Sarah Weeks's Honey
Book review by Heather Job
Ages 8 - 12
Melody Bishop has never had a mother, but that doesn’t bother her.
Things are fine in Royal, Indiana: she has a good relationship with her father, a Humanities teacher. She has a fun best friend, Nick. She has a nosy young neighbor and a mean math teacher. But that’s no big deal.
Everything changes when Melody hears a rumor that her father has fallen in love, and is calling someone Honey.
Not that she's against the idea, of course - she's actually pretty excited about it. But Royal is a small town. Who could he be in love with?
Melody and Nick set out to crack the case. But with this mystery out in the open, Melody starts to think about her mother like she never has before. What is her father hiding?
Meanwhile, Bee-Bee Churchill moves back to Royal after 10 years away, with her dog Mo in tow. While Bee-Bee sets about renovating a new salon, the Bee Hive, Mo dwells on his past.
He has always felt out of place, always had visions of a girl who will make him feel truly at home.
Mo, Bee-Bee, and Melody's stories all overlap, the plot driven mostly by false assumptions. The story wraps up quickly, but not without heart.
While we do eventually see "Honey," the mystery girl Mr. Bishop has been seeing, the story isn't about that. Honey is about secrets:
In finding the answers to these questions, Mo and Melody find themselves - and each other.
It's not a long story, or a complicated story, but Weeks's characters have distinctive voices and personalities, vibrant and colorful even in this short form.
The dynamics between characters are delightfully varied as well, from Melody's witty banter with his father to her sharper temper with her annoying neighbor Teeny, to her intense dislike for her math teacher.
Weeks manages to pack a lot of personality and love into a short story. It's a quick read and an enjoyable one, an endearing and fleeting snapshot of one weekend in a small town.
Honey is a light and loving story about revisiting the past to understand your present, and using that knowledge to end up where you're supposed to be. Low stakes throughout clue in the reader from the beginning that the ending is going to be a happy one, but in this crazy world so often without happy endings, it's refreshing and heartwarming to be granted an ending in which everyone truly does live happily ever after.
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