Something—some power—is blooming inside Laurel. She can use flowers to do things. Like bringing back lost memories. Or helping her friends ace tests. Or making people fall in love.
Laurel suspects her newfound ability has something to do with an ancient family secret, one that her mother meant to share with Laurel when the time was right. But then time ran out.
Clues and signs and secret messages seem to be all around Laurel at Avondale School, where her mother had also boarded as a student. Can Laurel piece everything together quickly enough to control her power, which is growing more potent every day? Or will she set the stage for the most lovestruck, infamous prom in the history of the school?
Forget-Her-Nots is one of those feel-good books that are a complete delight to read. I don't think the sedately cover gives off the right atmosphere of this book: a wholesome burst of friendship, flowers, fun & sun. Targeted at a young-er adult audience, Forget-Her-Nots will find fans in preteens, teens, and adults alike.
Engaging and well-written from the first, Forget-Her-Nots successfully navigates the tricky waters of grieving and fourteen-year-old girl drama with an added twist. Laurel, the main character, is just so sweet and lovely and kind. Which is a major accomplishment for White; too often, grieving teenage girls in young adult novels are badly done and quickly grow irritating. Laurel, although she doesn't have the most vivacious personality of a main character in YA, is still likable and real. White manages to portray her shyness and overall niceness in a non-grating way that is very rare in YA lit today. Secondary cast members such as her cousin and teachers were interesting; Laurel's friends and frenemies were a tad 2-dimensional but this did not detract from the narrative.
Forget-Her-Nots focuses on Laurel, her relationships at her new boarding school, and the rollicking fun (and disasters) her new found flower powers give way to. Laurel's flower powers make for an intriguing setup, and the originality of this premise is refreshing. It allows for a cute book that also explores elements of magical realism, which are expertly weaved into the fabric of the novel. I loved the flower language that White included, and the foundations of flower lore in Victorian times was equally enjoyable. And in my opinion, I think Forget-Her-Nots is representative of a element soon to burgeon in YA town: magical realism.
Even the climax of this story was fun to weather; it consisted of a few "uh-oh" moments and a really big "OH NOES" moment, but not to worry--this sweet book ended up with a satisfying conclusion. Throughout the course of the book, Laurel and her friends mature and Laurel's conflict between using power selfishly or responsibly is an engaging one. Her crush on a boy is very cute; her interactions with her father are well-portrayed; and the only complaint I have is that sometimes the dialogue wasn't up to par (especially in the case of Laurel's best friend). But I was impressed again and again by the extent of flower knowledge in this book. I actually learned a lot about flowers from reading this!
All in all, Forget-Her-Nots is a great addition to YA, and I would strongly recommend it for younger teens who will find a character-friend with Laurel and a book they'll be able to relate to. And at the time I read this book, it was exactly what I needed--a few hours of lighthearted misadventures that were very entertaining, and honestly lifted my mood considerably. I smiled quite a lot through the course of this novel.
My Rating: I give it a 8/10; it's a solid debut novel for White and it's pretty darn enjoyable.
I was able to read this thanks to 1 ARC tours
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