Lakelore, the eighth YA novel by Anna-Marie McLemore (Mirror Season), is an exquisite and impassioned story about two neurodivergent Mexican American teens, both queer and nonbinary, who find solace in a magical lake world.
Sixteen-year-old Bastián Silvano crafts alebrijes (figures of mythical creatures) as an outlet for their ADHD-related anxiety. Bastián pours their "worst moments into the painted papier-mâché then releases the alebrijes into a magical world under the lake. There, the mythical animals come alive and stay beneath the surface. That is, until the day Lore Garcia appears, and the lake world slips into the real world. Lore's family has relocated to Bastián's town after Lore hurt someone at school. Lore is dyslexic and the learning disability has earned them jeering taunts from classmates and insensitive urging from a teacher that Lore should "just sound it out." These memories haunt Lore as the clatter of the lake world mysteriously floods their home. Only the two teens can see the lake world, so only they can solve the mystery of why it's following them to land.
Lakelore delivers mesmerizing magical realism, brilliant portrayals of gender transitioning and genderfluidity, and sensitive representations of living with ADHD and dyslexia. The candidness and specificity with which Bastián and Lore divulge how they think, how hard they work and how racism affects them stems from McLemore's experience as a nonbinary Mexican American diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Through alternating first-person points of view, this magnificent YA novel urges acceptance and support, reminding readers that different isn't wrong, it's beautiful. --Samantha Zaboski, freelance editor and reviewer