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Dirty Wings

(Metamorphoses #2)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A gorgeous retelling of the Persephone myth, Sarah McCarry brings us the story of Cass and Maia--the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs--and how their fates became intertwined.

Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents' house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, s
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 15th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
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3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  303 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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This was another book that I didn’t quite get.

Maia and Cass were the girls from ‘All Our Pretty Songs’ mothers, and this is the story of how they met.

Cass starts off as a girl on the streets, whilst Maia has a wealthy family and is a piano prodigy, they get drunk, take drugs, cut their hair, and generally run a little wild. Unfortunately not a lot else happened, quite similar to the first book really. Although at least with this one I know that a certain person (view spoiler)

Full review to come.

This is a beautiful story of the first year of a friendship between Maia and Cass, two very different girls who meet by serendipity and just click with each other.

The "plot" is pretty much the development of their friendship, the ways in which they both change because of it, the forces which threaten their relationship, and their determination to stay friends. I missed the more obvious fantasy elements of the first book in this trilogy (All Our Pretty Songs) -- this second
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This answered a lot of questions that I didn't know I had with All Our Pretty Songs and I mean that in a really good way.

Cass and Maia are incredible girls, rich and complex, and their friendship is so fascinating and dynamic and painful and REAL.

You can totally read this as a standalone, though it'll make you want to check out the first book (or revisit it). Excellent literary YA.

Full review here:
Nathan Bransford
Amazing, incredible, astounding. Takes the series to an entirely new level and made me want to drop everything and immediately re-read "All Our Pretty Songs."
this is not a sequel but the back story of All Our Pretty Songs. At first I wondered about the rationale of placement, but after reading and the shocker near the end I can see how it makes sense.

That said, like the other book, this is an earnest but somehow lighthearted portrayal of growing up decadent. Both books prompted a similar response: I wanted to butt in at several points, to at least warn if not prevent the characters from decisions they may not live to regret.
Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookworms
*I received a free ARC of Dirty Wings from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*

Dirty Wings is one of the strangest books I have ever read. No real plot, not that much of a story, but there is a wonderful friendship between Cass and Maia.

This and all my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The word that comes to mind is saturated -- vibrant prose and complicated, messy characters. I loved All Our Pretty Songs (another word that comes to mind: greedy -- as in, I gobbled this up greedily), and this is the story of the mothers of the characters of that they came to know each other and, in a sense, how they came to be.

Maia is an aspiring pianist, talented, driven, and isolated -- sometimes more pushed than driven. For all that she wants to succeed, and to give herself over
Sarah Hannah
I love this woman and the world she created.
S.E. Smith
ALL THE STARS. This is a fantastic, lyrical novel about race, gender, sexuality, culture, and finding yourself...all wrapped up in a dark and terrifying mythos.
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
At various points of reading I was torn between four stars (the depiction of the relationship between Maia and her father, the sumptous [to the point of ridiculousness] language of the novel), three stars (Cassandra & Maia) only to suddenly realise the book was over and my main reaction is: that nope nope nope octopus. There's a chance it was more of a disappointment because of the day I've had. But as I was looking at the ratings I just couldn't click "liked it" because by the end of it, I ...more
Christal (Badass Book Reviews)
See this review and others like it at Badass Book Reviews!

Dirty Wings answered questions from All Our Pretty Songs that I didn't even know I had! I mean that in a good way; it addressed situations and issues that I didn't realize were so meaningful in the first book, giving it much deeper layers. Though it seemed less fantastical than the debut, Dirty Wings was definitely an important chapter in the overall story and helped ground two characters that were more secondary in the previous book. T
Jun 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
I just didn't connect to this one. I struggled with the back and forth of the chapters and found that I was mostly bored with the story.

Cass and Maia were probably interesting enough, but to me they came across as flat and clichéd. I did keep reading because I was interested in the Persephone side of the story. Even that didn't entertain me. Maybe I needed to read the other book first?

I can definitely see other readers loving this, but it wasn't for me.

**Huge thanks to St. Martin's Griffin and
Artnoose McMoose
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this fast in the heels of its predecessor All Our Pretty Songs. It was sort of interesting getting the back story of Cass and Maia, the mothers of the teen protagonists in AOPS, when they themselves were drug-using Seattle teens.

The speed-infused road trip wasn't particularly interesting, and I'm not sure I'm going to be running toward teen fiction anytime soon. Except of course the final book in the series. This stuff is easy to read quickly and I already have it checked out from the li
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sarah McCarry does not disappoint. Like her other books, Dirty Wings is a beautiful aesthetic stream-of-consciousness of a book about beautiful, magical girls in California, in love with themselves and their own potential and each other. (Yes, very evocative of Francesca Lia Block.) They do whatever they want, they save each other, they figure out what it means to be who they are. The whole story passes like a dream in that liminal blurred girl-space between intense friendship and queer love. An ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first book in this series, All Our Pretty Songs, was a book that appealed to me for its uniqueness. It was a weird and often disturbing read and those flavors extended to this book, a prequel of sorts. It answered so many questions, even questions that I didn't even always know that I had!

This is the story of Cass and Maia, the mothers from the first book. In AOPS, there was a lot of wondering about why these two were the way the were, what made them into the people that they were. These gir
Nicole Field
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a story told backwards, and one of the only books I've read where I think the reader would really quite suffer understanding the significance of a lot of passages were they not to have read the first book in the Metamorphosis series first.

That's largely because this novel is a prequel, exploring the lives of Maia and Cass before they had kids. It's told in chapters of 'Then' and 'Now'. Unlike most novels told in this format, the 'Then' passages unfold an almost idyllic background of how
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it
This one was just like the first one for me.

It wasn't an awful read, but I did find most of it to be rather dull. I didn't love any of the characters, and I'm glad it was a quick read.
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya-childrens
I am too old for this book, but I would probably have loved it to bits when I was 16, so.
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great book, awesome to have Cass and Maia's story that takes place before All Our Pretty Songs! Really great, but sad, too!
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed All Our Pretty Songs when I read it several years ago, but this second installment just fell flat for me. It is only loosely similar to the myth of Hades and Persephone - the main reason I chose to read it - and I honestly felt no emotional attachment to either Maia or Cass. Considering the book is mostly about their friendship, that was a big knock against it for me. I also just found it to be quite boring; I listened on audio, and the narration was well-paced and entertaining, ...more
feux d'artifice
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spec, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
What I Liked:
- emphasis on music
- punk style
- road trips with girls
- the style of writing
- Oscar
- Chopin

What I Didn't Like:
- no plot
- Jason
- Hades is a ...record producer?
- Maia's entire family
- what decade does this story take place in?
Ry Herman
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely book, lyrically written and emotionally real.
Maya Chhabra
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
reviewed here: and below

Having by now read McCarry’s entire Metamorphoses trilogy, I can say that this one is easily the best. Told in alternating third-person from the perspectives of Cass and Maia, the mothers of the friends in All Our Pretty Songs and at this point best friends themselves, it also alternates between “Then”– before they run away together on a trip down the West Coast– and “Now”–as the trip continues and finally as they return. McCarry m
Rich in Color
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Review copy: library

After I read this, I wanted to go play piano. That’s what the writing in Dirty Wings will do to you. It’s got a distinctly lyrical style to it that draws you in and keeps you reading until everything’s over. Do not be deceived by the book blurb — Dirty Wings definitely does not proceed in the neat, linear fashion portrayed by the summary. But the writing suits the story — Cass and Maia, two girls who see things that no one else can see and are somehow caught up in an ancient
Apr 12, 2015 rated it liked it
The second book in Sarah McCarry's Metamorphoses' trilogy, this novel actually goes back in time to introduce us to Cass and Maia - the mothers of the heroines from McCarry's first book, "All Our Pretty Songs." Maia is a lovely, but sheltered, teen - a piano prodigy living with her rigid, overprotective adoptive parents. Cass, meanwhile, is a tough kid living on the streets - she's used to taking care of herself and no one else. But when she meets Maia, everything changes.

I'll confess that I am
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Dirty Wings is the story of the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs, Cass and Maia, back when they were teenagers, and it's a retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth (where AOPS was Orpheus/Euridice). Maia is reserved, brought up to be the perfect child, and Cass is a witch who teaches her how to get out. We find out that they go on a road trip together, and the story continues on from there.

All Our Pretty Songs is my favorite book; because of that, I was nervous that Dirty Wings wouldn't live up.
well, this is one of the meaner things I've done to myself recently.

this book is perfect. at least 80% of that statement is because of how well-written the book is, how real the characters are, and how well it bounced off of the first book in terms of telling a prequel story while still being its own journey.

and 30% is how much I cried and overly related to Cass, who has a lot of feelings I am perfectly in tune with, and it means a lot for me to see that. I want to make everyone read this book b
A tale of two runaways, told in chapters that alternate between main characters and 'then' and 'now.' One girl is escaping poverty, filth, and abuse, the other a constricted life and a future she is not sure she wants. Both take a lot of drugs, go to basement punk shows, have sex with the people they meet, shoplift, and swim. They both also have disturbing dreams featuring the same tall man with very dark eyes, though they see him differently, and his significance is only briefly revealed. Why t ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book gives me mixed feelings. On one hand I do not like but on the other I do.

I do not like it partially because the jump from present to past every chapter. I've never been a fan of stories that do that and it takes me several chapters to get into the groove and finally be pulled into the book. Some of the writing bothered me, there were a handful of times that the wording just grated instead of flowed. Or it ran on way too long and I had to look up the page to remember what was being desc
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I'm Sarah McCarry. The Rejectionist is my blog. I was born in Seattle and live in Brooklyn. I write books and eat a lot of dumplings. I like fomenting insurrection, crushed velvet, and getting in trouble.

Other books in the series

Metamorphoses (3 books)
  • All Our Pretty Songs (Metamorphoses, #1)
  • About a Girl (Metamorphoses, #3)