Once in a while, a book comes along that completely blows my mind. This is one of those books.
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for allowing me to review this book ahead of its release date.
What is it about, you ask?
Our 17-year old protagonist is named Xochi. She’s a governess to a 12-year old girl named Pallas. Pallas is our second POV, and she lives in a grand old house in San Fran with her rock star parents and their colorful array of friends. Xochi has a troubled past that she’s running away from, but the further she goes the more she realizes she must do something more than running. One night, on the Equinox, Xochi and Pallas cast what they think is a silly spell that ultimately summons a pair of fey children from their slumber to protect Xochi at all costs. Between Pallas’ growing pains and Xochi’s painful past, they find themselves in more trouble than they planned. The third POV is from the perspective of a cat named Peasblossom
So, from page one I got serious anime vibes so throughout the entire book I imagined this one of Miyazaki’s magical, emotional films. Or better yet, A Letter to Momo which is one of the few movies that seriously made me cry my eyes out. Michelle, Ruiz Keil took me through the lives of these people, and I felt as though I was there with them, feeling their joy and their pain and their confusion. It was well paced and excellently written.
Some things were a bit cringe-worthy, such as Xochi’s attraction to Pallas’ dad as well as the drug use, BUT I could see how they played into the story intricately. This book is about finding yourself. To do that you must make a ton of mistakes along the way. The environment Xochi found herself in and the life Pallas grew up in, was not the most stable and by the end, I think everyone knew it and strived to make changes.
At times, I was a bit confused about what these weird fey kids were, and maybe I still am. That and the quick ending knocked it down a star for me. But overall this was a beautiful and engaging coming of age story.
I seek out magical realism because they are the most intriguing for me. This book falls into books like Summer of Salt and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender so if you liked those; this book is for you.
Warnings for: drug use, rape (off the page).