Thanks to Crown, I was given an ecopy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.
I have said it before, especially having been one at one time—teenage girls are evil. As someone who spent a few years in private school in my preteen years, I was one of five girls in the class. Meaning that someone was at odds as a best friend. Sometimes, well, more often than not, it was me—and I was completely fine with that. However, that also was murderous to my social life. In my case, the worst bully was a mullet-wearing fifth grade teacher who tried to convince me I was responsible for all of the things that went wrong. Anyway, it is never easy to be a teenager—it feels like there is always a target on your back.
Callie is thirteen when she is accused of bullying in school. Her guardian, Rebecca, does not believe that the sweet girl she has raised for almost a decade could be responsible—and she starts to dig deeper. Callie admits there is another girl at school, Robyn, who is retaliating and being generally creepy. So Rebecca calls Robyn’s mom, which turns out to be a bad idea as the Mom states Callie is the bad seed. Rebecca works through and pieces together moments from her life with Callie’s parents (a product of an affair between Rebecca’s married cousin and her best friend), who have been dead for nearly a decade. As she tries to help Callie, Rebecca is sucked into the mystery—and when notes start showing up, she has to decide who to help—whether it means Callie is the bully or not. Then, Callie disappears and Rebecca has to use every tool at her disposal to help her out.
This is a riveting book. I did not expect to be as drawn into it as I was. I was able to finish it as a bedtime book in two nights. There were no questions unanswered by the end of the book, and Lauren Frankel did an amazing job with character development without sacrificing any hints or tricks about the way the story was going to go.
Part of me felt for Rebecca, and part of me felt like she was sacrificing a lot for someone who lacked the capacity to truly understand what Rebecca sacrificed. And, her best friend died, by the hands of a close member of the ‘family.’ She was shut out by her beloved cousin after they were married, due to his wife’s craziness and some other details best left to the book—she has very few places to turn. Rebecca puts so much into her relationship with Callie as a way to memorialize her best friend, Joyce (Callie’s mom) and do the best possible thing she can do for this child.
Callie is, as expected, a dramatic little girl. She may not mean to be evil, but it is the age and gender (AKA hormones). The reader is treated to her point of view in the book, just about halfway through it. I enjoyed seeing it from her perspective, but it only reinforced the idea that Rebecca is the one giving a lot of herself, while Callie just does her own thing. When Callie confesses something to her Grandmother, she is completely shut down, and that made me a little sad.
Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel was released on May 12, 2015, and is available at your favorite retailer in hardcover, eformat and audiobook. If you want to purchase this book AND support this site, please click on the following link to purchase Hyacinth Girls via my affiliate link.