Fairytale GOODNESS | Blanca y Roja, AM McLemore | Book Review | Overbooked [CC]

Welcome back to dead book reviews I’m Judith and 
you’re watching another episode of overbooked here  
on the channel, the series where I talk about 
every single book on my shelves, because after  
this, I might just turn into a swan. I’m still 
losing my voice, but I’m armed with medicine.  
And we’re going to talk about Blanca Y Roja. 
Let’s talk about it. I bought this book myself.  
Regardless of where books come from, nobody’s 
paying me to talk about books and all opinions  
are my own. I’m also going to keep this as spoiler 
free as humanly possible though, if you do want to  
go in doing absolutely nothing, click away. Now. 
I will also link the story graph. If you want to  
find any content warnings, there are some 
that do apply. I would look for those down  
below Blanca y Roja, originally released in 2018. 
And I would describe it as a ya magical realism  
fairy tale retelling of sorts, AM McLemore, if 
you don’t know is a non binary Latine author who  
has written all sorts of stuff, most of which 
we are talking about in the channel in this  
series. So if you want to go back and watch, 
I have three previous videos of their

and also a lot more to come. So be sure to 
subscribe if you don’t want to miss them.  
So this is sort of a rose red kind of story and 
that we have the Del Cisne girls, two sisters,  
one of whom is called Blanca and one of whom 
is called Roja. And this family has a curse,  
wherein every single time every single generation 
two girls will turn into swans, or rather,  
Two girls, one of them will turn into a swan, 
the other one will not. And in this case,  
we have these two sisters, and everyone assumes 
that Blanca is going to not turn into a swan and  
Roja will because of their personalities. And 
it is sort of about the girls trying to fight  
nature, not nature, destiny, destiny that 
will do and it’s also a romance because of  
course it is. And it is all about exploring 
identity and your place in your community.  
And all of the above. My first reason you should 
read this book is I think it’s a really lovely  
depiction of Sisters of siblings, which I very 
much enjoy. I never had a sister growing up,  
I have an older brother, but that’s it. And 
I always wanted one. And so I get a lot of  
satisfaction reading books about sisters, I can’t 
speak to how realistic the sisterly relationship  
is, but it is there. And I actually really enjoy 
their dynamic. I like the idea of these two  
children who are brought up to believe one 
thing about themselves and still choosing  
to challenge that. And I like that the way 
that AM McLemore plays off either of them  
hiding things from the other and that kind of 
thing. I think it works really, really well.  
And it creates tension without being too Oh, for 
goodness sake, just talk to each other, which is  
a pet peeve of mine. And I think the reason that 
manages to work is because they’re set up in this  
family this life where everything is just assumed 
that it’s going to happen in a certain way.  
And I like that as a kind of sort of 
almost queer narrative within that of  
you believe your life is going to go one way. 
So you fight for it to go the way that everyone  
thinks it’s going to go. And if it doesn’t, it 
sort of tears everything apart. I think that’s  
very interesting. Just saying, I mentioned the 
prose in every single one of these books, I think,  
in this case, I like it because it manages to 
feel quite a modern story. We’re in a world  
without mobile phones, but it’s not the past there 
are cars and so such and well is the past then.  
It’s not. It’s not a period piece. There we go. 
And I think that that the fairy tale element of it  
really works with this kind of flowery prose, but 
it manages to stay modern enough. It doesn’t feel  
super dated. It doesn’t feel like you know, when 
you can read a book and you can tell it’s trying  
to be a fairy tale. This feels more like it’s 
drawing on the ideas of fairy tales, which is what  
I much prefer in this instance, I’ve just written 
emotional damage as my next pro. I think the story  
is just beautiful. It is probably my favorite plot 
line of all the AM McLemore books, because it just  
it’s so heart wrenching in so many different 
ways. And there isn’t really an antagonist,  
arguably the swans, but even then that’s 
complicated. Can a swan have moral feelings  
about one thing or another? I don’t know 
something about this book really captured my  
I don’t even know what it is that that 
desire to help other people empathy,  
maybe I don’t, I don’t know. And that that 
self sacrifice element that this book has.  
It’s just really beautiful. And a lot of the kind 
of, I guess it’s not even b plot but you might  
describe it as that where we have these two other 
characters, we have Yearling and Page who are  
exploring their own identities and finding 
themselves in the woods and all of this stuff,  
their plotline just really, really gorgeous 
again, and just page is, one of my favorite  
characters AM McLemore has ever written. And I 
love them, and they just want I just want them to  
be happy. I just want all the characters in this 
to be happy. So yes, it is it is heartbreaking,  
but in the best way kind of similar to when the 
moon was ours where there is this real sense  
of catharsis in the book, I will say that this 
does take a minute or so to warm up it takes a  
little while to get into the meat of the book. 
I think that’s because there’s quite a lot of  
not even setup of world building but quite a lot 
of setup of events before you can really jump  
into the big things that are going on in the story 
and you really need to see these characters where  
they are first. I think that it’s worth powering 
through that first bit because the the latter half  
of the book is so strong but if you’re looking for 
a book where from the off, you are fully in this  
might not be the book for you. I’ve said it in 
all of them but if you don’t like magical realism,  
this might not be a book for you. I think less 
so than some of their earlier works. I think  
this has more of a beginning middle end kind of 
plot, but if you like things being closed off,  
if you like things being totally explained 
might not always be what you want to read  
some comparisons and other things you might want 
to read the winternight trilogy weirdly sprang  
to mind. I think that idea of a kind of fairy 
tale in the woods really worked for me, and also  
something about the emotions of the story. I think 
winternight has a lot of that as well. And this  
kind of I don’t want to say heartbreaking again, 
but the heartbreaking elements, but there are some  
of those there as well. I wouldn’t say if you 
read the winternight trilogy, you’ll definitely  
love this. But there are some some similarities 
there. I’ve also pegged Naomi Novik. Again,  
I think that might just be the woods as a concept. 
But Naomi novick’s uprooted does have that kind of  
semi sisterly bond. They aren’t actually sisters, 
and in my opinion, it probably should have been  
a sapphic relationship wasn’t, but in this 
case, they are sisters. But if you want to  
explore that kind of about to say Girl on Girl 
dynamic, then that’s not what I wanted to say.  
But do you want to do explore that dynamic and 
another kind of foresty book, that’s one that I  
would recommend and it’s one of my favorite books, 
I think of all of the AM McLemore it’s probably  
somewhere between closest to when the 
moon was ours for the emotional element,  
and dark and deepest red which we’ll talk about 
next week for the kind of more plot plot driven  
book I suppose. Where I think some of the earlier 
books feel a lot more character driven or emotion  
driven. So yes, somewhere in between the two if 
you liked those two I think you will like this  
final thoughts. I think this is a really wonderful 
book I would definitely recommend it is one of my  
favorite AM McLemore books that there are it has 
a really great exploration of as I say sisterhood  
of gender identity of identity full stop of your 
place in your community and so much more. It’s a  
really great story written really well and I can’t 
ask for more than that. Have you read this? Do you  
have plans to? Is this the kind of book that you 
would like to pick up? Do let me know down in the  
comments below. If you haven’t already please do 
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to come and have chill chats about books, awesome,  
fabulous, wonderful. Thank you so much for 
watching, that’s all from me and I will see you  
in the next one. It’s gonna be some bloopers now 
my first love pro for this my first pro for this

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