The Girl and The Grove ★★★☆☆

35059797There was a lot I was expecting from The Girl and The Grove and everything that I wanted didn’t really come out. There were parts I really enjoyed and parts where I just had to put the book down. This one was a DNF from me.

Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park.

Leila, a recently adopted girl living in Philadelphia, lives with seasonal affective disorder. I loved that we got to have a brown girl with mental illnesses as the main character. That was the coolest thing ever.

But the writing itself threw me off too much for me to be able to happily finish the book. If you know me, I hate DNF’ing books. I’ll push myself through an ARC just to be able to feel like I can fully review it. But DNF’ing something also tells you a lot about the book itself.

I jumped at the idea of The Girl and the Grove when I first saw it. I love urban fantasy stories and I was already imagining all the cool fantasy elements this story would have–Leila’s a dryad! Living trees! Technology and nature existing in harmony!

But none of that really happened. I couldn’t get into it to really get to the meat of the story and the writing wasn’t nearly engaging enough for me to want to stick around in anticipation of a successful twist. Every time I tried to read more, I just got more bored and I’d rather go to be an hour early and sacrifice my pre-bed reading time than force my way through a book I wasn’t engaged with.

The Girl and the Grove
Amazon Barnes&Noble

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By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.