Summary: While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina — Carol — is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. At first, Carol avoids prickly Grandpa Serge. But as the summer wears on and the heat bears down, Carol finds herself drawn to him, fascinated by the crazy stories he tells her about a healing tree, a green-glass lake, and the bees that will bring back the rain and end a hundred years of drought. As the thin line between magic and reality starts to blur, Carol must decide for herself what is possible — and what it means to be true to her roots. Readers who dream that there’s something more out there will be enchanted by this captivating novel of family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.
Absorbing, emotional, and bursting with magical realism, Hour of the Bees is a book that challenges readers’ ideas about what they know and what they think they know. Carol is a relatable, imperfect protagonist, struggling to deal with the changes in her family and her relationships and her own sense of who she is. Her resistance to the impossible ideas her grandfather states with such conviction is believable, as is her slow change of heart when unexplainable events support his tales of a life-giving tree in the desert. The details of the story may shimmer between literal and figurative like waves of heat in the desert, but the reader, like Carol, comes to see that it doesn’t matter if her grandfather’s stories are real or not – only that they are true.
HOUR OF THE BEES is out now.