"McLemore crafts vivid magic that balances scenes of overwhelming, unregulated emotions given life by the lake with soothing, sincere moments of love, self-affirmation, and gentle humor...A beauty both bright and deep." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"An astonishingly beautiful love letter to neurodivergent and nonbinary teens cast amid a magical lake setting that will pull you in right along with the characters." —Booklist, starred review
"In this sumptuous tale of magical realism told via alternating perspectives, McLemore holds up realities of being neurodivergent while otherwise marginalized alongside strong friendships and vital family relationships that ground the protagonists." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Delivers mesmerizing magical realism, brilliant portrayals of gender transitioning and genderfluidity, and sensitive representations of living with ADHD and dyslexia...This magnificent YA novel urges acceptance and support, reminding readers that different isn't wrong, it's beautiful." —Shelf Awareness, starred review
"McLemore successfully binds the novel’s fantasy elements to the inner lives of their characters... Readers...will find relief and recognition in this impassioned book, and teens in general should feel welcomed by its warmly open storytelling." —Horn Book Magazine
"Lovely and deep, colourful and creeping, perfect magic." —E.K. Johnston, #1 New York Times-Bestselling Author
"An absolute knockout. McLemore has created a jar full of glitter that I wish I could read again for the first time...One of the most important pieces of queer fiction I've ever had the pleasure to read."
—TJ Klune, New York Times-bestselling author of The House on the Cerulean Sea
Praise for The Mirror Season:
"A masterpiece intertwining painful teen realities involving injustices based on race, ethnicity, class, and gender with trauma and healing within loving, supportive families." —School Library Journal (starred)
"An empowering story of two survivors healing together... Their vulnerable, spellbinding story, colored with magic realism and achingly beautiful prose, is about healing after trauma, reclaiming your body and choices, and the empathetic understanding between survivors." —Booklist, starred review
"McLemore whips up a magical realist tale as spellbinding as the pan dulce creations described within this novel’s pages... With haunting prose and sharp insight, McLemore expertly combines the piquant with the sweet." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"The poetic and vulnerable prose illuminates the need for more open conversation about sexuality, consent, and abuse without the limits of the gender binary...Piercing magic." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"An unforgettable story of trauma and healing, told in achingly beautiful prose with great tenderness and care." —Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying
"A powerful, harrowing, and important story about trauma, identity, taking back power and the redemptive nature of healing. These characters will stay with me forever. An absolute must read." —Aisha Saeed, New York Times-bestselling author of Amal Unbound and Yes No Maybe So
Dark and Deepest Red:
"McLemore weaves another magic spell ... This novel will leave an indelible mark on readers' hearts."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"McLemore fashions another gorgeous novel...McLemore’s well-choreographed story will dance on in readers’ minds." —Booklist, starred review
“One of the most beautiful books I’ve read in years. McLemore is a master." —Susan Dennard, New York Times–bestselling author of the Witchlands series
"The sort of book that ruins all other books for you. Lush, hypnotic, and an absolute feast for the senses . . . McLemore has once again proved themself to be one of the finest writers working today.” —Mackenzi Lee, New York Times–bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Gr 7 Up—Although many people no longer remember the lore of the nearby lake, Bastián has always been privy to its secrets. A transmasculine nonbinary boy with ADHD, they are able to manage their symptoms by creating alebrijos, papier-mâché sculptures of fantastical creatures, and releasing them into the lake. Only one other person knows the secrets of the lake—Lore, a genderfluid nonbinary teen with dyslexia who has just moved to Bastián's town after an event they refuse to speak about. Although Bastián and Lore share feelings of anxiety and shame around their neurodivergence, they find themselves revealing more of that part of themselves as they attempt to calm the magic of the lake. The intricacies of identity and intersectionality, and the fantastical manifestations of both teens' insecurities, are exquisitely painted in flowing prose. McLemore does not shy away from the realities of being nonbinary, neurodivergent, and brown, but the focus remains on Bastián and Lore's growing acceptance of who they are, as well as the depiction of Bastián's ADHD ventures into realities beyond the typical descriptions of hyperactivity and impulsivity. Refreshingly, the teens both have supportive families and the conflict does not center on gender identity. VERDICT An especially important purchase for school libraries, but a strong candidate for inclusion in most collections serving teens.—Austin Ferraro
The rising waters of a hidden world threaten to drown Bastián and Lore, two trans nonbinary Mexican American teens, in the truths and pasts they’ve tried to cast away.
No one believes the legends about the world beneath the lake anymore. No one has seen it except Bastián Silvano and Lore Garcia. The world wouldn’t open when Bastián tried to show it to anyone else—not until Lore needed a place to hide on a day long before they knew one another’s names. Now, a mistake Lore desperately wants to leave behind has moved their family to the lakeshore, but the underwater world is not the same quiet refuge. It’s filled with living papier-mâché alebrijes, each one a representation of Bastián’s anxieties. As the once-secluded world swells above the surface, the lake’s seiches pull Bastián and Lore together again. In characteristically majestic prose, McLemore crafts vivid magic that balances scenes of overwhelming, unregulated emotions given life by the lake with soothing, sincere moments of love, self-affirmation, and gentle humor. The primary characters, Bastián (who has ADHD), and Lore (who is dyslexic), have family and friends who truly see them even as they confront trauma and internalized shame. Affinity draws them to one another, helping them toward growth that is significant because it does not erase their neurodivergence and because it is personal, not reliant on codependence.
A beauty both bright and deep. (author's note) (Fantasy. 14-18)