book review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | good, but underwhelming

wild beauty.png

Wild Beauty

by Anna-Marie McLemore

read in February 2018

format: physical ARC (thanks to giveaway)

This is a spoiler-free review!

synopsis

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.

my_review_001

I am sad that Wild Beauty didn’t live up to the hype for me. I had absolutely expected to love this, but I was also apprehensive because I’m not familiar with magical realism. There is nothing wrong with this novel, but I felt rather indifferent about it…

From the very first chapter, I was confused. I never grew accustomed to the flowery writing. I don’t like analysing the books I read, hence why I don’t read poetry and classics. I have the feeling as if I didn’t fully absorb the story because of this. I found myself skimming and re-reading sentences, which is really unfortunate.

My favourite part of Wild Beauty was definitely the characters. Fel was so precious and I’m usually not swooned by allocishet male characters, so kudos to McLemore! The bond between the Nomeolvides cousins was beautiful, though I would’ve liked to see more interactions with the mothers and grandmothers as well.

This book is filled with bisexual girls and there is also a gay male side character. We find out that these sexualities aren’t understood by everyone, but it’s not a big deal for these characters. They are unapologetically queer; there was no drama involved.

I am cisgender so I am not the best person to judge this, but I thought the book was a bit cissexist at times, talking solely about “boys and girls” in reference to romantic partners.

content and trigger warning for underage drinking, Christianity, scars caused by lashes, physical violence, grief, mentions of racism (challenged), mentions of anti-gay violence (challenged), cissexist language, kissing without explicit consent


Though Wild Beauty isn’t going to be very memorable for me, I would still recommend this book to others because of its diversity (queer and brown Latinx characters), the praise it has received and the fact that I did enjoy reading it. I definitely plan on reading this author’s other work and I hope I will get used to her writing style.

name2

Twitter Chalky Blue  Pinterest Chalky Blue  Instagram Chalky Blue  Gplus Chalky Blue  Email Chalky Blue  Bloglovin Chalky Blue

Please buy me a coffee if you like my content. I am a Book Depository and Wordery affiliate. If you are interested in buying any books, please purchase from these links. you get free shipping and I get a small commission!

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “book review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore | good, but underwhelming

  1. Ellyn says:

    It took me about 10 pages to get into Wild Beauty so I understand where you’re coming from – the writing really threw me at first but I eventually got used to it.
    I also really enjoyed Fel.
    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paperbackdreamer says:

    ahhh, i’m so sorry that it didn’t work out for you 😦
    i’ve had it on my shelf since it’s come out and i still haven’t picked it up!
    i hope your next read is better 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s