Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Blanca & Roja by Anna McLemore



My Rating ~ Five stars


RELEASED: 9 October 2018

Publisher: Feiwel Friends

Format: Hardback

Pages: 375


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.





Let me just start by saying, is this one of the most beautiful book covers ever?  I love the swans and the colours, and just everything!  Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I was a little hesitant starting this book because I’d heard the writing was beautiful – and everytime I read a book with that description, I end up getting frustrated with all the flowery language and wishing they’d just get on with the story.  However, I LOVED the writing in Blanca & Roja!  It was MAGICAL.

Blanca and Roja are as different as two sisters can be.  Blanca is sweet and fair, where Roja is fiery and fierce, with dark ‘blood red’ hair.  They have always known their families curse means one sister will be taken by the swans once they turn fifteen.  Roja is sure it will be her, and, although Blanca also suspects this will be the case, she’s determined to protect her sister at any cost.

When Blanca is told the love of a certain boy could save her, and two boys suddenly arrive in their lives, she tries to bargain with the swans.  With everyone holding on to secrets of their own, it’s a race to see whether they can win against the swans, or the curse will tear them all apart.

The two boys, Page and Yearling, were such wonderful characters in their own right. Page is gender fluid and Yearling is fighting his own battles with a dysfunctional family.  The story is told from all four point of views, and although I sometimes had to remind myself of who’s chapter it was (due to all being written in first person) I loved seeing the story from each of their unique perspectives.

Blanca and Roja is a beautiful book and if you enjoy magical realism and some of the more obscure fairytale retellings, I’d recommend you give this one a try!




Blanca & Roja pic by bookbookowl

Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl



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