I love that readathons give me an excuse to read books I might not have picked up. Case in point: Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore. I read this for the OWL Magical Readathon this month. Which was a good thing because it probably would have been another year before I finally picked this up.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
Up until this past weekend, I had not read a book by Anna-Marie McLemore. But I am glad that this was my first experience with her writing, because I absolutely loved it. It was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for. Despite my reading a lot lately, I have been too distracted to sit and read for long periods of time (audiobooks have been saving me). But I still read the majority of Blanca & Roja in one sitting. It was just that good.
It’s been a long time since I read Grimm’s Fairy Tales, so my memory of Snow White and Rose Red is a bit fuzzy. But I can still tell you that this retelling is better. It has all the elements of the original, but flips it on it’s head (kind of like what Frozen did with The Snow Queen). I love magical realism, and when it’s done well, it’s such a magical reading experience. This book was no exception. I absolutely loved the magical elements of this book.
One major highlight for me in this book was the diversity of the characters. Not only do Blanca and Roja both celebrate their Latin heritage throughout the book, there is also really great trans representation in this book. Every time it came up the way it was handled just made me happy. So if you’re looking for great LGBT+ OR Latinx representation, especially in a young adult novel, I highly recommend this one. It just felt like something special, and I can see how a lot of young readers might read this and feel seen, which is so important in literature. Even though this is definitely not a comedy, it still made me really happy to read.
★★★★★ – I absolutely loved Blanca & Roja. I loved the story, I loved the diversity, I loved how the retelling was handled, I loved the magic, and I loved the writing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on my favorites lists this year. And I can’t wait to read more of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books (starting with the two already on my TBR… probably).
Have you read any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books? Which one should I pick up next?