Title: Flower Moon
Author: Gina Linko
Genre: Middle Grade, coming of age
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
You know the average middle age growing up story? Regular kid ends up in an irregular situation and with passion and love fights their way out. You know the one you've probably read it dozens of times by different people.
Now do you remember your very first story like this? The one that maybe got you hooked on reading, spoke to your soul or was just perfect to you. Was there anything super special about it?
Sadly the answer is probably not. It just happened to be the first time you read a book like that and now it lives in a place in your heart forever.
This is what Flower Moon could be to some middle grade kids. The first story that really touches them. Where the lead gal feels and thinks like they do. Where the selfish, annoying yet endearing moments are a reflection of what that kid feels many days.
But guess what? Rarely are these stories super special in any literary way.
Flower Moon is like that.
Carnival could be cool
While Gina Linko sets up this cute story about twin sister, whose mother is also a twin, in a fairly average way. The girls characteristics are defined. Paying particular attention to what makes them different from each other even when they look identical.
The family is pretty typical as well. The one thing that caught my attention in the blurb was that they travel with a carnival (run by their Grandfather) every year. And let's face it carnivals can be amazing settings (The Night Circus!) but I should have maybe known better after the mess that was Caraval last year. In any case Linko's carnival setting disappointingly ends up irrelevant which is perhaps the most disappointing thing of all. This story could have taken place anywhere with an ocean to link i the moon tides. It would not have made any fundamental difference to the outcome or feel of the story.
Yes a 'Flower Moon' is a real thing. And the magnetic tides and concepts that Linko briefly touches on here are (mostly) true. Except for the whole magical part (lol). I actually think this could have been a better story if it had happened over a slightly longer period of time to really investigate the phases of the moon and their effect on the girls. But instead the story is shoved into a few days time (for the most part) so that no actual development of characters, setting or plot is required.
Like I said in the intro this could become some twin girls "the one" book if read at just the right time with just the right elements in place. But it is also a book that I think would be reread as an adults and inevitably disappoint. So I would wish for a better book for the average 9-11 aged child to read.
It's not that it's bad. It's just that it's not that special.
There was/is so much potential to the story if only Linko had incorporated more of the carnival and moon phases into it. It's really too bad.
That said if this book finds the right kid then it was worth publishing. It's not that I wouldn't recommend it, more that after I write this review it will be gone from my mind as another typical story for kids that could have been something more.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.