The YA (young adult) genre is so prolific that picking out the good ones seems like an insurmountable task sometimes. But then sometimes the picking out is done for you and a really special book ends up in your hands and you open up the first page and just keep reading!
Well to be completely honest, I found the beginning of Hour of the Bees to be a little difficult but in hindsight, it was probably done on purpose because Carol and her family arrive at her Grandpa’s ranch in the middle of nowhere, it’s blazing hot and no-one wants to be there. There’s nothing easy about that!
While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
I fell in love with the intricate story that Grandpa Serge would tell his granddaughter “Caro-leeen-a” (Carol hates this emphasis on her name but comes to love it was the summer progresses!). Grandpa Serge keeps reminding her to not “spit on her roots” and I found this constant reminder quite soothing as it is something which we all need to remind ourselves of from time to time. Our roots are our link to the past, what went before us and a way to understand who we are and what we’re destined for.
Thank you Lindsay for providing readers with such a beautiful magical realism YA treasure. I think this one will endure for many years to come!
Lindsay’s Instagram handle is @lindsayeagar