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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Mad Honey

ISBN: 978-1984818386

Publisher: Random House/Ballantine

Publication Date: 10/04/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here and the bestselling author of She's Not There.

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.

My Review

Well-researched. Thought-provoking. Timely.

The shocking murder of a teenage girl in a small town is the focus of this heartbreaking emotional well-written novel, MAD HONEY, from the bestselling author Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan.

Twelve years earlier, a mother, Olivia McAfee, left Boston behind and her abusive husband for New Hampshire with her teenage son, Asher. She is a professional beekeeper and single mom.

Asher is quite popular in school, well-liked, and captain of the high school hockey team. He and his mom have a great relationship, and he is preparing to go off to college.

He meets Lily Campanello, who also comes from an abusive background. They are serious and an item. But then, a tragedy occurs after a fight. Asher finds Lily dead at the bottom of her basement stairs.

Has Asher inherited his father's violent, abusive streak, or is Asher innocent? Even his mother is worried about her son and his future.

Asher is soon arrested for the murder.

A trial and much media are surrounding the case. However, there may be some evidence that comes to light that could change the outcome.

Is Asher guilty or not guilty? The author brings in a twist that further makes Asher appear guilty when he states he was aware of this news, which had no bearing on his feelings.

With heart-pounding, gripping courtroom scenes, the authors bring highly charged, timely topics to the page, which come alive with its characters. Told with compassion and sensitivity, in Jodi's signature style, as well as her co-author, they are not afraid to tackle highly-charged and difficult timely issues and topics.

Readers also get some fun research about beekeeping, how bees and humans relate with metaphors and symbols, and the healing powers of honey. Bees are survivors.

I was also delighted to see Jordan McAfee, a lawyer from "NINETEEN MINUTES," where he defends his nephew here in MAD HONEY.

From tough, controversial topics, riveting and emotional legal courtroom scenes, moral dilemmas, and traumatic scenes - all these and more will pull on your heartstrings.

Mad Honey: "The secret of mad honey, of course, is that you expect it to be sweet, not deadly. You're deliberately attracted to it. By the time it messes with your head, with your heart, it's too late."

Similar to abusive relationships.

A moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take to become ourselves.

I also enjoyed reading the Author's Notes from both Jodi and Jennifer and the inspiration behind the book. I always learn something from her books. Highly recommend.

Recipes: Also included are Recipes from Olivia's Moleskin Notebook and Asher's Calculus Notebook! The Kale salad with honey lemon vinaigrette is very good.

"We are all flawed, complicated, scarred dreamers; we have more in common with each other than we don't. Sometimes making the world a better place just involves creating space for the people who are already in it." Jodi Picoult, Feb 2021

A special thank you to #BallantineBooks #RandomHouse and #NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. #randomhouseinfluencers

Blog Review Posted @

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4 Stars

Pub Date: Oct 4, 2022

Praise for Jodi Picoult

“Picoult is a skilled wordsmith, and she beautifully creates situations that not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us.”

—The Boston Globe

“Jodi Picoult is that rare, one-in-a-million writer whose books both squeeze your heart and expand your mind.”

—Emily Henry

Praise for Jennifer Finney Boylan

“Jennifer Finney Boylan is an exquisite writer.”

—Augusten Burroughs

“One could not ask for a wiser, warmer, more engaging companion than Jennifer Finney Boylan.”

—Mary Roach

About the Authors

Jodi Picoult is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of twenty-eight novels, including Wish You Were Here, Small Great Things, Leaving Time, and My Sister's Keeper, and, with daughter Samantha van Leer, two young adult novels, Between the Lines and Off the Page. Picoult lives in New Hampshire. WEBSITE

Jennifer Finney Boylan is the bestselling author of more than a dozen books. She is the inaugural Anna Quindlen Writer in Residence at Barnard College of Columbia University and a contributing Opinion writer for The New York Times. A nationally known advocate for human rights, she is a trustee of PEN America; for many years she was the national co-chair of GLAAD. She lives in New York City and Belgrade Lakes, Maine, with her wife, Deedie. They have a son, Sean, and a daughter, Zai. WEBSITE



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