Title: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
Author: Lauren Karcz
Release Date: July 25th 2017
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
I absolutely adored The Gallery of Unfinished Girls. It follows Mercedes Moreno, an artist lacking inspiration and struggling to follow up her award winning Food Poisoning #1. Her lack of inspiration could be because her Abuela is lying in a coma in Puerto Rico after suffering from a stroke, or because she’s hopelessly in love with her best friend Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her feelings. But then art begins to appear in mysterious ways, from an abandoned piano on their front lawn, to a new neighbour who unexpectedly invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate. There, Mercedes creates things she could never have dreamed of. She is brimming with creativity and inspiration. But the paintings she creates there, cannot leave there, including her new found creativity and clarity. As her life continues to crumble around her, Mercedes finds comfort in the Red Mangrove Estate, but she must, sooner or later, decide between the perfect world in the Red Mangrove Estate, or a much chaotic reality.
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls is such an exquisite, beautiful debut. I absolutely adored it. Karcz has a lovely, magical prose and that makes this novel so lovely to read. Mercedes, our M/C, is a Puerto Rican bisexual girl and she is such a complex and well-developed character. I absolutely adored her passion, artistic expression and her strength, and she develops so much as the story concludes. The Gallery of Unfinished Girls also features a strong sense of family and friendship, and Mercedes has some very touching moments with her family and her friends. I loved Angela, Mercedes sister, so much. And they had such a great, strong relationship. As a twin I’m always looking for books about sisters, so, kudos to delightful and caring sister stories!
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls is mainly a story about art, creativity, expression, family, and figuring yourself out. It has just a little dash of magic among fully fleshed out characters and family dynamics, and a unique setting in the Red Mangrove Estate. And last but not least, the romance! Not only does The Gallery of Unfinished Girls feature fantastic bisexual rep, it also has a sweet romance between Mercedes and her best friend Vic (though it is not central to the novel, it is definitely a lovely addition).
I would, without a doubt, recommend this book to contemporary fans who also like a bit of magic.
Lauren is a british blogger and book reviewer. She is an avid bookworm, writer and procrastinator extraordinaire. A recent history grad, Lauren is currently grappling with adulthood, finding solace in the written word. As an avid reader of YA literature, she’s a lover of sci-fi, contemporary romance, sister stories, and cute f/f books. Some of her favourite books include Code Name Verity by the incredibly talented Elizabeth Wein, and the soul-crushingly cute The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.