel’s roses, Sam’s moons, and the Bonner sisters’ witchery to great effect, and the languid, elegant prose immerses readers in a strange but gorgeous world. A coming of age story with the feel of a fairy tale, this will leave readers sighing in satisfaction and wonder.” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“If you are a fan of descriptive writing that will transport you to another time and place, this is a book that you won’t want to miss. It’s clever, it’s sweet, and it will captivate your heart. You will never be able to look at roses again without feeling light and hope.” – Here’s To Happy Endings

“[T]he novel is gorgeously rendered, with a delicate, slow-moving sense of tension that drips steadily–like honey–throughout. Like all good fairy-tales, When The Moon Was Ours imparts to the reader a valuable, hard won lesson. It is a story of secrets, and of speaking them, and the power of saying—and living—your truth, without fear.” – Lambda Literary

“Oh my stars! The beauty of this novel! Everything—the magical realism, the atmosphere—absolutely stunning. It took my breath away; I didn’t want the book to end.” – Lovely Bookshelf

“When The Moon Was Ours shines with its standout plot and characters. You’ll never look at the moon the same way again.” – Quite The Novel Idea

“When the Moon Was Ours is a book that made me think. It stayed with me for weeks after I’d finished it and it got me to consider questions and topics I’ve never really thought about before.” – Of Dragons And Hearts

“When the Moon Was Ours is a very personal story for Anna-Marie McLemore and you can tell. It feels like she put her heart into it and makes us feel it with every single page. Only a few books ever made me feel this kind of sadness, making it so easy to love it for all the things it’s able to make me feel. When the Moon Was Ours does not only tell the most beautifully sad story, but also an important one, one that I hope many will read.” – It’s All About Books

“Readers looking for diverse reads should celebrate, because it doesn’t get much better than this.” – Books Bones Buffy

“When the Moon Was Ours was a phenomenal novel that I highly recommend. Seriously, I can not praise it enough.” – Read Sleep Repeat

“If you've wanted a book that's sensitive to gender identity and sexuality, check it out. If you want to read a beautiful modern fairy tale, look no further.” – Sarcasm and Lemons

“Gorgeous writing with characters that make your heart ache and a lush storyline exploring humility, empathy, and love, Anne-Marie McLemore yet again writes a book that just tugged on my heartstrings.” – Happy Indulgence Books

“When the Moon Was Ours is enchanting and captivating from the very first page. The writing is flowery and lyrical and the atmosphere is akin to a fairy tale, which makes this a beautiful read.” – YA Bookers

“The whole of When the Moon was Ours is unique. I have never read anything like it, and I probably never will again. When the Moon was Ours is a singular and emotionally agonizing exploration of some of our deepest fears – mostly the ones pertaining to ourselves that we bury so deep we have forgotten they existed at all. McLemore has created something wonderful once again, and I am so privileged to have been a part of the adventure.” – Reeds Reads Review


"This is a true work of young adult literature. Anna-Marie McLemore draws us into a world that's magical but still feels very, very real, and gives us an exquisitely told tale of star-crossed love. The romance pours out onto the page because her writing is beautiful, fluid, lyrical. Like water. Like air. It's so wonderfully written it begs to be read aloud. You can feel her sentences flowing over your tongue as you read. I never wanted this story to end, but when it did, even that felt perfect." – Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves

“An un-missable story that sets us between river and treetops, between rival and lover, between age-old myth and hidden truth. With characters and a writing style tinged in magic, Anna-Marie McLemore's debut will leave you enchanted till the last page….McLemore conjures the glow of magic—in an old feud, in a new love, and in this beautiful story of how we discover who we really are.” – Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer

“The Weight of Feathers is a gorgeous debut, lush and heart-tuggingly romantic, full of bittersweet magic.” – Jessica Spotswood, author of The Cahill Witch Chronicles

“Readers beguiled by the languorous language—a striking mix of French and Spanish phrases, wry colloquialism, lush imagery, and elevated syntax-will find themselves falling under its spell. The third-person narration alternates between Lace and Cluck, doling out twists and building to a satisfying, romantic conclusion. A contemporary, magical take on an ever compelling theme.” – Kirkus

“A gripping, beautifully rendered story with prose reminiscent of Eva Luna and a fantastical world as captivating as that of The Night Circus.” – Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes

“A dazzling debut full of imaginative flair, long-buried secrets, and hypnotic power. It drew me in with its gorgeous passages and left me reeling with a fantastical story about love and struggling against the confines of family and creating a life all your own.” – Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls

“Lush and descriptive, magical and dreamlike, The Weight of Feathers will transport you to a place you’ve never been, make you feel things for people you’ve never met, and leave you wanting more.”

– Books Bones Buffy

“I was glued to Lace and Cluck's story: watching them find each other and discover themselves within the turmoil of their rival families. The gorgeous writing, magical realism, and timeless feel to the setting serves to heighten the experience.” – Love Is Not A Triangle

“The way Anna-Marie McLemore depicted the life of traveling performers is just educational. She showed not only the ins and outs of performing acts but also the struggles, issues, and dreams of living performers. Add the different cultures, languages and beliefs of the characters, The Weight of Feathers is surely an entertaining and educational read that is more than just Romeo and Juliet look alike.”

– Black Plume

“The writing also had a very lyrical feel to it which suited the descriptions of the performances nicely. That was one of my favorite parts.” – Please Feed the Bookworm

“The Weight of Feathers brought me to tears, had me rooting for the main characters and completely entranced in these two family’s dramas. I felt that McLemore did an exquisite job creating her world and characters…” – My Friends are Fiction

“At the center, you have Lace and Cluck, from the two opposing families, who meet and fall in love. The book is told in both their voices and I loved the use of dual POV. Anna-Marie McLemore mastered both these voices beautifully….I loved watching them blossom into two characters who fought for themselves and stood up to others when necessary.” – Nick’s Book Blog