Author: Tracy Holczer
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place like gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she’s found it her mother says it’s time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.
After her mother’s sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she’s never met. She can’t imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe itis her mother, showing her the way to her true home.
Huge thank you to Putnam/Razorbill CA for this ARC!
I went into The Secret Hum of a Daisy completely blind. I didn’t know very much about the story other than it was about a young girl who’s mother dies and she is forced to live with a grandmother who didn’t want her in the first place. This titbit alone sounded incredibly harsh, and interestingly, it does follow through in that sour relationship.
Grace has a beautiful story to tell, and one she shares with such honesty. She isn’t afraid to speak the truth or explain what her life was like in the past with her gypsy mother and her present with her angry grandmother. Exploration of family roots in this story is impeccable, as Holczer gives you just enough information to make your own guesses about some of the mysteries surrounding Grace and her family. Like an onion, the book peels back each layer, giving you a bit more each time.
The writing in this book is gorgeous, poignant and engaging. This book is also a very slow burn and one that I don’t think every middle grade reader will pick up with ease and whiz through. This isn’t a book to be rushed — everything is slow, deliberate and thoughtful. There’s no room for rushing because every piece has it’s place. That being said, witht he right reader, there’s a lot to love in this story.
I also loved the friendship between Lacey and Grace and that was easily my favourite parts of the book. I loved the letters they would send each other and the way Grace would remember about their adventures. For Grace, her family is so broken and detached and you can see her envy of Lacey and her mother — she wants stability, and above all else, happiness.
I don’t want to spoil too much else about this novel, but it’s one I strongly recommend checking out if you love a tough contemporary read that makes you work a little for the whole picture. The time investment in this story is completely worth it.