Isn’t that such an interesting cover? Too bad the story inside wasn’t as great. Because I’m trying to blog all of the books I read for the Hub Challenge (in the spirit of The Weight of Feathers, número tres es completa/numéro trois est terminée. Thanks, Google Translate.), I’m posting about a book I didn’t particularly care for. But…
I’m old, so if you get that reference, good on you! Check the book out for yourself. It’s a 2016 finalist for the Morris Award for debut authors. Click below to see my full review (copied from my Goodreads because I’m lazy like that).
♥ Heather, Youth Services Librarian
This is a very Romeo and Juliet story of two teens who fall in love despite their warring families. The Palomas tour the country with their mermaid show, and the Corbeaus with their acrobatics in trees. Each family hates the other because of a tragic accident twenty years ago, and each family blames the other. The only time the two families are in the same place is in the town where that accident occurred during the annual blackberry festival.
That could have been enough. That story synopsis above could have made a very nice story. However, McLemore throws in some magical realism. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of magical realism in general, or maybe because it made the story feel very confusing (is it magic or is there a scientific explanation?), but I felt like this was a very big distraction. Each family is extremely superstitious, to the point where I thought, come on, already. This is ridiculous. You’re not living in the Middle Ages. The Palomas have escamas, scales on their bodies. To me, it just sounded like a birthmark. Harder to explain is the feathers that grow out of the Corbeaus’ heads.
Corbeaus and Palomas aren’t allowed contact at all, unless it’s fighting, because that family member is then cursed. Palomas shoot the crows that are the Corbeaus’ namesake (but not really, because the family is French — and Romani, but that’s a whole other part of the story — and corbeau means raven. One of the Palomas took his wife’s last name because his was Cuervo, which does mean crow in Spanish. Oh, btw, hope you know your Spanish and French. Not everything gets translated). Corbeaus put nets in the water to entangle the Palomas when they swim. The feud is actually really ridiculous, and I find it hard to believe that the younger generations buy into so completely that they believe all of the superstitions.
So if you really like Romeo and Juliet stories and/or magical realism, go for it. This just wasn’t my thing.