Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner’s debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.
Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life – even if they’ve heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.
But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.
Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother’s warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods…
The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be – and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer. (From Goodreads)
Thank you Orbit Books U.S. for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I rate this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.
Death Lives Here. Death Will Always Live Here.
So my reading experience with Magical Realism is very limited, however I have read enough to know that this one tops my list. In my opinion Magical Realism based books are so hard to follow along with, Sometimes they just get so easy to be confused by. When I picked up this book, I knew it was going to be beautiful.
The formatting makes this book so unique. From Liba’s traditional chapters alternating to Laya’s Verse chapters, the reader is in for a very lyrical read. I absolutely adored it. I love the love the Sister’s have for each other, the way they fought for each other, and protected each other, and even when coming to terms with the secrets of their family, they depended on each other, and didn’t let anyone come between them. Another thing that I genuinely loved in this book is the love stories, the talk of fate, and true loves, and who was made for who. It was very sweet, and tells the reader that there is always a choice.
I was so immersed in this book, life kind of took the backseat for a few days, I’d drop my kids off at school and come back to read this book, just so I could have a few hours of time to read in peace and absorb what I was reading. I also really appreciated all the Jewish terms, and mentions of their traditions, and beliefs. It was really neat to learn more. The Authors Note, had some very educational aspects to it, as to what inspired this book, what books she researched, and etc.
I’ve read this is more of a The Goblin Market re-imagining and just knowing that makes me want to read that book, as I found this book so interesting. A huge shout out to @Meltotheany On Instagram for showing this book in her stories, and making me want to read it so bad! Even bigger shout out to Orbit Books for sending it to me. Another thing I want to add, is there are a lot of anti semitism remarks in this book, speak of rape, violence, torture, and other not so friendly topics. However, it is all done with tact, and not done in such a way that it ruins the story. I also really appreciated that Liba was a plus size girl, and not the typical YA, she didn’t know she was beautiful, she didn’t know she was strong, she didn’t know she was magical. Libra and Laya knew all of this, and I loved them for it.
“We can’t fight our natures, even though we try. A bear will always be a bear, and a swan a swan. Everyone fights, malyshka; everyone questions their choices. Even people who love each other.
This book comes out on the 25th I will include helpful links below.