My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publication Date: March 8th, 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Family
Things are only impossible if you stop to think about them. . . .
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 just love magical realism.
Isn’t it wonderful? Of course, not all magical realism books deserve a spot on my list of favourite books, but I like what this genre does to the reader tremendously.
It makes them think. Is what is happening really happening or an illusion purely constructed by the character’s mind? What is real, what is true, what is false and what is wrong?
Magical realism makes the reader question stories, scenes, characters and/or elements. “Hour of the Bees’’ is a perfect example. Everything about it is so realistic—the grandfather suffering from dementia, the father struggling with his past, the heroine trying to become braver….
But then you also have those elements that you’re not sure are possible or not, such as the magical tree protecting people from harm’s way and the bees that have supposedly disappeared forever but can still be found.
It’s enchanting. It’s lyrical. It’s a wonderful, wonderful book. I love family stories more than anything, because family is so important—like Carol’s Grandpa would say, They’re your roots, too.
This is Lindsay Eagar’s debut novel and let me tell you that you’re going to have trouble believing that.
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