Monday, August 17, 2015

Early Review: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Weight of Feathers
by Anna-Marie McLemore
Read: July 9 - 11, 2015
Published:  September 15, 2015 by Thomas Dunne
Source: NetGalley (Thank you, St. Martin's/Macmillan)
Category: YA, magical realism, California, 1960s

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows—the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. 

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees. 

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.


The Weight of Feathers is set in California sometime in the late 1960s. It is about two families of traveling performers who hate each other bitterly because of something that happened 20 years ago. The Corbeaus perform in trees as winged faeries, while the Paloma's wear colorful mermaid tails in the water for the public. They don't interact except to throw fists or exchange accusing words. Cluck Corbeau and Lace Paloma are caught in the middle of the feud between their families. Amidst the hatred and superstition, and all the broken pieces that swirl around them ready to cut and destroy, love blooms, and it is magic. 

Inside and out, this is a beautiful story. It is lovely and dreamy and achy and sharp all at once. The perfect read for a hot summer day. I was glued to Lace and Cluck's story: watching them find each other and discover themselves within the turmoil of their rival families. The gorgeous writing, magical realism, and timeless feel to the setting serves to heighten the experience. The dream-like third person narrative and the undefined time period (I love these elements) may cause readers to struggle to connect into the book at first, but I encourage you to keep reading and let the story sweep you into Cluck and Lace's world. 

Lace and Cluck are weighed down by superstitious and abuse by their families, and though their love seems doomed by nature of that, I saw such similarities in their characters and experiences and I was desperate for them to find a way through it all. These two are very vulnerable, and in many ways not traditionally strong characters, especially when facing their own families. If you take away the loveliness of this story, it's clear they have been emotionally and sometimes physically abused, and Lace is suffering from PTSD after an event that happened early in the book. It's hard sometimes to understand why they've stayed  with their families and accepted so much. But I loved seeing them began to fight for each other, and pick a different path. Sometimes the strongest - and most difficult - thing you can do is break away from the things determined to hold you down. 

"Her mouth found the things he'd always been but had not been allowed to be, everything in him that was dangerous and passionate. They sparked against each other like flint."*

Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 

*Quote from an uncorrected proof and subject to change in the final version.


  1. Ooh I can't wait to read this one. I can't wait to see the magical realism displayed. The dynamic between the romantic couple sounds wonderful, but the family rivalries do seem a bit dramatized. I wouldn't put up with it, I'd probably leave... Beautiful review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  2. The Weight of Feathers sounds so good! I'm a fan of magical realism and I can't wait to see how it's played out in the story. I love a romance that slowly builds and has to overcome obstacles, and can't wait to meet Lace and Cluck.
    Lovely review, Lauren :)

  3. I haven't heard of this one before but I really love the cover and the historical setting of this appeals to me completely at the moment as I just finished watching Mad Men, also set in the 1960s. Anyway, thanks for putting this on my radar since I think this is something I'd really enjoy. I'll definitely be comparing notes with you on this once I've read it, Lauren--fantastic review!(:

  4. Gorgeous review Lauren :D Thank you so much for sharing about this book. <3 It seems pretty amazing. Looks gorgeous. Unsure if I would like it, but maybe :D So glad you enjoyed it, though. <3 Sounds so so interesting.

  5. I know a lot of people have been loving this book but I never really looked into it and now I am regretting it. This book sounds mesmerizing and something that will sweep you away. I can already imagine the heartache of reading this book because of the abuse the main characters undergo.

    Lovely review, Lauren <3

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  6. Lovely review, friend! I did have trouble getting into this one in the beginning, though the writing was gorgeous, but it was totally worth the slow start. Such a hopeful and imaginative story! I'm excited to see what this author will write in the future. :D

    P.S. I think eventually all that will be left for us triangle haters will be stand alones LOL.


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