Smackdown Books 2018

Wolf Hollow
Salt to the Sea
The Serpent King
Optimists Die First
The Hate U Give
Orphan Island
Dan vs. Nature
The Female of the Species
Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Passion of Dolssa
The Distance Between Us
When We Collided
Louis parmi les spectres
Girl in the Blue Coat
Defy the Stars

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Hour of the Bees vs. All the Bright Places


The Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar flies into the lead!

There were things we liked about Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, including an audacious, smooth-talking (if unbelievable) rebel in Finch and the opportunity to broach discussions about some weighty discussions around loss, mental illness, bullying, and suicide. That being said, the novel still left us wanting for something more and an unfortunate “John Green aftertaste.” (Thanks for the quote, Shelley. K!) Students will enjoy the teen angst of young love between the beautiful, popular Violet and the complicated loner, Finch (who, of course, happens to be a hot musician), the novel doesn’t hold a candle to The Hour of the Bees.

The Hour of the Bees was as smooth as honey. It was gorgeously written with a slow build towards an emotional ending. Themes of family, heritage, and identity, as well as love and loss, are wrapped in a fantastical tale set in the awe-inspiring New Mexico desert and described in lyrical prose. Carolina, who goes by the Americanized Carol, leaves parties and her friends behind to spend two months with her family fixing up her ailing grandfather’s ranch. The relationship between Carol and her grandfather is fed by his telling of a family legend and Carol’s growing attachment to the ranch. While the supporting characters don’t evolve, Carol’s personal journey to her roots is evocative. Less sophisticated student readers will need support to make it to the end of the novel as the beginning of the story is more about relationships than action; getting to the end is a sweet reward.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say, I enjoyed both these books, and would have had a very tough decision if I'd had them in my bracket.

    I did particularly love the exploration of the stepsister relationship in Hour of the Bees and admittedly the conclusion of Bright Places and use of third person when the main character referred to herself was irritating after a while.