A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about magical realism, various flowers the sisters specialize in growing, and how quarries work.
Strong messages about the value of open communication between family members, acceptance of all forms of love, sexual orientation, and gender expressions, and the overwhelming nature of true love. Also: Acknowledge past mistakes, ask for forgiveness, move forward, and redeem yourself.
Positive Role Models
The Nomeolvides cousins are brave, kind, and courageous, assertive, compassionate, and fiercely loyal. They love and protect one another and those they care about; they work together to try to keep Fel safe, and they want the best for one another.
Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks to a disaster that killed many people and devastated an entire area. Someone is believed dead.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing and caressing between a few different couples. One couple makes love, but it's not graphic or gratuitous.
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Insults include "Nancy," "Molly," "stupid," "bastard," "witch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink and smoke (cigars and cigarettes) individually and at meals/parties.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wild Beauty is the third magical realism novel by award-winning young adult author Anna-Marie McLemore. A beautifully written story about a family of women who can grow flowers with their hands, the book takes place in an unspecified period and place. It explores various themes of family, forgiveness, secrets, redemption, and love. There's not much strong language except for a few insults (a few about effeminate or perceived-as-gay men). The violence includes a few disturbing, upsetting recollections: about a disaster that kills many people and destroys part of a town, and the assumed death and disappearance of a couple of characters. Mature teen readers familiar with magical realism will appreciate the sensuous language and the emotional romance.
Is It Any Good?
A gorgeously written tale of family curses, feminism, and true love, this is an ideal choice for fans of magical realism and romance. Estrella and her cousins are stuck in their ancestral home, tending a sunken garden and making sure they don't fall in love -- lest that person disappear forever. The cousins are fiercely protective of one another, and it's clear they struggle with their individual desires and what they believe is best for their whole family. Estrella's growing connection with Fel, the mystery man who comes out of the enchanted earth, is a beautifully slow-burning love story of shared secrets and small moments so tender they'll make some readers cry.
McLemore's books aren't easy page-turners, because they demand to be savored and enjoyed. The language is so rich and lyrical, you need time to process the words, not just speed-read to find out what happens. Reid is a compelling nemesis -- greedy and uninterested in the Nomeolvides women as anything but servants or playthings he can use, whereas Bay (a "bastard Briar") deeply loves and understands them. But Wild Beauty isn't the Briars' story, it's a Nomeolvides tale, and like their name, it's not one you shall forget.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.