The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.
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.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
McLemore’s writing just becomes more complex and embracing with every novel she publishes. This is yet another tender, clear-sighted, beautiful story from her. Special points for her gorgeous descriptions of nature, the phenomenal representation, the tricky and nuanced conversations about colorism and gender, and food. Highly recommend.