Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Lace Paloma has always been told to stay away from the Corbeaus, a rival performing group that passes around the Paloma’s territories performing. Paloma’s are mermaids, birth marked with scales. Corbeaus are tight rope walkers, most comfortable in the trees. But when she rescues a local boy from her cousin’s, she didn’t know he was a Corbeau. When a local girl rescues Cluck from a group of kids, he doesn’t know she’s a Paloma. And so begins…
It reminds me of that line from the film Ever After: “A bird may love a fish, but where would they live?” McLemore does an excellent job answering this question.
Filled with gorgeously dancing words, it’s easy to succumb to the magical realism in The Weight of Feathers. Lace is smart, passionate and calculated. When a major disaster hits the town both families are in, she has to set about lifting the curse that has been placed on her. Cluck is the boy his family doesn’t seem to want. With broken fingers that never healed and a family that abuses him, he’s more of their slave than their family member. But family loyalties run deep and their love to their families and what they’ve known may be too much for them to overcome.
I don’t want to give too much away as the magic of the book is the story unfolding slowly, gently as the words tumble out. I loved Cluck and Lace and their families. It was heartbreaking and frustrating in a Romeo & Juliet way. The villains are bullies and pawns in the family, the secrets run old and deep and just about destroy generation after generation.
A beautifully written and magical debut, The Weight of Feathers is just about perfect. Full characters, forbidden love, circus acts and magic, hidden family secrets, the story swirls around you not letting you go. And you don’t want it to.
Rating 10 One of the Best
About the Author:
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. The Weight of Feathers is her first novel.
What inspirations/stories did you draw from to write The Weight of Feathers?
Years ago, my father told me about a mermaid show he’d seen when he was in his twenties. Ever since I’ve wanted to write a story about performing mermaids, but it wasn’t until a photographer friend had me out in the woods while wearing a set of wire and cloth wings that the idea for the book came to me. Women swimming in mermaid tails, and winged tree performers. The story grew from those two images coming together.
I also drew on my own culture (I’m Latina), and on Romani and French traditions. I was lucky to have the help of experts who patiently answered my questions about language and cultural history.
What YA book would you like your book to sit next to on someone’s shelf?
Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US. Her work is a huge inspiration to me, and her latest is just riveting.
How do you like your potato?
With plenty of salsa.
In real life, what kind of magic/special ability would you like to have?
Either breathing underwater—I’d love to explore without needing to come up for air—or teleportation—so many wonderful people and places I could visit!
What is your writing process like? Do you have a special place you like to write?
The Boy and I recently got our first sofa ever, so that’s currently my favorite spot to write. As for writing process, I outline, and then outline some more…even though I will likely toss aside the outline midway through. I like knowing where I’m going, even if halfway through writing the story I have to let it go.
You can win a SIGNED Hardcover of The Weight of Feathers!
US and Canadian residents only. Thank you to St. Martins Press for the giveaway!
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
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