Review: “Blanca and Roja” by Anna-Marie McLemore


Release Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism


The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts.” (via Goodreads)


My Thoughts

BlancaAndRoja-coverIf I told you Blanca & Roja was a retelling of “Snow White,” “Rose Red,” and “Swan Lake,” it would be the truth, but an incomplete one. Yes, it soaks classic fairy tales in Latinx mythology and Spanish vocabulary, but that is a shallow summation. It’s the kind of story that makes you realize you’ve been using the descriptor “magical realism” all wrong; that it is more than just magical elements seeping into the real world but subversion and surrealism colliding with and exposing the everyday…

To read the rest of my review, head over to

Even when there were sons, there were always daughters alongside them, two sisters, whether they had brothers or not. Always two, always enough that the swans could take one and leave behind the other. My bisabuela had already raised three sons, sure she was too old for more children, when her daughters arrived. My great-great-aunt, intent on having one child, delivered, to her surprise, twin daughters. My second cousin thought she had defied the swans by having a single son and a single daughter, until the child thought to be a boy declared herself as the girl she had always been.

The way our aunt and our great-aunts tell it, our family never knows which daughter the swans will take.

But I’ve always known it would be me.

Thanks to Feiwel & Friends for sending me a review copy.

Do the world a favor and buy this from an indie bookstore or borrow it from your local public library.

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