Author: Anna-Marie McLemore
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: March 8th, 2022
Genres: Young Adult fantasy
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.
Thoughts and Themes: There is so much to love about this book and just from the first few pages I knew that I was going to enjoy this book. I love that in this book we get two Trans main characters and that they are both neurodivergent. Also, I loved that Bastian is a boy and non-binary, I wrote so like me?!!! because I rarely see that in books. I don’t see many non-binary boys anywhere and it’s so nice to see one in something I am reading.
I can’t speak much about the neurodivergent representation since it isn’t the same that I have experience with but I really enjoyed getting a chance to read two characters that have ADHD and are dyslexic. I liked getting a chance to see how their neurodivergence shapes how they interact with others and how they navigate their surroundings.
There are so many sentences in this book that I highlighted because they were just beautifully written or because they spoke to me. I related so much to each of the main characters in different ways and just loved the world under the sea. I really liked getting a chance to see how Bastian resorts to making alebrijes and where that all comes from.
Characters: In this book, you get to meet several characters through their interactions with Lore and Bastian. You mainly get to meet some of Bastian’s friends, and both of their families. I loved all of the relationships in this story and really enjoyed getting to see how things change throughout the book.
I loved the relationship between Bastian and Lore and how it goes from friendship to much more but loved that Bastian made it clear that it didn’t have to be more. I thought it was great to have Lore experience that and I liked that they talk about how boys feel entitled to someone but Bastian wasn’t like that. I liked getting a chance to see how they just understand each other on a level that others just don’t get.
I also really loved all of Bastian’s friends and how they all support him but also are there for Lore when they need them. I loved getting a glimpse into each of these characters and seeing what they are like. I also really liked getting a chance to learn about Bastian and Lore’s families and how they shaped them into who they are now.
Writing Style: This book is written in dual POV through the perspectives of Bastian and Lore which I really enjoyed. I liked getting to see the way they both navigated the world and also how they navigated relationships with others. I liked getting a chance to see them both have reasons for holding parts of themselves away from others and see what happens when those parts are revealed to each other.
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award; 2017 Stonew
all Honor Book WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; WILD BEAUTY, a Kirkus Best Book of 2017; and BLANCA & ROJA, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. DARK AND DEEPEST RED, a reimagining of The Red Shoes based on true medieval events, is forthcoming in January 2020.