Lush and vivid imagery make for a beautifully written, if somewhat enigmatic, modern fairytale. Fresh character concepts blend with universal and timeless themes to make something that feels weighty and exotic, and yet, still welcoming. In short, Anna-Marie McLemore spins a pretty and a pretty strange tale that I gave four stars.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
The book is paced for a leisurely read – rife with descriptions of pumpkins and petals, well drawn emotions, and pauses where characters ponder how much self discovery they can handle. Both Miel and Sam are carefully crafted characters that transcend the page, and I enjoyed their journey towards acceptance. I loved their friendship – the kind that lasts despite the ugliness of life. At the same time, the magical realism did, as usual, leave me feeling like I was a step behind. I never fully understood the mystical bond of the Bonner sisters, and that left me a little frustrated. Don’t get me started on the glass pumpkins – that is a mystery beyond my comprehension. However, if you are willing to embrace the tale and let go of some of your rational questions, this is enchanting. Some language and sexual situations make this most appropriate for the 15+ crowd.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.