Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: February 11, 2020
Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
“Their strength and ferocity stem from below the surface where their roots are forever tangled, interwoven in such a way that for the remainder of time they bloom together …”
No one loves them, no one cares about them, no one even sees them until they end up in Mary Rodriguez’s home, an outpost for Sacred Heart’s troubled youth program. It is within these walls that the four teens forge unlikely friendships. They experience the intensity of first loves, share secrets, and suffer losses, vowing to make the world a better place in spite of their personal battles with addiction, depression, loneliness, and abuse. But when the unthinkable happens, those friendships are tested in ways they never could have imagined.
Will they find strength enough to survive or will their bonds be too fractured to heal them yet again?
TW: sexual abuse, drug abuse, homophobia, loss of family
I found this book on Netgalley and was approved to read the digital advanced copy by the publisher. I requested this book because 1) the cover (simple flowers with a black background; simple, aesthically pleasing covers DO IT for me) and 2) it was a YA that seemed different and stood out to me.
The Goodreads rating for this book is 4.45 so obviously I had very high expectations going into this novel. I’ve never read a story by L.B. Simmons before so I wasn’t really sure exactly what to expect.
We, The Wildflowers follows one main character, Chloe, as she experiences living in a sort of group home after being abandoned by her wealthy parents. There she meets Genesis (Genny) and Adam, and then eventually Lukas is the fourth and final member of the household.
All four teens are close to graduating high school and have all experienced traumas in their life time. Genny was a drug abuser, Lukas was arrested for attacking a man, and Adam was shunned from his household for being a gay man. Mrs. Rodriguez eventually that takes them in, and they’re lives start drastically improving…until it stops.
The pacing of this story bugged me at first, because by about the halfway point, everything started to come to a perfect close. I was wondering what was going to fill the last half of the book. Then, the last half happened. The story took a dramatic turn and we’re left with a story about teens trying to pull themselves together from another tragedy.
The overall plot of the book was great. I love reading stories about mental health and other serious issues among teens because I think those stories need to be broadcasted. It’s issues like these that are everywhere but never seem to get enough attention. I almost hoped that I could’ve gotten a couple chapters with the other teens perspectives just to get a better sense of their characters, but honestly that’s just me being nit picky at this point. Being inside the mind of Chloe was fascinating and I thought Simmons did a wonderful job of showing us the complex side characters too.
One aspect that I really loved that I usually don’t enjoy much in YA books is the romance. I read YA for the complexity of the characters and the coming of age moments, but rarely am I excited about the romance happening. I’m usually quite indifferent about it. But the romance between Chloe and Lukas was wonderful, and I found myself rooting for them until the very end.
I was also very satisfied with the ending. It was a happy ending considering the very unhappy circumstances. Simmons really let Chloe develop into a strong, willful woman.
Overall, I have this book 5 stars. I’m most likely going to buy a physical copy of this book when it releases in February because I NEED it on my classroom bookshelf. I think this story is a must read.