Thursday, May 14, 2020

Review: A Constellation of Roses by Miranda Asebedo

A Constellation of Roses
by Miranda Asebedo
Release Date: November 5th 2019
2019 HarperTeen
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062747105
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / YA
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
A Constellation of Roses is one of those books that I went into not really knowing anything about it, but then being pleasantly surprised by he characters, the setting, and the plot. Despite not really liking Trix at the beginning of the novel, she really grew on me, and I really rooted for her towards the end.  This is the kind of character development I like, plus it's a feel-good story, which is a plus during this time of pandemic shakedown.

I really, really enjoyed the character development in this book.  The entire McCabe family was quirky and interesting, and I really liked that the author didn't go into any detail about their 'gifts'; it was just kind of accepted that they all had them and they were part of their unique personalities.  I was really afraid the story would end up being a 'magic' story and I would probably have put down the book if that had happened.  Don't get me wrong, I love fantasy, but I wasn't interested in it here as it wasn't supposed to be that type of book.  The author did not let me down on that score.

Trix was a lost soul, living on her own, when she was caught by the police and given a choice: live with a family she never knew existed, or go to jail.  At first, she was a bit surly about the whole thing and didn't really treat those around her very well. That was to be expected as she was suddenly thrust into this loving family who made their living making 'magical' treats (pies); Auntie was a hoot, calling everyone out for their actions; Mia was the kind one, understanding  Trix' reticence to join the family; and Ember was happy to have a cousin close to her age with whom she could share her gift.  Slowly, Trix came to realize how important family was to her.  As Trix opened up to this new-found family, we also learned, through flashbacks, a bit of the horror of her life; just enough to give you an understanding of how awful it must have been and the abuse she must have suffered.  There may be some triggers in this book for people as they do discuss suicide, abuse, depression, and other things as well.  

The plot wasn't anything spectacular or original, but it was fun.  The action does move fairly quickly and I was very appreciative of the fact the romance wasn't overblown and didn't take over the story.  It was real, with some real issues, and I liked that.  And thank be, no love triangle.  It is very much a character-driven novel, but I definitely appreciated the growth Trix demonstrated throughout and I really liked her towards the end.  I am a huge fan of Ember as well and would love to learn more about her, like in a future novel? Hint!!

A Constellation of Roses was a fun, quirky book that really hit all the right spots with me.  There was good character development, a fun plot, interesting characters, and some drama, but not the overblown teen angst we see in some books.  I thought the Shane thing was a bit too much though, and was the only part of the book that didn't feel realistic; he changed way too much and way too fast to be believable.  Otherwise, this was a fun book to read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something light at this time. 


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