We, the Wildflowers

Spencer Hill Pr. Feb. 2020. 391p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781633921115.
Gr 9 Up–Genny, Adam, Chloe, and Lukas have had rough lives. Due to a variety of circumstances, the four teens live at Mary Rodriguez’s home, part of Sacred Heart’s troubled youth program. Rejected by many of their peers at school, they form a tight friendship in a group they name the Wildflowers. The idea originated from Genny, who compared them to actual wildflowers that are sown together in the soil and remain a part of each other throughout the seasons. The newest member, Lukas, has settled in nicely and a romance begins to bloom between him and Chloe. Life is calm and peaceful for everyone until Mrs. Rodriguez suddenly dies and a corrupt family takes charge of the house. A violent episode separates the group for an extended period of time, but they come together at the end even though one “flower” is missing. Many teen readers will identify with the problems experienced by the characters. However, some elements of the plot involving theft and crime scene alteration may not send the right message about the best way to work through bad situations. Also, during some parts of the story, the teen protagonists appear almost too self-assured and wise beyond their years.
VERDICT Young readers with complicated families, substance abuse, and questions about their sexual orientation will enjoy this story about teenagers in tough situations who move beyond them into a brighter future. Depictions of sexual violence make this more appropriate for older readers.

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