Friday, April 8, 2016

Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees 
By Lindsay Eagar
Candlewick Press, 2016. 360 p.

Carol and her family are going to spend the summer at her grandfather’s ranch in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. In part to take care of Grandpa Serge who has dementia and in part to prepare the ranch to sell since Carol’s father wants to move Serge into an assisted living center. Carol and the rest of her family do not want to be on the ranch. And Serge doesn’t want to be anywhere else. To pass the time Serge starts telling “Carolina” (what he insists on calling Carol) stories of the past.

This is an amazing story that juxtaposes Carol’s past ancestors and their stories (which could be real or could be part fantasy) with who she is becoming. There is a smattering of Spanish words throughout the book—which makes this a nicely diverse book without drawing attention to the fact there are wonderful elements that highlight diverse cultures and experiences. Eagar crafts an intricate story where Carol must decide who she is and what is important to her. There is so much depth to this story that there are many topics and questions to fodder parent/child discussions or book club conversations.

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