Trix McCabe has always had the practically magical ability to take things without being noticed. It’s how she’s survived so long on her own after her mom walked out. However, after a slip lands her in police custody, she must choose between prison or living with her family in middle-of-nowhere Rocksaw, Kansas. As much as Trix wants to cut and run, she can’t help but admit there’s something alluring about staying with the McCabe women of Rocksaw. Perhaps it’s their own seemingly magical abilities—like Auntie, who reads fortunes and sees hard times ahead if Trix doesn’t put down some roots. But while she slowly feels closer to her new family, ghosts from her old life continue to crop up, and the urge to run grows stronger every day.
Sometimes a story comes along that’s so expertly woven together, bound with such effortless prose, and, ultimately, packed with such a hopeful core that reading it feels a bit like a marathon. It’s a complete experience and there’s a bit of awe that it’s actually over. Author Miranda Asebedo has certainly achieved that here.
Trix hasn’t lived an easy life, which is probably an understatement. After her mother abandons her, she’s forced into finding ways to survive alone to the point that she relishes this independence. Asebedo painfully paints these early scenes of a teenager who’s grown accustomed to being alone as a defense. And yet there’s also a glimmer of possibility—she’s magnetic, and it’s easy to root for her to achieve the brilliant future she eventually fights for.
That’s where the McCabe women come in. Three generations, led by the blunt matriarch Auntie, take Trix in and gradually create a home that she finds some comfort in. Asebedo skillfully blends their magical abilities into the story, including aunt Mia, who bakes pies that help alter feelings, and cousin Ember, who can discover a person’s deepest secrets through a simple touch. Gradually, as three becomes four and their worlds intertwine, they each offer family support for one another. Their moments together with Trix forms the essence of Asebedo’s work, and it makes for a genuinely heartfelt saga.
While this all manifests occasionally as a charming small-town romp, Asebedo doesn’t shy away from complicated, even dark, topics. Nothing is off-limits, and Trix has to reconcile her feelings for her former life with her present one. It’s both an emotionally gripping and satisfying journey. Juxtaposed against the fantastical elements that come with the McCabes, Trix’s careful progression is the root of why the action feels real.
Somehow subtle and explosive all at the same time, A Constellation of Roses is nothing short of a triumph.
Title: A Constellation of Roses
Author: Miranda Asebedo
Publication Date: November 05, 2019
Classification: Magical Realism, Young Adult
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Wunderkind PR.