Sisters Blanca and Roja attempt to escape their family curse in this mashup of “Snow-White and Rose-Red” and Swan Lake.
As long as anyone in the Latinx del Cisne (“of the swans”) family can remember, there have always been two daughters: One is destined to be transformed into a swan shortly after the younger sister’s 15th birthday, while the other is left behind to live as a human. Fiery, darker-skinned, redheaded 15-year-old Roja has always believed she’s the one the swans will claim, while kind, fair-skinned, golden-haired, 17-year-old Blanca has always promised Roja they would do everything to fight the curse. Despite being considered opposites, the sisters share a seemingly unbreakable bond that’s tested when two missing local high school boys reappear in the woods near their home as a cygnet and a bear. White best friends Yearling, a boy from a rich but toxic family, and Page, a trans boy whose family are apple farmers, hide in the del Cisne home after returning to their human bodies. As love blossoms between the sisters and the best friends, they attempt to avoid a heartbreaking destiny. As with her other stories, McLemore (Wild Beauty, 2017, etc.) weaves in powerful themes of identity, family, and first love, but there are also much-needed messages about overcoming hurtful stereotypes and expectations.
McLemore’s poignant retelling is a must-read for fans of fantasy and fairy tales. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 13-18)