The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
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A riveting, brilliantly written debut novel-a coming-of-age story with the strong voice and powerful resonance of Swamplandia! and The Secret Life of Bees-in which two young sisters attempt to hold the world at bay after the mysterious death of their parents.
Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.
Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren't telling. While life in Glasgow's Hazlehurst housing estate isn't grand, they do have each other. Besides, it's only one year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.
As the new year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? But he's not the only one who suspects something isn't right. Soon, the sisters' friends, their other neighbors, the authorities, and even Gene's nosy drug dealer begin to ask questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls' family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.
Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, told in alternating voices, The Death of Bees is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.
I loved loved this book. At first, I was a bit skeptical because I realized that the story was told from multiple perspectives and reads like diary entries. All of the events have occurred and the character is retelling each event and including their thoughts. But I soon found myself feeling so close to the characters and I felt so connected. There is a charm to the writing style that really drew me in. While various events happen in the girls lives, the background story of what their parents were like and what happened to them slowly unfolds. It's as if it is unintentional and I find that beautiful. My emotions were high and my instincts were true (most of the time) and I was invested. There is a bit of heartbreak, sex, and tangy language but it's said in a roundabout way. Nothing really in your face.
Overall a lovely read once you adjust to style. It ends up adding a whole new dimension. Just wonderful.