When I received an ARC of Forget-Her-Nots from a friend, I peeked past its pink cover, a little unsure whether I’d connect with fourteen-year-old Laurel’s story–I usually read novels with older characters and edgier plots. After giving Forget-Her-Nots a try, I’ll say two things: (1) Yes, Forget-Her-Nots will likely appeal to younger girls, though older readers looking for a sweet story about friendship, flowers, and first romance will find this book a treat. (2) I must confess to staying up late reading it. Really late. Because apparently I’m a sucker for all three of those things.
Amy Brecount White skillfully explores the tangle of relationships between Laurel and her friends at school; I’m so glad to read a book where the main character isn’t an odd outsider who has maybe one or two equally quirky friends and constantly battles the Evil Popular Clique. While Laurel definitely has some quirky flower powers–pun intended–she spends a healthy amount of the book learning how to lovingly tend to her friendships and family as well. Also, I love how she doesn’t let romance overrule her own passions in life. Beautiful quotes at the beginnings of the chapter deepen these themes, as does poetry throughout. Finally, the language of flowers itself lends itself wonderfully to messages of compassion.
Why wouldn’t I give this book five stars? I did zip through it in two days, but I had problems keeping track of the plethora of similarly-described girls; also, there was teen slang that sounded off, and some basil-related silliness that could have been a little dealt with more lightly. On the other hand, the flower descriptions in this book sang with beautiful colors and scents. Forget-Her-Nots made me want to get up and garden. After, of course, I finished reading it.