A Constellation of Roses – Miranda Asebedo – HarperTeen – Published 5 November 2019
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.
A Constellation of Roses is a poignant novel about finding your family and a place to belong. With just a touch of magic, this is a realistic novel that is magical in every other way – from the magic of the scent of good baking, to the love and acceptance of family.
Trix has a gift. She can steal anything without being caught. It helps her to survive, especially since her mother left her and never came back. Living week-to-week in run-down motels, Trix is shocked when the police and then the foster system catch up with her. But nothing can prepare her for being told she has a family, that she has an aunt that she will be going to live with. The McCabe women, Trix’s Aunt, cousin and Great Aunt all have gifts, and for once, Trix may finally have found somewhere she could belong — if she can stop herself from running.
Trix is such an awesome character. So strong and brave, yet so heartbroken underneath all that bluster and confidence. I loved that Trix is a good friend. Loved that she is there for people, even if she doesn’t feel like she belongs. Loved that she makes good decisions and is smart and kind, even if she thinks she is not.
The McCabe Family is wonderful. Auntie and her fortune telling, giant pots of tea and snarky comments. Mia, who just wants to hug everyone and fix their problems, who makes healing pies and delicious muffins and who welcomes Trix. And Ember, shy, hurting Ember who also welcomes Trix and who blossoms under her friendship.
There is such a comforting feeling of home about this book. It is in direct contrast to the first few chapters, which highlight the dark, seediness of Trix’s life. The grief, guilt, and scars — both physical and emotional— that Trix carries are a heavy burden. But despite everything Trix has been through and must still face, this is a book about hope and choosing to belong. I thoroughly loved this book, I look forward to reading Miranda Asebedo’s debut book, as well as any of her future titles.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Genre: Magical Realism.
Themes: Family, baking, magical abilities, belonging, theft, cousins, friendship, romance, high school, mother-daughter relationships, foster care, grief.
Reading age guide: Ages 13 and up.
Advisory: References to prostitution, drug and alcohol use, theft and drug overdose. Coarse language – f*** (9), sh** (23), pi** (6), di** (2), as***** (4).
Published: 5 November 2019 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.