NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “Alternatingly heart-pounding and heartbreaking. This collaboration between two best-selling authors seamlessly weaves together Olivia and Lily’s journeys, creating a provocative exploration of the strength that love and acceptance require.”—The Washington Post
GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK • PEOPLE’S BOOK OF THE WEEK • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: PopSugar
Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising their beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined that 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 she wonders if she can 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 Ash, 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.
Picoult (Wish You Were Here) joins forces with novelist and transgender activist Boylan (Long Black Veil) for a spellbinding yarn involving a teen's trial for murder. Beekeeper Olivia McAfee fled her abusive husband in Boston for New Hampshire with her six-year-old son, Asher. Twelve years later, Asher is charged with murdering his high school girlfriend, Lily, a newcomer to town. The story unfolds from Olivia and Lily's viewpoints (Lily's before the murder), and centers on the budding relationship between Asher and Lily and the subsequent court case against Asher, who is represented by Olivia's older brother, Jordan, a high-profile defense attorney who has appeared in previous Picoult novels. Both teens have troubled relationships with their fathers, and the authors painstakingly explore the impact of physically and emotionally abusive men on their families. After a big reveal in the second half, the canvas stretches to include a primer on transgender issues, and the shift is mostly seamless though sometimes didactic. More successful is the atmospheric texture provided with depictions of Olivia harvesting honey and the art of beekeeping, and the riveting trial drama. Overall, it's a fruitful collaboration.
Well worth your time. The knowledge that is bestowed regarding people who are transgender is so worth the read despite the parts that seem too long and repetitive. You will also learn a lot about honey, the wonderful kind, as well as about the mad kind which seems to manifest itself in abusive human males.
If you want to read about a trans love affair go for it . But the timeline is confusing and ineffective, and the ending is predictable. As a side note, the authors clearly wanted to normalize being trans, but instead made a great case as to why it is dangerous medically to tamper with young adolescent hormones.
Sign of the times
This book is about Olivia, who has divorced Asher's father due to domestic violence. Olivia is worried that Asher could have inherited his father's tendencies. This book is about Asher who falls in love with Lily, who is found dead from a traumatic fall. This book is about Lily and her mother, Ava. Ava, who only wants her child to have a meaningful life and relocates the both of them to get away from Lily's father. This book is about a murder trial with Asher facing a lifetime in prison and the secret that Lily and her mother have kept from the community.
This book dropped me in my tracks, completely surprised me and I barely caught my jaw before it hit the floor. Using a mix of past and present, the events that lead up to Lily's death is parceled out to the reader, resulting in a very suspenseful read. Not only is it suspenseful but it is also a book that educates. Once again, the author tackles a volatile issue that is prominent in the United States today. I give kudos to the authors for opening my eyes and "hearing" what needs to be said in regards to our world today. I have written an honest review in exchange for the DARC I received from Penguin Random House and NetGalley.