Historical Fiction that Buzzes with a Powerful Story

Summary:

Lily Owens (14) lives with her abusive father T Ray and her black “stand-in mother” Rosaleen in Sylva, South Carolina.  Theirs is a less-than-ordinary household, and Rosaleen has been caring for Lily since her mother was killed 10 years ago.

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in their town, the two women run away. They move to get a new start and end up in a town that holds secrets and information about Lily’s dead mother. It is a bit of a blur, as Lily was only 4 years old then. The women are taken in by three black beekeepers, who have connections to Lily's mother. Lily is mesmerized by their bees, honey, Black Madonna, and their information about her mother. In a less than perfect world, Lily and Rosaleen try to find their happiness and closure in this hive.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
I enjoyed this book. Some parts are hard to get through, but I would definitely recommend this to others. Because of the death, racism, and foul language, this is a book for mature teens and young adults. 


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Lily's life is one we would never want to imagine, yet she is able to share it with readers in a hopeful, powerful way. Readers are drawn into her world from the get-go and cannot let go. Once you read it, you'll wonder why you hadn't discovered it earlier!

Content Awareness Factors:

Racist behavior is central to the story, and there is some violence associated with that. Lily is dealing with the grief of her mother, and this could be a trigger for some readers, as well.


Type of Book:
This is an adult novel that will appeal to high school teens and young adults.
Educational Themes:

Beekeeping is the backdrop for this character-driven story. The author tackles both broader social issues (racism, prejudice) and personal growth (death, loss, abuse). There is plenty to talk about, for sure!

Reading Level:
5..7
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
13 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a book that you will love to share and want back to treasure on your shelves!
book cover

Title The Secret Life of Bees
Author Sue Monk Kidd
Publisher Penguin Random House © 2003
ISBN 9780142001745
Material Paperback
Cost $16.00
Genres Historical Fiction, Coming Of Age, Self Worth, Death and Loss, Social Issues
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