Thursday, January 22

The Secret Hum of a Daisy

The Secret Hum of a Daisy
Tracy Holczer

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0399163937
Publisher: Putnam
Date of publication: May 1, 2014
Age: Grades 6 and up
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: family relationships, death, grieving, discovery, journey

After the sudden death of her mother, Grace is forced to go to the home of her last living relative: her grandmother, whom she has never meant. She only knows that her grandmother kicked her mom out of the house as a teenager, when she became pregnant with Grace. Surely, her mother doesn't mean for her to live here? When Grace starts finding some clues, she wonders if her mother has left her a treasure hunt again—just like she used to—leading to her true home.

This one deserves a high rating because I started out begrudgingly and ended in love. I'm amazed that this is Holczer's first published novel, because she writes with the finesse and imagery of a master. The language is beautiful. She also captures the characters, with all of their unexpected depths, brilliantly. I mean, the whole point of the story is how this girl can learn to love the grandmother she's never known, a grandmother that must not have loved her mom...or did she? It's a complicated relationship and Holczer explores that beautifully. Be ready with some tissues, that's all I have to say.

But, in the end, is it really something a middle-grader would want to read? It's much more the complex exploration of relationships and values, rather than the adventure. She's on a treasure hunt, yes, but even I had trouble following Grace's justification for how the clues fit together. It's really about her dealing with the grief. I'd recommend it, for sure, but for its literary excellence rather than excitement.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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