4 out of 5 stars.
This book ends on one killer cliff-hanger, so if you find this one at your library, it is a good idea to immediately take out the second one as well. I did not and now I am sitting here regretting it, wondering what happens next.
With the extremely large print and huge margins, this text is probably only 50 real pages worth of material, so it reads a lot more like a long short story or a novella than a novel. I finished it in 2-3 hours. A very quick read. This would be a great book to recommend to junior or senior high reluctant readers who are embarrassed to take out elementary school material but are really intimidated by long books.
Jessamine’s father is an apothecary and gardener, who has a locked garden full of poisonous plants and an obsession with discovering medicinal uses for them. Weed is an orphan Jess’s father reluctantly took in who seems to have a way with plants. Jess starts to realize that her father’s obsession may be taking a darker turn, all the while trying to navigate a blossoming relationship with someone.
The character of Weed was probably the highlight of this book for me. He doesn’t act quite human and his confusion over some emotions is cute. Figuring out who and what Weed is was the best part of this book for me, though figuring out what Jess’ father is up to is also in there. It is not tricky, either of these tasks, but presented skillfully enough that it was still a good read. The presentation of the scenery, especially the plants, is also attention-grabbing, especially for anyone who has shown an interest in botany. Keeping a computer open with Wikipedia up so that you can pop online to read about the various poisons might not be a bad plan for those that like their fiction reading to lead to a bit of non-fiction exploration.