In this young adult novel by award-winning author Anna-Marie McLemore, two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake – but can they keep their worlds above water intact?
Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water. But Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia are the only ones who’ve been there. Bastián grew up both above the lake and in the otherworldly space beneath it. Lore’s only seen the world under the lake once, but that one encounter changed their life and their fate.
Then the lines between air and water begin to blur. The world under the lake drifts above the surface. If Bastián and Lore don’t want it bringing their secrets to the surface with it, they have to stop it, and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.
Make no mistake, this is not an easy book to read. Nor is it a book for everyone. Some readers will have no trouble at all, some will have to work up the emotional bandwidth first, others won’t be able to engage with it at all, and some will read it like I did, in bits anLakelore lives in intersectionality. It’s not about just being Latinx or just being neurodivergent or just being trans/nonbinary. It’s about being all at once; it’s about the way those identities overlap, blend together, and alter each other. Lore’s dyslexia overlaps with their nonbinary-ness which overlaps with their brownness in ways they’re keenly aware of: “I’m already a brown nonbinary kid who just moved to a mostly white town. If the learning specialist gives me anything less than a sparkling review, the teachers will be even more on alert than they already are…and they’ll decide I’m a lost cause.” Likewise, Bastián is managing (and I use that word very loosely) their ADHD by saying they understand something when they don’t; they’re too ashamed to ask for help, partly because of internalized machismo, even when it means they don’t know how to give themselves their T shots.
Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.
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