When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.
My thoughts...I really enjoyed this story. Amy B. White takes readers on a romantic and magical journey into a world where flowers can enhance feelings and reactions. This story is very unique and offers a refreshing change to fans of young adult/middle grade literature. While the story is geared to younger readers, it would be enjoyable to readers of all ages, especially those who enjoy flowers. Beyond the flowers, the story has several strong themes. The story uncovers first loves, true loves and love desired. While readers are not smothered with romantic themes, it is tastefully woven into the plot. The heroine also deals with the loss of her mother and her father's struggles to lead his own life. The story also focuses on morals and making choices. In the heroine, Laurel's case, not all of those choices were the right ones.
The read an interview with the author and she described the book as "inter-generational". I think this is a perfect way to describe the characters in the story. This is a YA title, so our heroine, Lauren, and her peers are young. I think a few of them are old souls, like her cousin Rose. To me, Rose was the voice of reason and I liked her character because of it. Some of the choices Lauren made had me wringing my hands. She faced many of the struggles teens face-acceptance, self-esteem, the opposite sex, family stress, and academic pressures. I did see significant character growth in Lauren by the end of the novel. Readers get a chance to see Lauren's interaction with several of her teachers. One particularly, Mrs. Suarez, really seemed to influence Laurel and take on the mother role. Lastly, Laurel's grandmother, while absent, played a big role in the story, especially the mysterious aspects of the plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I love the section at the end of the book with the flower meanings. I found myself referring it on several occasions. I even checked some flower names on the web and was pleased to see they were the same as the book. The story is very unique and creative and I would definitely recommend it to fans of YA lit, young and old.