Book Reviews

Review: All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

All of Us with Wings is a diverse story about forgiveness, family, and friendship.

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rockstar family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in their household, which is relaxed and happy despite the band’s larger-than-life fame.

But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s adolescence. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family she’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: Rape, sexual assault, drug use.

Xochi has a secret, one that’s haunting her dreams. In many ways, this story is about Xochi, her relationship to family, growing up, and falling in love. But it’s also a story that weaves in the lives of those around her – her twelve year old best friend, the other people she lives with, and their lives.  What makes All of Us with Wings so magical is that it features a world made of stories, of fragments from legends and myths and bedtime tales. Things that go boo in the dark, and imprint themselves on our consciousness, our memories.

Family,

Family is a large theme in All of Us with Wings and one that is dear to my heart. This book discusses the complexities. The family that choose to stay, that abandons us, that steps into this role, that abuses this relationship. It observes moments of apologies, mistakes, abuse, and our path away from all of these incidents. There are multiple layered images of family and the way they interact with each other.

Asking each other if they are capable of change, of redemption, of moving on, of revenge. A system in which we need positive role models, sources of love and support, so that we can mirror that same empathy and compassion. There is a quiet beauty to these relationships based on trust, communication, apologies, and queerness.

Overall,

All of Us with Wings exists where the line between magical, veil between what we know only in stories, and the dew on our skin thins, a moment of a doorway opening and letting something out. There is stunning writing which lets a subtle fantasy element which pervades the narratives, light touches of something going on in the background, danger and a storm to come, shine through. All of Us with Wings is a story about family, creating healing and breaking, the moments we come together and pull apart.

Find All of Us with Wings on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What’s your favorite book with found families?


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