The Language of Cherries

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

This novel was an easy read, there was a slight bit of magic in this contemporary style novel. It was written in a lyrical prose that is not my favourite but it did keep my interest. It was an enjoyable read about young love and family, I'd recommend it!
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The Language of Cherries review 

I have mixed feelings about this book because there were some things I loved, but there were other things that made me uncomfortable. 

I really enjoyed reading about Evie and Oskar. Both of them have difficulties they have to deal with, and I thought their journey was very well written. I especially liked how Oskar was portrayed; we need more diversity in YA fiction where the main characters deal with physical conditions or disabilities that readers can relate to. 

The writing was really beautiful in parts of the book. I found myself wishing for cherry pie and fresh fruit straight from the orchard while I was reading. I don’t usually read poetry, but I enjoyed Oskar’s journal sections. I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. That being said, I really disliked the strong swear words that were liberally sprinkled throughout the book. There were so many beautiful descriptions that I enjoyed, but I was jolted out of the story each time I encountered another swear word. 

One of the main things that made me uncomfortable was an intimate scene that took place. It was unnecessary, and I wish it hadn’t been in the book.

I enjoyed reading about the different cultures, and it was fun to read about the Icelandic setting. Those made this book stand out to me. I didn’t care for some of the middle scenes of the book, but ultimately I liked the ending. I felt it was realistic, but it also made me happy. 

Content:
Swear words were used liberally throughout the book. 
Some kissing, one fade-to-black intimate scene. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I really enjoyed The Language of Cherries.  Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.  

Evie is forced to move to Iceland for the summer where her father is working.   While there, she finds a cherry orchard and finds inspiration in her surroundings to paint beautiful paintings.  She meets a young man, Oskar, who lives on the orchard and begins to form an interesting relationship with him.

I really liked how the author created the way that Oskar and Evie communicated.  Evie‘s wit and candor were entertaining to read.  I also loved the bit of legend and whimsy that was present due to the aisling tree.

Really enjoyable book with characters you’ll be drawn to right from the start.
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5 Stars ☆☆☆☆☆

"Music is my only refuge, because when I sing, my strings aren’t broken."

Where do I even start? This book was perfect, it contained everything one would want in a contemporary. The whimsical writing style, the Icelandic setting and just the whole plot was spectacular. This is the kind of book you read in a day, and then immediately reread when you've finished because it was just lovely 😂❤  

Things I Loved: 
• The writing style! Jen Marie Hawkins has a beautiful way with words, it's the kind of poetic and enthralling writing style that makes you want to savour and hold onto every word.
• For me, romance in books is very hit or miss, and this was definitely a hit. I often found myself laughing, squealing and shouting (in a good way 😂) at the INTENSE attraction between Evie and Oskar. I think the romance was beautiful, and portrayed flawlessly ❤
• The characters were completely fleshed out and so humane and relatable, it's unbelievable. The author has a rare ability to allow us to feel every emotion the characters were feeling. I cried with Oskar, and laughed with Evie... it's just everything 💕

There wasn't anything I disliked, and I do think this book was an amazing read. I cannot wait to get my hands on a physical copy! If you like contemporary books with hints of Magical Realism and beautiful, poetic writing as well as a romance that'll make you laugh, and cry and 'Aww' multiple times then definitely give this a go 😁
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**I received a copy of this book, provided by NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.**

The Language of Cherries is a genuinely beautiful book. The story follows Evie as she travels to Iceland for the Summer months. Bringing her easel and paint, she begins painting a mysterious boy called Oskar. She paints in a cherry orchard that's owned by Oskar's family. The book unfolds their story and, as I followed along, I fell in love with the picturesque detail of Iceland, the loveable and relatable characters, and especially the way that love can be discovered in any language. What a beautifully written and meticulously executed book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to feel good. This is one of those books that you finish in one sitting and then you just hug the book right, remembering the characters and their love for one another.
#thelanguageofcherries #netgalley
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of The Language of Cherries. 

 This is a YA novel with some magical realism and mystical vibes. For the most part it's a YA romance story. 
 Evie is living away in Iceland with her father, and she meets Oskar, who is silent. 
 Things develop, slowly, and I would say the first half, maybe a little less, is quite the slow burner. 
 This is told in alternating narratives between Evie and Oskar. Overall a good story in the YA genre.
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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. It also 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 summer escapade in Europe, and themes of discovering oneself.
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The Language of Cherries is a very quiet YA contemporary with a strong mystical aspect. It is written in a lyrical fashion and takes its time to fully reveal the depth of emotion that it covers. 

And by that I mean it's a very slow burn read... A little too slow burn for me with that first 40% or so... But then the book took off. And I suddenly found I was incredibly invested in the storyline of these two young people. 

The book follows Evie who moves to Iceland one summer with her father. Evie is distraught by this move as it has separated her from her grandmother who her father has now placed in a retirement care facility back in the USA. 

Iceland is quiet. And made even more so by her father's long days and absences due to his work. And in this quiet Evie's upset festers and she rebels against her father... 

But also during this summer she meets a boy in a cherry tree orchard. There's something magical about both the orchard and the boy. The boy, Oskar, is silent.... Unbeknownst to Evie, Oskar has a strong stutter and is also grieving for his family. Evie thinks he can't speak English and doesn't understand her and believes that their communication occurs on a deeper level... 

Slowly their lives become so intertwined that love blossoms through Evie's magical paintings. Because after eating from the mystical aisling cherry tree, Evie somehow begins to paint Oskar's life. She paints people that she has never seen before but are in fact his deceased family members...

As I said this is an incredibly slow burn read... Which admittedly irked me at times. Because I found myself getting quite frustrated by Oskar in particular and how he persisted with his lie that he couldn't speak or understand English. The longer the charade carried on the more I distrusted him and rooted against him and Evie being together... Because she shared all of her thoughts and feelings with him because she thought he didn't understand her. So for me there was a huge betrayal of trust that I don't think was ever fully acknowledged. 

I did however like the ending and how the author managed to show the connection that these two characters shared was indeed mutual and authentic. 

Another thing I liked was how the book was structured using alternate perspectives. One chapter would follow Evie's perspective and was written in a typical narrative fashion and then the next chapter would be from Oskar's perspective in the form of his journal writings which were a form of verse poetry. It helped to create an environment for being empathetic towards both characters. In particular with Oskar and allowing the reader to understand his fears surrounding revealing his truth to Evie.

If you like slow burn romance novels with a dusting of magical realism then I would happily recommend this ya contemporary. 

Three and a half to four stars. 

*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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This is a new author for me and I LOVED this wonderful story! You just fell in love with these characters!! Truly an amazing book!!
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Has a book ever taken your breath away, made you fall in love with your teenage years and become a hopeless romantic? This book did that for me. It made me swoon—yes, actually swoon. 

I wasn’t sure what I expected when I first began the book, I had reservations, nervousness of what I was about to embark on. NetGalley provided me with an ARC of this, and I wanted to give my honest review, but all of those fears, the nerves I felt melted away within the first two chapters. 

I fell in love. 

With a book. With characters. With a place. 

“When Evie Perez is cut off from everything she loves and forced to move to Iceland for the summer, she takes her canvas and paintbrushes into the picturesque cherry orchard behind her guesthouse. She stains her lips with stolen cherries in the midnight sun and paints a boy she’s never met.
Oskar is startled to discover Evie in his family’s orchard, and even more surprised to see himself on her canvas. Too ashamed to reveal his stutter, he remains silent as Evie returns day after day to paint, spilling confessions she wouldn’t even tell her priest.
As Evie’s life back home unravels, Oskar wants to comfort her with words, but he knows he’s waited too long, so he uses music instead. But when it all comes to the surface, he knows that if Evie can’t forgive him for lying, he may never forgive himself for surviving.” 

The way these characters are brought to life is outstanding. Both Evie and Oskar, Agnes and Evie’s father breathe air throughout the book, fill whatever room you’re in with emotions and feelings you can’t begin to unpack. 

The style in which Evie talks, and Oskar’s journal is written gives wonderful insight into how the two are polarising in the way they deal with their emotions. Both experiencing huge upheaval and confusing familial circumstances, that really, only each other can understand. 

Evie’s friendship with Loretta, whilst briefly mentioned, is a stark reminder of Evie’s age and the friendships we have when we are young. It brings you back to Earth, and reminds you that this mature, emotional person is still just a child. I felt Evie’s heartache at the move, for personal reasons and the amazingness of Jen Marie Hawkins words. I rarely feel I know a character as well as I do Evie, and again that is another nod to the author. 

I pictured crushes and first boyfriends when she described Oskar, and I lost myself in the pages of a love story that is more magical than anything I’ve ever read. The Orchard is somewhere I want to visit, and admire the tree that sparked paintings and songs. 

I actually even feel quite emotional knowing there likely is no orchard, because it has become a safe place for me, even as a reader.

This book was so hard to put down, it occupied my mind when I was at work, and it filled all the time I had. I connected with the characters as though they were people I knew, and were telling me the story of how they met. 

I’m so grateful for having the chance to read this before publication, a firm favourite read of 2019.
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I received a copy of The Language Of Cherries, free, from Net Gallery  in exchange for an honest review.
Vie is a painter and she moves to Iceland to extricate herself from her former life.
She does a lot of painting outside her house.
She meets a strange boy called Oskar, who is surprised to see himself in one of the paintings.
As advise life back home seems to go to pieces, Oskar tries to comfort her with music
This is a very tender novel and I really enjoyed it.
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“The Language of Cherries”, by Jen Marie Hawkins (Owl Hollow Press), is a sweet, passionate romance between two young, lovable characters, Oskar and Evie. It’s an easy, light read, but also touching some dark themes with a bit of a paranormal twist.
Written in a lyrical, evocative prose that suits the subject and also matches the ethereal, supernatural beauty of Iceland’s landscape, the aurora borealis, druids and cherry orchards, the story features a yummy hero, who suffers from an endearing stutter, and an incredibly affectionate and giving heroine. Both are artists and the author’s take on the creative process is very interesting.
I thought the issue Oskar was hiding took too long do reveal, yet I liked that there was no drama about it in the end. 
Some parts made me laugh, others I found heart-wrenching and poignant, but, all in all, this is an enjoyable tale about young love, handling themes of family, loss and grief and caring for ageing beloved ones, too.
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This wasn't quite what I expected going into it but I was pleasantly surprised! The characters, the setting, the romance was everything. One thing I did love the most was Oskar's narrative, it was so poetic and I absolutely adored it. This was a really good debut novel!
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It's so refreshing to read a unique YA storyline, and rather impressive, as I know how hard it is to come up with storylines and make them genuine to bring the story to life. This book takes typical YA (family struggles, decisions about the future, and romance) and spins it to a new level, adding in magic realism and a setting in Iceland. Definitely should get more recognition. I look forward to seeing it on the bestseller charts!
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I enjoyed this book and read it within a day as it was short but very well written.

The character of Oskar (bless him aha) was really fleshed out and I liked the distinctive style of verse when he's at his most vulnerable. I also liked the character of Evie and how she's so emotive with everything she does or produces.

While the characters and tone of the book is something I liked (it reminds me of the solitude I face when spending summers in Lapland), the actual storyline was questionable. The implication of magic was something I was a bit confused about; it was never clarified how Evie sensed Oskar's story through her paintings. But when dismissing that fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it as some scenes had me captivated.

Thank you Netgalley :D
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This beautiful book gave me all the feels. The writing is seductive, and the Icelandic setting is stunning. I fell in love with all the incredible characters, but especially Oskar whose narrative comes through his poetry as he's more comfortable writing than speaking, and what he writes is so emotionally evocative, it so often brought me to tears, in the very best way. I loved this book so much.
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I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. "The Language of Cherries" will be released February 11th, 2020. 

I don't think it's a coincidence that, in an early scene, it's mentioned that bookish protagonist Evie is reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Hundred Years of Solitude," because I feel like the author was going for a sort of "Icelandic Garcia-Marquez" vibe. That was one thing I didn't expect at all, especially because I put this book on my TBR (months ago...) before its full summary was out: "The Language of Cherries" is more magical realism than contemporary romance. (Hence the Garcia-Marquez connection - I can sorta see the influence of his work here with not only that, but the evocative power of the setting, the importance of Latin American culture to the story, and the lyrical prose.) I don't want to spoil much, but there's a lot more Gaelic druid magic than I expected in a book that seemed, to me, like a fish-out-of-water summer romance story. Usually, magical realism isn't my cup of tea (I still get flashbacks to my 10th grade English class where we had to analyze Latin American magical realism ad nauseum), but it worked here, probably because I'd never seen it used in this setting. The only MR I'd ever read had been set in South America and used various South American traditions, mythologies, and cultures as its backbone, so this one was unique in that it completely removed the genre from the only setting I'd ever known it in. It used Gaelic mythology (the protagonist is half-Scottish) and Icelandic setting for a very interesting take. And speaking of the setting - gorgeous. Super atmospheric, and I want to go to Iceland now. That's a testament to the quality of the writing, which was also excellent. I loved the use of Oskar's song lyrics as vehicles to move the story forward. 

The characters and plot didn't enthuse me as much. 

What I will give Hawkins is that Oskar and Evie are both very fleshed-out, flawed, and real. They seemed like actual people you might know. But as such, they're both kinda...unlikable at times. That actually isn't a bad thing; it takes a good writer to make you sympathize with a character that you also kinda can't stand. They have reasons for being how they are. And I did love their wordless summer romance. But in the end...well, I kinda just didn't like them. I appreciated Evie's growth, though. The plot had a bit of the same: it seemed a little all-over-the-place, more patchy than linear. Yes, things happened along a linear timeline, but each chapter read a little more like an individual slice-of-life vignette than part of a larger story, at least to me. And certain plot points (...druid magic) weren't really elaborated upon. They showed up, they were sort of just there, and that was that. 

I feel like there's more to this book than I can easily convey in this little review, so you'll have to read it yourself if you want to get what I'm talking about. (It's available for free, automatically, on NetGalley - I'd highly encourage all of you to check it out that way!) But, though I wasn't absolutely in love with every part of the story, "The Language of Cherries" is a rich, evocative, and singularly unique novel that's likely to be unlike anything else you read. 

ENDNOTES

Favorite Scene: when Agnes (Oskar's aunt), Evie, and Oskar attend an outdoor market. Super adorable romance-development scene that gives us one of the best looks at Icelandic culture that we get in the entire book. 

What Made This Book Stand Out: its extremely unique setting and magical realism vibes. 

One-Sentence Summary: this is most definitely not what it says on the tin. 

Something that Bugged Me: early in the book, Evie is described as being the only Hispanic student at a Catholic high school in Miami. That had me raising my eyebrows because I go to a Catholic high school in another major U.S. city with a huge Hispanic population, similar to Miami's, and my school's student body is overwhelmingly Hispanic. I didn't want to assume Florida had the same demographics as California, though, so I did some research on demographics...and sure enough, the majority of Catholic high schools in Miami proper have Hispanic majorities. I loved the Catholic school mention because, well, that's my life, but as a Cuban-American, Evie would be far from atypical at a south Florida Catholic school. 

Adult Content: a bit of vulgar language throughout; a fade-to-black implied sex scene + the subsequent fallout; Oskar is kind of a stoner at the beginning; Evie and Oskar's entire relationship is based on a lie at first.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Confused Llamas
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From the first few pages, I knew that I was going to like this book. Turns out I loved it. It's not lyrical, per se, or maybe it is, but more so in the storytelling than the writing style itself, which is fresh and well-versed. The Language of Cherries is filled with magical elements I'm not particularly keen on, but it features a whole set of characters, all more lovable than the next, and beautiful Icelandic settings. It’s a solid and impressive debut novel. I look forward to reading more from this writer.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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