cover image Blanca & Roja

Blanca & Roja

Anna-Marie McLemore. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-16271-7

McLemore (Wild Beauty) offers another lushly written fairy tale retelling, this time intermingling hints of “Snow White” with “Swan Lake” and other classic tales of girls turned into swans. Devoted sisters Blanca and Roja are as different physically as siblings can be. Roja has hair as dark as “coffee grounds, but red... a red so dark it looked wet” and skin “as brown as the almond’s skin”; Blanca’s skin is pale, her hair “as fine and blond as a duckling’s down.” They grow up under a curse: in each generation of sisters, swans take one sister during the bloom of adolescence to become a swan for life. Rather than turn the sisters into rivals, McLemore tells a love story between siblings reticent to betray the other, both equally determined to outsmart the curse and the eager swans along with it. Two additional protagonists populate the novel: Barclay, a blue-eyed boy who becomes a bear by a different name and falls for Roja, and Page, a gender-non- binary teen who turns into a cygnet and grows captivated with Blanca. The four protagonists’ family drama and secrets help to compel the narrative forward in this twisty, allusive story. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Taylor Martindale Kean, Full Circle Literary. (Oct.) [/em]