cover image Family Lore

Family Lore

Elizabeth Acevedo. Ecco, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-320726-4

The colorful adult debut from Acevedo (The Poet X) explores the bonds connecting the women of a Dominican family in New York City, some of whom have magical powers. Flor Marte, the clairvoyant second-born sister, whose dreams tell her when others are about to die, begins planning her own wake, while her older sister, Matilde, a brilliant dancer unhappily married to the unfaithful Rafa, nurses an attraction to her instructor’s son. Their widowed younger sister, Pastora, knows about Rafa’s infidelity and Matilde’s crush on a younger man because she has a magical ability to perceive people’s secrets; her interference in Matilde’s life has dire consequences. Flor’s daughter, Ona, who narrates, claims she can regulate her menstrual cycle (“your popola has magic?” asks her aunt Camila, the youngest of the four). There’s also Pastora’s daughter, Yadi, whose old beau has just been released from prison while she prepares the food for Flor’s wake. Though the various magical elements aren’t very well developed, Acevedo is brilliant at portraying the women’s love and loyalty for one another. The author’s fans will eat this up. (Aug.)