TITLE: A Constellation of Roses
AUTHOR: Miranda Asebedo
GENRE: Magical Realism/Fantasy/Contemporary
AGE RANGE: YA
SOURCE: Wunderkind PR
Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.
Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.
Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life… or keep running from the one she’s always known.
“You have to decide if you’ll bloom or if you’ll wither.”
Do you ever read something and, while you’re reading it, you’re like, “Yeah, this is good,” and then you finish it, and you’re still like, “Yeah, that was good!” and then suddenly, a week has gone by and you think back on it and it hits you that holy smokes, that was such a good book?! That was Constellation for me. It’s like it crept up on me and got under my skin, and now I just can’t stop thinking about this sweet, quiet, sad story.
Some of my scars will always show, whether I want them to or not.
First, and most importantly, is Trix. She’s such an incredibly flawed, wounded, lovable protagonist and I felt the most ridiculous levels of pride over every single step of her journey. She progresses so much and truly blossoms right before our eyes, and the love I have for her, well, it’s downright maternal. I just want to hold her for a while. She’s been through so much, but she manages to find a light in the dark and cling to it, and it’s the most gorgeous tale of hope and healing.
Her embrace is the only thing that gives me the courage to say what I want, mostly because I know that I’m putting everything on the line.
The thing about it, though, is that Trix’s progress couldn’t have ever come so easily without the support of her newfound family, and they mean so much to me, I have to gush about them, too. There’s Mia, the mother figure of the McCabes, with her quiet fierceness and forgiving, gracious compassion and love — if there’s a fictional mom I want to be like, it’s gotta be Mia, right down to the magic she cooks into each and every pie. Then there’s Ember, fashion designer in the making, a quiet introverted little thing who hurt my heart just as much as she warmed it. And of course, there’s Auntie, playing the classic “hilariously blunt older woman” role that I’m so fond of in stories like this. These three McCabe women are all so entirely different from one another — and from Trix herself — yet they make the most delightful little family unit. I adore them.
“Just wait,” Auntie says. “Wait and see what blooms for you.”
Beneath all of the humor and warmth and love and magic, though, A Constellation of Roses is a story of grief, addiction, abuse, generational curses, poverty, and the measures desperate people will go to simply to survive. It’s a hard read, especially given the fact that I’ve had so many family members go down paths like Trix’s mother’s, but it’s well worth the ache and it offers so much optimism in the end. Just like the McCabe women’s gifts, this story is quietly, sweetly magical and left me more than a little bit awed.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Wunderkind PR for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
addiction, thievery, abuse, neglect, death of a family member, mentions of terminal illness, depression, suicide
mentally ill characters, multiple characters of color
Sweetly and softly magical, just like Mia’s pies — and it’ll fill you up with just as much hope, too.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Yes!
— destiny ♥