Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

Tags: middle grade, magic, flowers, boarding school

Rating: 3 out of 5


Summary

On Laurel’s fourteenth birthday, she receives a seemingly impossible letter from her mother…because her mother is dead. Not long after, Laurel becomes interested in the “language” of flowers—in the way that different flowers can send different messages. To her shock, she discovers that her flowers are actually effective in bringing about what she wants them to, and soon Laurel has her hands full juggling bouquet requests from classmates who may or may not be her friends, working out her feelings for a boy, and unraveling the Flowerspeaker secret that generations of women in her family have possessed.

Review

Amy Brecount White’s debut novel is a surprisingly charming magical realism middle-grade novel that sweetly combines magic, romance, and teen drama into something that will be well enjoyed by young girls who enjoy a combination of Harry Potter and Twilight.

Despite the occasionally annoying teen speak (draaawwwn out syllables, luv instead of “love,” lots of seemingly life-or-death ultimatums), FORGET-HER-NOTS is actually very well written for its intended audience. Right from the start, White draws us in with her thorough and fascinating knowledge about the language of flowers. Laurel, despite being a typically lonely and insecure teenage girl, never drops into the land of annoying protagonists. She is sweet and vulnerable, yet determined to master her gift and to help everyone out.

FORGET-HER-NOTS focuses mostly on Laurel’s struggles to establish lasting relationships with the people around her, and it is well done. The girls whom Laurel befriends have their good and bad points; the tension between Laurel and her politician widower father are believable, despite the fact that Laurel believes their fights come about due to the influence of the flowers. I appreciated that the magical elements of this novel were never used to excuse the characters’ up-and-down behaviors—for, indeed, they were realistic, and readers will be able to relate to Laurel’s mixed feelings about the people around her.

Despite a slow plot and occasional underdeveloped supporting characters, FORGET-HER-NOTS will be a treat especially for middle school girls who will find White’s narration relatable and the magical realism elements irresistible.

Similar Authors
J. K. Rowling
Stephenie Meyer
Eva Ibbotson

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 2/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5


Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I think the pressed-flowers look of the cover complements the often whimsical feel of this magical realism novel quite well, in spite of its lack of...well, specialness or excitement, I guess.

Greenwillow Books / March 2, 2010 / Hardcover / 384pp. / $16.99

ARC received from Around the World Tours.

13 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this. It looks fantastic. I was hoping to find it out early yesterday when I found a copy of Before I Fall but no such luck! Thanks for the review! :)

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  2. Thanks for the honest review. I think my middle school students will really like this one.

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  3. Good review. I am reading this now and I am really enjoying the "flower language".

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  4. This sounds like a really good book that I would enjoy. Great review and I am looking forward to reading it!

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  5. Great review. I think this sounds like a lovely read.

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  6. Good review! I'm trying to get this book from goodreads. ^^ I adore J.K. Rowling, but hate Meyer so i'm rather curious about this read.

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  7. Thanks for the review. Now that I know more about the novel, I don't think I'll read it but I think I know others who will like it.

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  8. Nice review. I was thinking of reading this for the debut author challenge but I'm not sure if I'd like it. I'm not really big on flowers. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the book.

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  9. This sounds interesting. I haven't been sure about trying it but I do like a bit of magic realism and it sounds like something different, so I'm intrigued now.

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  10. I'm not sure this is my type of book, but I absolutely adore the cover! It's so pretty.

    Emidy
    Une Parole

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  11. Great review!

    I enjoyed this book--it's one of those fun, sweet reads that are great escapes :)

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  12. I can't wait to read it. I love your honesty tho and can't wait to see what I think. I am sure my middle schoolers will love it!!

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Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!

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