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Hour of the Bees

by Lindsay Eagar

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4093362,477 (4.06)6
Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:

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 wo… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
One thing I love about not being on the Newbery committee anymore is that I can just quit a book if I'm not feeling it. Such is the case with this one. There is a version of me who might love this book. It has lots of stuff going on that I generally love. Magical realism. Grandparents. Summer. Diversity. A great cover.

But I can't get over how Carol doesn't sound at all like a 12-year-old. Voice in first-person narration is very important to me. If a writer wants to craft their prose in a sophisticated way, it's just not going to work for me as first-person narration by a child. It sounds too much like the adult writer. For example:

"The desert seems alive and breathing, a huge, sandy monster that sucks moisture from bones and blows the dry, dry air up, where it rolls and churns and boils. Another bee buzzes around my shoulder and lands on my earlobe. 'Go away!' I wiggle my body and swat at the bee. The dog lifts her head and sniffs in my direction. Finally the bee carries itself away, until its lace-thin wings are camouflaged against the beginnings of a sunset." (page 11)

That is beautiful writing. But does it sounds like the voice of a 12-year-old? No.

That's a deal breaker, ladies. ( )
  LibrarianDest | Jan 3, 2024 |
Representation: N/A
Trigger warnings: Dementia, near-death experience, car crash
Score: Seven points out of ten.

I saw this book in the library but when I look back at this, it wasn't one of the most spectacular books I've ever read anymore since I've read better ones since then, and I don't think this holds up anymore seven years after it was published, and now that I said that I enjoyed this. However, I now keep seeing flaws within this, but maybe it's just my nitpicking, I don't know, so where do I begin? It starts with the main character Carolina, or Carol for short, and predictably, her life is different from others since instead of having an enjoyable summer, her parents send her away to a house in New Mexico where her dementia-affected grandfather resides. Carol spends most of the book there, and this is a magical realism book, but I don't see it! That's why the library put this book into the realistic book section. Carol's grandfather keeps telling her stories of how, after 100 years of drought, the rain will come back, a lake will form, and a sign of this prophecy is bees returning, which is hard to believe. Since the grandfather has dementia, he is a strange character who makes even stranger decisions, like burning the barn to kill off some imaginary disease that never existed. In the meantime, Carol now goes to middle school as something happens to the grandfather, but I don't know what, but it's unquestionably terrible, ending this book bittersweetly. ( )
  Law_Books600 | Nov 3, 2023 |
Mostly I liked this book but was disappointed with the pat ending. ( )
  secondhandrose | Oct 31, 2023 |
This book was amazing. Every time I had to put it down, I couldn't wait until I had time to pick it back up and start reading again. It was so enthralling, with such a magical, powerful story. There were multiple times that I had to stop reading for fear that I might start crying at work. ( )
  kerribrary | Mar 5, 2023 |
Having just finished this book I still can't tell you if it is a realistic fiction or a fantasy and I LOVE IT! The story is beautifully told and pulls on your heartstrings. Carol is in middle school and has to spend the summer on her grandfather's ranch as they prepare to put him in an assisted living facility because of his dementia. Most of the family members are dreading the situation, Carol included. However, once at the ranch things slowly start to shift as grandpa opens up to Carol and tells her the story of the tree. The book really is a thing of beauty with great lessons about living life instead of fearing death. ( )
  LectricLibrary | Feb 16, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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This first one is for me.
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Something flies too close to my ear.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:

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 wo

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Lindsay Eagar's book Hour of the Bees was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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