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Review: Hour of the Bees

Lindsay Eagar - Hour of the Bees
Expected publication: March 8, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Pages: 360
Genres: Magical Realism, Middle Grade
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Book Depository
Rating: 5/5

What does it mean to be fully alive? Magic blends with reality in a stunning coming-of-age novel about a girl, a grandfather, wanderlust, and reclaiming your roots.

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 received a review copy from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
I'm still touched. What a stunning, gorgeous, magical story. I haven't felt this nostalgic since reading Esperanza Rising in elementary school.

The story takes place in Albuquerque on an aging farm. Though she expected a more virtuous summer, Carolina - occasionally, Carol - is soon headed to the New Mexico with her family to look after her ailing grandfather, Serge. The family periodically struggles with selling Serge's land and whether to place him in a retirement home or not. Serge's dementia is taking over his whole self. Infrequently, he confuses Carolina with his dead wife, Rosa, and anytime his son, Raul - Carolina's father - inquires about selling their property, he explodes.

But Carolina is especially drawn to him. To the stories he shares. He tells her about the bees and the drought. How his eternal love, Rosa, longed to escape the town. Stories that are often started with: "Once upon a time, there was a tree." Though Carolina is originally fearful of bees, she eventually conforms to them.

And though they never make a physical appearance, I seriously liked Carolina's friends, too. They seemed supportive.

The relationship Carolina and Serge shared was mystical. I was enraptured by it. I was taken by every story he shared. And to see a grandparent so adoring to their grandparent was a lovely sight. The conflicts on the farm were liquid and real. And though I couldn't comprehend, at first, why Carolina's parents were so hostile, it'd been for good reason and everything was soon sorted-out.

A rightfully-deserved recommend. Please add this to your TBR if you haven't already.


  1. I have been reading quite a bit of middle grade and surprisingly, I've been enjoying it! I'll be looking into getting Hour of Bees because HELLO MAGICAL REALISM, and your review just gave me sooo much life. It's so good to see someone else who reads MG as well, because I don't follow many followers that do!

    1. I know! It's a great genre! Have you heard of Stef Soto, Taco Queen, btw? Literally, the cutest concept! It's the only other one I have added on GR currently. A girl is embarrassed by her family's taco truck business!

  2. This book sounds beautiful, I love the magical realism genre so much. It also helps that the cover reminds me of one of my favourite reads this year, Bone Gap!! Which you should totally check out as well! Fantastic review :D

    Aentee at Read at Midnight

    1. It's so lovely! I think it might be one of my favorites for 2016! Though bees still kinda freak me out, I'm learning to conquer that fear. At least in books, haha. Thanks, Aentee! :D

  3. Oh, wow, this sounds magical :) I'm going to look for this in our bookstore!

    1. Please do! It's so memorable and I'm sure you'll love it! :)

  4. I don't get excited over many MG books, but I really want to read this one! It just sounds like a wonderful read. :)

    1. It really was! I have so much love for it and I'm sure you will, too! :D


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