Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel

This is a book review for Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel. I received this ARC from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Thirteen year old Callie is accused of bullying at school, but Rebecca knows the gentle girl she's raised must be innocent. After Callie is exonerated, she begins to receive threatening notes from the girl who accused her, and as these notes become desperate, Rebecca feels compelled to intervene. As she tries to save this unbalanced girl, Rebecca remembers her own intense betrayals and best-friendships as a teenager, when her failure to understand those closest to her led to tragedy. She'll do anything to make this story end differently. But Rebecca doesn’t understand what’s happening or who is truly a victim, and now Callie is in terrible danger.

This was another one of those books that I wasn't expecting to enjoy as much as I did. After I requested the ARC, I saw a few less than rave reviews on Goodreads and I almost let them put me off from reading it. At first, I just did not like the characters very much. Rebecca is guardian to 13 year old Callie, who is the daughter to Rebecca's best friend and her cousin. Both Callie's parents are dead and this book goes back and forth between what is happening with Callie and the events leading to her parents' death. At first I though Rebecca was another parent refusing to see her child as anything but perfect and this annoyed me. Despite witnesses, Rebecca refused to believe that her child could possibly be a bully. Instead, she believes Callie's excuse that Robyn must be lying and just saying this stuff to get attention. But I kind of get why she refused to see it and that question lay at the heart of this book. How well does anyone really know their children? What I didn't like (and what the author was maybe trying to say) was that Rebecca could be a bully just like anyone else. The way she spoke about Robyn (the girl who said Callie bullied her) and her mother just made my skin crawl. When Robyn was with the mothers of Callie's friends, they reminded me just as much of the mean girls in high school, just older.

The book also has excerpts that Callie is writing regarding her interactions with Robyn, the girl she is accused of bullying. These excerpts made it even harder to figure out who was telling the truth. According to these excerpts of IM's and emails, they started out as friends. So what went wrong? The last part of the book brought everything together when it finally told the events from Callie's POV. I was torn between feeling bad for Callie and being mad at her. And there were so many mean girls who influenced Callie's behavior. Reading Callie's POV made me remember just how intense adolescence could feel. Every heartbreak was magnified by a thousand and it was so easy to spiral because of what people thought about you. In Callie's case, she went through so much. It really just hurt when she thought her dead mother would have regretted having her because of things she had done. This book was very moving and had very real characters and emotions. This was a great read!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one! 


  1. Those teen years are certainly fraught with drama and why is it that girls tend to have such issues with each other? You think that it's worse for the girls - who are often so mean - than the boys who just shove each other around and throw punches or footballs. I've got this one on my list as somehow I like reading these type of books. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Hey, when you end up torn between contradictory feelings for the same character, it's a sign that the book was well worth your time. Adding it :)