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The Weight of Feathers

Cover: 'The Weight of Feathers'

Staff Review: "The Weight of Feathers" by Anna-Marie McLemore


This is a story of feuding families, superstition, love, and a hint of magic. While it may strike familiar chords, this is a beautifully written story not to be missed. The Corbeau family, descendants of tight-rope walkers, has a traveling act that showcases their balancing skills as they artfully jump from one slender branch to another in the tallest trees they can find, imitating flight with their hand-constructed wings. The Paloma family’s act creates magic with underwater mermaid shows whose artistic flair disguises the carefully orchestrated choreography. A tragedy from more than a generation ago fuels the current feud, and warned of the dark magic the other family possesses, the children are forbidden to touch anyone from the other family with one exception—physical altercations are acceptable. Each unaware of the ancestry of the other, Cluck, an ostracized Corbeau, and Lace Paloma have a chance meeting when she intercedes to stop her cousins from beating up a boy that she believes to be a townie and tends to his wounds. Later, Cluck saves Lace’s life when disaster strikes the small town where the two families are performing, and the repercussions of his act of courage are far-reaching for Cluck, Lace, and their families. Told in alternating points of view by Cluck and Lace and incorporating French and Spanish titles respectively, this story of forbidden love and family secrets is likely to enchant adult and teen fans of Erin Morgenstern’s "The Night Circus" and Maggie Stiefvater’s "Raven Cycle."

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, teen awards, morris award winner

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