Heyy all. Guess what I’m finally posting? That’s right: the eARC review of Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe! Taken me awhile, I know, but it’s never too late to review a book, right? Unless it’s a review copy… which this is… *awkward cough* um, thanks for the copy Lydia! I did post a review in time on goodreads, but still this review is shamefully late, so apologies all round. But let’s not dwell too much on my tardiness and instead get on with the review.
Onward we go, to a place where dandelions grow…
(Oh snap, that rhyme was so unintentional, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.)
Determined to discover the locations of her cousins – Lexie, Teal and Kamryn – and the reason behind their separation as kids, Destiny returns to her childhood town, Swallow Ridge. 11 years after being uprooted from there by her mother, Destiny has been living by the rule that she must never speak of Swallow Ridge or her cousins again. But why? In her search for the truth, Destiny uncovers a deeper history than she imagined, but she’s confident she can finally bring peace to her family. Is it possible, though, if her mother is insistent on shunning her family forever? As Destiny begins to accept her parents and what they’ve done, she also gradually opens a doorway for God to enter her life, trusting that he will aid her on her path of mending something that should’ve been mended long ago…
Ok so, I loved this book. I’m not even saying that because it’s a review copy – I did genuinely adore it. For me, it ticked all the boxes. Destiny, the main character, was sooo relatable, I don’t think any book character has made me say ‘same’ so many times in one book. Even the smallest things like the pain of braces and having to cut up apples or growing up watching Anne of Green Gables, or praying in your mind that the person across the counter won’t start a conversation, or acting out scenes from your story before writing them… From time to time I found the inside of Destiny’s brainforest slightly odd or annoying, but then I realised that Destiny is just like me (well, very similar to me), making me like this book 64029% more than I already did because I felt such a connection with Destiny, which is really important for a reader.
I loooooved the chemistry between Destiny and her cousins too; their relationship felt so normal. As characters they were very different and unique, a rare occurrence in a book with four girls at the centre of the plot. Teal was definitely my favourite because she’s just so cute, especially with her cello, Charlie. YEP, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. SHE NAMED HER CELLO. If she got any cuter she’d be my cat wearing a Christmas jumper. I also really liked how Destiny’s relationship with her family developed, and how at the end you know it will continue to do so. The mother-daughter relationship Destiny had with her mum was so complex but understandable, how she resented her mother but realised she had been through what Destiny had been through and the whole plot behind that was so well done. The whole family aspect really made this book the awesomeness that it is.
The writing was another ticked box: easy to read but not too simple, it just flowed so beautifully with an even mix of description and dialogue. ALSO THE ENDING WAS MY FAVEEEE. ‘Twas enough to satisfy me, being a good ending without need of a sequel or epilogue. The sprinkle of flashbacks from Destiny’s past were a nice touch, too.
I learned a lot from this book, but it was in no way preachy. And how dandelions were weaved in like that? At first I kinda thought that the title was irrelevant to the story, but with the flashbacks you begin to realise that the whole book is centred around just one, beautiful weed. Isn’t that cool? You’ll understand how if you read it 😉 Also, 10 extra points for avoiding romance as best as possible, and instead focusing on family.
But why didn’t you give this book 10/10 clovers, Simi? (As you may have caught sight of my clover count below.) Excellent question there, Frank. It may have ticked all the boxes, but as a book, Where Dandelions Grow lacked shabang – it was short and sweet and made me smile, but not sweet enough that I passed out, ya know?
I have a lot left to say for such a short book, but for now: amazing read, not too long, would recommend to anyone of all ages. Go read now please thank you and goodbye.
Clover count: ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ (9/10)