Author: Jen Marie Hawkins
Publish Date: February 11, 2020
Thank you so much to Owl Hollow Books for giving me an ARC of The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It’s summer, and Evelyn is whisked away by her father, against her will, to Iceland. She’s leaving her beautiful, hot Florida life to the cold but never ending sunshine of Iceland’s summer. She resists falling to the wonders of the foreign country, until she meets Icelandic boy Oskar, who will give heat to her Icelandic summer.
The Language of Cherries is a perfect book to be read at the start of the Christmas season; it has enough heat and cold to start the month of December. It’s a story of forgiveness, of moving on, of discovering your own capabilities, and of accepting and being true to yourself. It’s a story that can definitely tug young adults’ hearts.
”Our bodies and souls inhabit this earth a short time in the grand scheme of forever, but our art is as immortal as our wounds.”
One of the things I loved the most in this book is the two protagonists’ point of view and how their voice and personality was delivered into words. Evelyn is a painter, and through Hawkins’ crisp prose, we get to touch her paintings. Oskar is a lyricist and a musician, and through his point of view we get to hear him sing and strum his ukelele and guitar. The contrast on the delivery of the two protagonists’ point of view was fascinating and something I have never seen before.
This book also made me anticipate and squeal every dialogue Oskar has. Never had a book made me that crazy on a single-sentenced dialogue. Oskar rarely speaks due to his stutter and fear of others degrading him. And every dialogue Oskar has is as sweet as the cherry in their orchard.
His inability to speak is a recurring problem in the book. The book built up this whole suspense of him trying to speak to Evie, and clues for Evie to find out. However the ending kind of fell flat after that build up. Evie knew of the truth through Oskar’s journal, and they had a nice reunion on the end, but I kinda wanted the truth to be revealed in a more grandiose confrontation, not just finding (and prying) to someone’s journal the morning after you slept with the owner of that said journal.
Another thing I find unrealistic was how can you trust someone, foreign, and who didn’t even utter a word to you, to the point you will sleep with them. I understand telling everything to him, as you were led to believe he wouldn’t be able to understand. It became a way for Evie to release what she’s feeling, but to the point that she would sleep and fall in love with him? Crush maybe, but falling in love? Though, teenager hormones.
The story also dabbles into a bit of magic. It’s the setting stone why everything happened. But the book never really explained well the magic of the cherry orchard, another thing that kind of irked me. Though it could just be me and my fantasy-enthusiast self who always seek answers on the how and why of fantasy elements in every story.
The Language of the Cherries showcases and delivers two different cultures perfectly. It teaches us that there is more beyond words, that language is never a barrier when it comes to family and love. I enjoyed reading this book, it got me going just after 3 chapters and I could barely put it down if not because of school. I will give this 4 stars and highly recommend it to readers who love a summer escapade in Europe, and themes of discovering oneself.