Tag Archives: ****

The Death of bees (review by anya W. ’20)

The Death of BeesThe Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Death of Bees is in essence, a story of a few broken people trying to survive life, and look out for each other. Marnie know better than to trust anyone, especially now that she’s got her parents buried in the backyard. Nellie does not understand why these ruffians, her elder sibling included, are incapable of retaining their manners regardless of the trying times cast upon them. Lennie’s just worried about the poor girls who live next door, whose parents seem to have disappeared again.

O’Donnell’s writing is quite a bit better than I originally presumed. While the internal monologue of the main character seems a bit off in the beginning, her writing improves steadily throughout the book, and the oddness of the other characters’ monologues, while somewhat odd, do well to encapsulate themselves as characters and how they are viewed. The bittersweet tale is a masterful study of the effects of childhoods on young people, and on building oneself up after being torn down.

TW: this novel contains depictions of physical and sexual abuse of minors. -Anya W.

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Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter (review by Anya W. ’20)

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted DaughterChinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I opened this book, I was unaware that it was an autobiography. In fact, it took me reading about a quarter of the way through until I was sure that it was in fact, a book of facts. In some ways, that was a bit disappointing; not, however, because the book was badly written, but because by that point in the story, I felt the author had suffered enough to deserve more of a fairytale ending than reality usually grants.

Mah’s poignant tale of abuse, defiance, and survival is a brilliantly written work for those with the stomach to read her history of pain. It was without a doubt one of the most engaging autobiographies I have ever read. Her writing is clever and just the right amount of detailed: enough imagery to immerse oneself, but not enough to bog down the story. Currently, I’m keeping an eye out for more of her works. -Anya W. ’20

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We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler (review by Hita T. ’23)

We Were BeautifulWe Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There had been traces of alcohol in her bloodstream when she was driving. The deer had just stood there in the middle of the road, and she hit it. Her sister did not come out of the crash alive, and one part of Mia’s face was severely scarred.

Ever since that fateful night, Mia Hopkins has been grieving, struggling to figure out what happened. She doesn’t remember what happened, or why it happened, but she only remembers one thing — she had been driving the car when it crashed; a fact she finds extremely hard to forgive herself for. In the midst of this chaos, her broken family sends her to New York to stay with her grandmother, whom she barely knows. She is forced to work a summer job in a cafe, and makes a series of friends, starting with the blue-haired, energetic Fig. Over the summer, Mia finally pieces together what had happened that painful night, eventually realizing that redemption and forgiveness, although seemingly impossible, is not out of reach.

We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler is a stunning YA novel revolving around grief, self- acceptance, and forgiveness. Hepler intricately and sensitively draws the reader through Mia’s story and perspective, and it is a must read for anyone looking for a heavy, yet thought inducing novel.
-Hita T. ’23

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