Lemon Drop Falls

Wow! This book took my breath away through tears of both happiness and joy. Morgan is twelve years old and reeling from the unexpected death of her mother at the end of the previous school year. Now, as she prepares for seventh grade, she must figure out a way to keep herself and her siblings in line so their life can remain as normal as possible. But a spontaneous trip throws her meticulous plans out the window, and Morgan must wade through her discomfort to discover the beauty on the other side. Superbly presented, this is a story that will resonate with readers of all ages. Please see my full review below!


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Before, everything was perfectly planned, prepared, and managed; so what happens after, when all of those plans have fallen apart? Twelve-year-old Morgan is struggling to find balance after having unexpectedly lost her mother at the end of the previous school year. And when her dad ultimately needs to go back to work, Morgan is left picking up the pieces and caring for her two younger siblings mostly on her own. With the next school year rapidly approaching, Morgan does her best to channel her mother and procure school supplies and clothes, but her father has other ideas. A spontaneous family trip to Capitol Reef derails Morgan's best laid plans, proving that with a little love, happiness can still be found even in the darkest of moments.


Told from Morgan's first-person perspective, this story eloquently describes the depth of the emotion she feels after her mother's passing. A series of flashbacks gives readers a sense of what life was like when Morgan’s mother was still alive, when Morgan's world made sense and she had two best friends she could count on. Lists, plans, and lemon drops defined her mother's personality, and both the presence and the absence of those things now throw everything in Morgan's life out of whack. As Morgan attempts to fill the void her mother left behind, she begins by mirroring her mother's behavior before ultimately budding into her own unique self.


This story does an excellent job of introducing a variety of familiar, dynamic characters against a backdrop that gives the plot structure and focus. Memories of the past add humor and levity to an otherwise heartbreaking circumstance, and middle school and sibling interactions enhance the accessibility of the narrative. With lemon drops as a frequent reference, both the characters and the readers are reminded that sometimes life must be sour before it can be sweet, which is a beautifully executed metaphor through the novel as a whole.


Middle grade readers will easily connect with Morgan and her challenges, even if they have not experienced any of them themselves. Transitioning to adolescence is hard enough without one's mother dying, yet Morgan manages to handle her own transformation with grace. Her reactions are believable and expected given her circumstances, and readers will feel Morgan's catharsis alongside her. Deeply heartfelt and highly engaging, this story is an important coming-of-age novel for readers of all ages and especially for those preparing for middle school. It is a highly recommended addition to library collections for young readers.



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