Hour of the Bees
HOUR OF THE BEES has been mentioned a couple of times in our comments section, but hasn’t gotten as much love as maybe it should. It is definitely a book that has stuck with me over the months and one I think is worthy of a bit of discussion.
I really enjoyed the story within a story here. In that way it compares nicely with WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER, but I might have found this one even more compelling, as the story within a story revealed itself slowly throughout the book building up a nice amount of suspense.
The stark setting was a good match for the harsh characters and the magical realism.
It compares, also, to GHOSTS. Both stories feature girls at the edge of young adulthood learning about and learning to embrace the Mexican side of their heritage. Both also deal with death. HOUR OF THE BEES, however, does so with more heart and less controversy and uses fantastical elements with much stronger effect.
There were some minor flaws and quibbles I have that I think keep it out of my top picks, but ultimately a very worthwhile story. What do you think?
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About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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