Monday, June 6, 2022

Book Review: Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan

Book Review: Mad Honey, by Jodi Picoult
  • Opening lines: Olivia, December 7, 2018, The day of
    From the moment I knew I was having a baby, I wanted it to be a girl. I wandered the aisles of department stores, touching doll-size dresses and tiny sequined shoes. I pictured us with matching nail polish—me, who'd never had a manicure in my life. I imagined the day her fairy hair was long enough to capture in pigtails, her nose pressed to the glass of a school bus window; I saw her first crush, prom dress, heartbreak. Each vision was a bead on a rosary of future memories; I prayed daily.

    As it turned out I was not a zealot ... only a martyr.

    When I gave birth, and the doctor announced the baby's sex, I did not believe it at first. I had done such a stellar job of convincing myself of what I wanted that I completely forgot what I needed. But when I held Asher, slippery as a minnow, I was relieved. 

    Better to have a boy, who would never be someone's victim.
  • Reason I picked up the book: I'm a huge fan of Jodi Picoult's books, so I was very excited to get an e-galley of her newest novel.
  • And what's this book about? 
    A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She's Not There.

    Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in and taking over her father’s beekeeping business.

    Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

    And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can trust him completely. . . .

    Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in Ash, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

    Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.
  • Recommended for: Anyone who enjoys a good read with a twist.
  • Favorite paragraph: My father taught me that beekeeping is both a burder and a privilege. You don't both the bees unless they need your help, and you help them when they need it. It's a feudal relationship: protection in return for a percentage of the fruits of their labors.

    He taught me that if a body is easily crushed, it develops a weapon to prevent that from happening.

    He taught me that sudden movements get you stung.

    I took these lessons a bit too much to heart.
  • Something to know: I haven't been reading a lot during the pandemic (hence all the Becki guest reviews on here) but I binged this book in two to three days, because it was THAT goodas are most of Picoult's books, too.
  • What I would have changed: Not sure I would have changed anything. 
  • Overall rating: 5 stars out of 5.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to pre-order on Amazon—it will be out on October 4, 2022.

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