Laurel’s mother was always really into flowers, but she’s recently died, leaving Laurel with tons of questions about her mysterious new “flower power”. At her new school, her bouquets have caused teachers to fall in love and helped her friends ace their tests – but Laurel doesn’t really know what she’s doing and the wrong flowers used at the wrong time could cause chaos…
Both my mother and grandmother were avid gardeners and tried to interest me in botany. It never took. After reading this novel, I’m breathing in the scent of raspberries (for regret), because I’ll never have the chance to discuss their love of flowers with them.
I guess I never realized how fascinating the whole language of flowers is. For example, in Victorian times, people used flowers to communicate their feelings for each other or to send other messages. It’s such a fun, fresh idea to take this language of flowers and create a heroine who can actually use flowers like magic.
It takes Laurel a while to figure out what’s behind her power. While I enjoyed the air of mystery, the narrative reasons why the “elders” in her life couldn’t fill her in sooner seemed too a bit forced. A teacher gives her cryptic clues but doesn’t tell her because “it’s not her place”. The grandmother is unreachable. Other characters may or may not know anything about it. I understand the need for Laurel to “blossom” on her own, and some of her early bumbling experiments have humorous outcomes, but more impatient readers might be frustrated by the slow build of the first half.
Patient readers, though, will be rewarded by an action-packed and magical second half. There are definitely some melancholic scenes throughout (after all, Laurel’s mother did die), but the narrative is so infused with love that the novel felt like a real affirmation of joy and life.
FORGET-HER-NOTS is available now in hardcover. Find out more about it on the author’s website.