Title: The Weight of Feathers
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Magical Realism
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Wow. Just.. Wow. This book. This book is definitely a favorite, and one I will treasure forever. The author dedicated it to her husband, with the words, 'for being the boy I fell so hard and so fast that I will never forget what it feels like to be seventeen'. This book brought back so feelings for me, the feeling of first falling in love with my husband, with a connection so tense and beyond anything I'd ever felt for anyone else before.
I loved this book. There were definitely elements of a Romeo and Juliet, forbidden romance vibe, but it made it all the sweeter for me. And then there were the characters, one Spanish, the other, French, and the two cultures that melded throughout the novel. (Each chapter is introduced with a nugget of wisdom from one of the two cultures.) The writing was gorgeous, captivating, so much so that I devoured almost half the book in a single sitting.
But it wasn't just the prose, or the characters, though that definitely helped. It was also the dark, almost silent family secrets lurking in the background of both characters' families--that was one of the reasons this book was just so compelling for me. The Corbeaus and the Palomas, eternal enemies. One French, one Spanish. Two families who often come close to one another, as they are all performers, but never cross without some blood or violence.
I won't lie, though: Parts of this book were particularly hard to get through, so much so that I had to get up and walk away to avoid screaming in rage, or crying, in pain or frustration. That was just another reason why I loved it. This book made me feel so much, touched me to the heart and soul.
I know that this is McLemore's debut novel, but.. Could you please write another book? Please? The love story, Lace and Cluck, and the incredible characterization. God, I loved all of it, even as the frustration mounted and the families infuriated me beyond measure. Lace, headstrong, brave, just coming into her own as a person as well as a young woman, and Cluck, the one no one wants around, the misfit, the ugly duckling in a family of beautiful, sure-footed swans. I loved them both.
But what really sold this, as I said before, were the shocking twists and turns involving both families, hiding dark secrets and clinging to lies. I've seen Romeo and Juliet stories time and time again, but none have ever touched me like this. The bottom line: A beautiful love story wrapped in dark family secrets and lies, with a few dashes of coming of age angst, The Weight of Feathers is a gorgeous debut--absolutely amazing! Next on deck: Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne!