Cover Image: Lemon Drop Falls

Lemon Drop Falls

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Member Reviews

This book and the author are magical. Books dealing with death for middle grade readers are needed. Students deal with all sorts of ugly things in the world, and having a safe space like a book to process grief is so important. The adventure part of the story was well written and kept me captivated. The character and her struggles pulled at my heartstrings. I had a few students read the book and they thoroughly enjoyed it.
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I was hesitant to read a book about a child going through grief and having to witness her mother's death. Still, everything was done beautifully, which made it even harder to read this from the point of view of a little girl that bears so much responsibility, from taking care of her siblings to doing house chores that adults should do. It was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

As someone who has gone through grief, reading about it from a child's perspective was even sadder, but it made me relate to the character more. Even if someone hasn't gone through grief, the author was able to convey the emotions and anxiety the characters were enduring. I like that the author showed how layered grief and trauma could affect people, from friends to family members, because it can be complex and messy.
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This novel is hard to find the words to describe. I was on the street team for this novel and I've read it twice now. It takes me on a roller coaster of emotions. I cannot begin to imagine losing my mother and all the angst that Morgan must've felt. The lemon drops were a nice surprise, and they have become a staple in my household. It's interesting how people can bond over something so simple.
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This was a little heart breaking read, but it was lovely. It is perfect read for kids. 
I loved it.
For me this is a 4 stars read.
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As the main character, Morgan was perfect. Her voice was something that I found myself relating to and wanting to read more of but at the same time the right age for the book. Something true for all the characters, they all felt that they were the age they were. Janie and Budge felt like annoying younger siblings while Morgan, Keilani, Mackelle, and Hrishi all felt like they were twelve. All the characters had wonderful depths to them and I might've gotten very emotional when I read the scene between Morgan and her Dad as it was jsut perfect. These characters were jsut wonderful and I really loved how they developed too. 

The plot was well handled but the main driving force of this book was the characters and their reactions to the death of Eve, Morgan's mother. Reaching the height of Morgan's both physical and mental journey that happens in the latter half of the story. The dual timelines simply labeled before and after helped bring clarity to the narrative as well as providing a nice contrast up until they ultimately collided into now at the end of the book. It was emotional in all the right places whilst being fun in others and whilst I only cried once throughout, it did being me to tears on several other occasions. A beautiful story that I honestly think all ages could learn from.

The writing that tied it all together was brilliant. As I have already mentioned the characters were perfectly written and the story well crafted and emotional. If I was a bit unsure of this book at the beginning I was completely sold by the end of it. This book was simply wonderful.
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Lemon Drop Falls is touching and moving middle grade fiction that revolves around 12 yrs old Morgan learning to live life after her mother’s death. The story is about coping with loss and grief, new transition in life, friendship, anxiety, family, and hope.

Writing is beautiful, emotive, and steady paced. The story is written in first person narrative from Morgan’s POV with ‘After’ and ‘Before’ chapters which works really well telling readers how Morgan’s life was with her mother and how her mother’s death changed her and her life. It made Morgan’s voice more realistic and easy to root for. Setting of Capital Reef and hiking trails is amazing and vividly written.

Story started with after chapter, how Morgan is managing her life and her siblings after her mother’s death, compromises she makes to keep her promise with her mother, ‘be brave and keep and family happy’. It isn’t easy for her with loss of mother, problems with her best friends that drifted them apart, boy problem, dad who kind of lived in fog of his own grief and now only breadwinner to whom she cannot share her feelings. But when after few months when her father takes family on their regular summer camping trip to Capital Reef, all Morgan’s efforts to keep her promise with her mother seem to fall apart.

It was interesting to read what happened with her best friends, why they are not there to support her, why her father insisted on family camping all of sudden, why she stopped talking about her feelings with him, what made her go on a hike alone, and how the trail will change her.

Every aspect of this book is so well written. This is mainly character driven story but there is so much in the story. All characters are realistic and relatable. I loved the way the author gave them all depth and layers. They all acted as per their age, they all struggled through things that happen at a certain age along with the drastic change that comes with loss of loved ones.

Morgan is amazing main character with anxiety and often have panic attacks. She is brave, loyal, lovely, and strong charatcer. I loved seeing how she handled her siblings alone at home, understood her father’s late arrival at home, kept dinner ready and house clean, compromised soccer that she loved by not going to tryouts that was just after her mother’s death and at the same time hurting so much with loss of mother and also possible end of the friendship.

I could understand her feelings, how it feels when friendship drifts apart and on top of all her constant fear she might fail to keep promise to her mother. It sure is a lot for 12 yr old with so much responsibilities that a fully functioning adult often struggles and fails to handle. Before chapters gave her character more depth and loved how she learn to deal with all problems in her life during her hike, learned to share her feelings again with her father, understood that her mom still lives within her and her family, and took one step after another towards happiness and love.

I loved knowing Mongan’s mother, her ABC planning that kept her work and life organized with three kids, and her lemon drops talk time which is a fantastic idea to discuss things with family, let out all feelings and help the family deal with whatever problem they face. She was amazing and I also loved what she said about her plans in climax and I totally agree with her.

I liked how through Morgan’s best friends- Keilani and Hrishi, author talked about the transition to junior high and discussed things like- shift from training bras to actual bra, body growth, new friend trying to enter the close-knit circle of best friends and how that bring jealousy and shift in friendship, crush and boy problem.

I enjoyed reading about Morgan’s younger siblings who miss their mother and don’t like elder sister trying to take control of things that so far their mother did and yet they have their innocence, fun, and adventure like kids at their age who don’t dwell on loss even though they feel it.

I loved Morgan’s father. He is very different from her mother. I could understand him most maybe as a parent. I could see how difficult it might be to juggle things and keep his family together and financially stable alone with guilt of not having enough time for kids who lost their mother. I loved the way he shook off the grief, took step to unburden Morgan, found a way to take step forward and how he tried to talk about his wife with his kids during their camping. It was interesting to read his perspective in last few chapters.

Tone of the story is heavy and serious because of its theme and plot. There are only few lighter moments but author kept the main plot in center which didn’t exactly give enough breathing space from the heaviness but I think I wouldn’t change that as it also made story realistic and relatable.

Climax is fantastic with Morgan discovering different side of her mother she didn’t know and how that helped her getting over grief and idea of failing to keep her promise with her mother. I loved the message from the story in this part about life’s uncertainty, things about planning, how if one plan fails take the fall and rebounce to new plan in life, sharing feelings with loved ones, forgiveness and adjust with changes in life and sit back to see how it’s taking shape. Morgan’s talk with her father just before end brought tears in my eyes. It is my most favorite moment in entire book.

End is perfect. It doesn’t promise the entire happiness which one can never have with loss of loved ones but shows to take one step after another towards happiness and live life filling the gap left by loss with memories and loved ones still around.

Overall, Lemon Drop Falls is touching, sensitive, realistic, relatable, and beautifully written middle grade fiction.

I highly recommend this if you like,
story about loss and grief
character dealing with anxiety
vulnerable adults in middle grade story
realistic and relatable situations
importance of discussing heavy topic and feelings
transition to junior high and what it means for person of this age
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I’m always a little nervous when it comes to books about kids having to be the grownup when a parent passes, but this one hit all the right spots. At times beautiful and at times just sad, Lemon Drop Falls would be a great resource for kids dealing with grief without it feeling overly preachy or prescribed. Morgan is a relatable protagonist, and you totally understand why she has to run away to find herself. The book is careful to walk that line and not making running away sound like a good thing, but also explains why Morgan feels like it’s the choice she had to make.

As a middle-grade book, the content is age-appropriate and should help kids have a way to talk about hard things in their lives.
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Brave the sour to taste the sweet. Morgan is devastated by her mother’s sudden death. Before, Mom’s amazing organizational skills kept the family on track, and her bowl of lemon drops was always on hand to make difficult conversations easy, turning life’s sour into sweet. After, there’s no one to help Morgan navigate her new role caring for her younger siblings, her worries about starting junior high, and her increasingly confusing friendships.
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Thank you Jolly Fish Press for an eARC via NetGalley for an honest review. 
4/5 stars

CWs: death of a parent, grief, anxiety, panic attacks

This was a really emotional read. A lot of it was quite sad, which was understandable given the main plot, but it was also a story about learning to move on from tragedy and let yourself be happy and feel not fine all the time. I thought the author did an excellent job of conveying Morgan’s thoughts and emotions, and Morgan was a very realistic character. I was able to relate to how she was feeling, and I was really rooting for her throughout the story. 
The story follows 12-year-old Morgan in 2 timelines. There’s the Before timeline and the After timeline. I thought the dual timelines were well executed, and the Before timeline really impacted the emotional aspect of the book because we got to see just how much Morgan’s life had changed after the death of her mom. Her mom’s death is completely unexpected, and it completely changes Morgan’s world. Suddenly she’s watching her 2 younger siblings and acting like their parent while trying to hold her emotions inside and convince her dad that everything is totally fine. 
Morgan’s emotional journey was enthralling, and I liked that the author didn’t shy away from showing her panic attacks, or the growing anxiety over things that hadn’t previously bothered her. 
The pacing was a bit slow, but this is a character driven story so it worked out well. I thought it was fitting to show Morgan’s character growth. The writing style was super easy to read, and I think younger readers will be able to relate to Morgan’s voice.
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𝐓𝐈𝐓𝐋𝐄: 𝐋𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐫𝐨𝐩 𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐬 ⁣
𝐀𝐔𝐓𝐇𝐎𝐑: 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐤⁣
𝐏𝐔𝐁 𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄: 𝟎𝟐.𝟏𝟒.𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐 ⁣
𝐓𝐨𝐩 𝟓 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐤 𝐮𝐩 𝐋𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐫𝐨𝐩 𝐅𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐬:⁣
🍋 Perfect read for young readers ⁣
🍋 Recommended for those who are going through loss of a loved one⁣
🍋 Bittersweet but a very hopeful read ⁣
🍋 Inspiring story about strength and resilience ⁣
🍋 A great book for young readers experiencing anxiety / mental health issues
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4.5 stars.

Lemon Drop Falls is an incredibly powerful middle grade novel about a 12 year old girl struggling to survive after the unexpected death of her mother. It has major themes of anxiety, loss, friendships, and grief, so though I would highly recommend this book, I do so with the caveat that you should expect to be emotionally devastated at times, particularly towards the end of the book. (I know I was a hot crying mess towards the end).

There are so many important messages that Heather Clark managed to get across in this novel, but I think the one I loved the most was the emphasis on how a good relationship must involve healthy and open communication. The title and base plot of the story comes from Clark’s own family tradition of sharing “lemon drops”, i.e. difficult conversations with each other that may start out sour, but will ultimately end up sweet. I absolutely loved this idea and can imagine that by adding literal lemon drops to the mix, a good amount of children would probably enjoy it as well! The only way that we, as people, can learn to live harmoniously with each other is if we’re allowed the space to share our experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Lemon Drop Falls does an excellent job at expressing this message.

Back when I was in high school, I read the Christian novel The Shack, a story about one man’s journey to overcome the grief that threatens to drown him after his young daughter goes missing. Lemon Drop Falls had a very similar feeling to it but without the religious undertones. Yes, this is a story about grief and loss, but it’s also a story about perseverance, friendships, and healing.
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A tender, touching, and in-depth portrayal of grief, the themes of the present section seem tighter and wrapped up better while the friendship storyline, although certainly still relatable, was somewhat less impactful, a bit more shallow, and felt as if it trailed off or was forced to wrap up more quickly. For readers who are looking for something similar to The Line Tender or The Thing about Jellyfish.
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First off I want to say a big thank you to TBR Tours & Beyond  for allowing me a place on this tour and to the wonderful Publishers for sending me a Netgalley Arc.

Lemon Drop Falls tells the story of Morgan Bell who at the age of 12 is on the cusp of being a teenager who should be looking forward ends up having her life and what she knows in one single event.  To show this each chapter was either before or after and you got to see and feel .  These chapters were short and that really gave that something else to this story and I cannot believe this is Heather's first book.

I also liked that we saw Morgan's friends even though at times like Morgan question their friendship especially in certain points in the story.    For me the little stars of the book who did lighten things for Morgan and her Dad were her younger siblings Budge and Janie.  I would suffice to say it would be great for a revisit to see how everyone is getting on.

I loved how Heather tackled  Anxiety she made it feel so real as a sufferer myself Heather  was on the money and showed that anyone could suffer with it.    I also loved the descriptions of the trails they were climbing  made me want to go camping even though I can't stand it.

This book made me ugly cry and boy did I cry and it was not a pretty sight I can assure you and there are not many books can make me do that so I know Lemon Drop  Falls need to be read by everybody should read it.  I had to have a massive lie down afterwards and had a kind of a book hangover as this book has sat with me for a couple of days.  For these reasons I had to give it 5 stars
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Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Lemon Drop Falls

Author: Heather Clark

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: POC side characters

Recommended For...: middle grade readers, contemporary, mental health, camping, grief processing

Publication Date: February 14, 2022

Genre: MG Contemporary

Age Relevance: 10+ (parental death, grief, depression, anxiety, panic attack, parentification, trauma)

Explanation of Above: The book focuses on the MC who witnessed her mother’s death, which is detailed later in the book. The book discusses depression, anxiety, and shows three panic attacks. The book also goes into detail about trauma and grief. There is also partification shown in the book, in which the MC is forced to take on a parent role around her younger siblings and father.

Publisher: North Star Editions

Pages: 256

Synopsis: Morgan is devastated by her mother’s sudden death. Before, Mom’s amazing organizational skills kept the family on track, and her bowl of lemon drops was always on hand to make difficult conversations easy, turning life’s sour into sweet. After, there’s no one to help Morgan navigate her new role caring for her younger siblings, her worries about starting junior high, and her increasingly confusing friendships. All she can do is try to fulfill her mother’s final request: Keep them safe, Morgan. Be brave for them. Help them be happy.

When Dad insists on taking the family on their regular summer camping trip, and Morgan’s efforts to keep her promise to Mom seem doomed to fail, Morgan’s anxiety spirals into a panic attack, and Dad treats her like she’s impossibly broken. Unable to share her fears and needs with Dad, and desperate to prove she’s got the strength to hold the family together, Morgan sets off alone to hike a flooding canyon trail. But somewhere on that lonely and dangerous journey, Morgan will encounter the truth about the final words her mother left her, the power in finding her own voice, and the possibility of new beginnings.

Review: I really liked this book! I loved how well the author described depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and grief. The book did well to discuss them in a sensitive manner and was very helpful to me in helping me with my anxiety, but also could be very helpful to younger readers to help them understand their own mental health and how to deal with big feelings and conflicting issues. The characters were well developed, the world building was well done, and the writing itself was amazing. I also loved the plot and wanted more and more as I went on.

The only issue I had with the book was one line that a side character said. The character stated something along the lines that boys and girls pair up, that’s what they do. The line wasn’t really challenged and the book didn’t contain any 2SLGBT+ pairings. While it’s not required that the book should have contained that, I felt like the line was a slight at 2SLGBT+ relationships and people. It’s not a big part of the book, but it made me pause and question the author as to why they would include that. The book is enjoyable otherwise, but if you’re reading this to your little one you just might want to be aware of that and to teach them better accordingly.

Verdict: I need a lemon drop to discuss my feelings of love on this book please =)
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CW for parental death and anxiety.

This was such a powerful read. Heather Clark really knows how to make the most of each word in this book, because even though it's only around 250 pages, it's so well written and I was able to really feel how Morgan was feeling and it's a very emotional read. This is such a beautiful story about grief and mental health and learning how to continue living, even after the death of a loved one. 

The only reason this is 4 instead of 5 stars is because while I did enjoy the dual timeline (before her mother's death and after) and how the conflict built up in each one, I felt that sometimes it was a little too choppy, as the chapters were pretty short (I love short chapters) and so it would go back and forth just a little too quickly for me. But this was really such a good read and I definitely recommend it.
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“Mom always said that difficult conversations were like lemon drops- sour at first, but soon becoming sweet, easier to handle.”

Before her tragic death, Morgan’s mother’s last request to her was “keep them safe, Morgan. Be brave for them. Help them be happy.” Living in a state of perpetual “plan B”, Morgan tries her best to keep it together for her father and her siblings, while also navigating her own challenges related to friendships, impending puberty, and her own grief. When her father deviates from the plan Morgan developed to instead take the family on their annual camping trip, everything that Morgan has been trying to hold together begins to unravel. (Full synopsis on next slide) 🍋

Lemondrop Falls is a powerful and moving middle grade novel about grief, loss, friendship, and family. Morgan is twelve, and in a story line that alternates between past and present, the reader starts to see the ways that her anxiety began to creep around the corners, even before losing her mom. Though primarily about the loss of a parent, this book is also about anticipating the transition into middle school, navigating changing friendships and the pressures of growing up a little faster than you’re ready to.

In addition to feeling so hard for Morgan as she navigates her pain, I loved the way that Morgan’s mother discussed parenting and discipline, and the way that the family created space to make initiating difficult conversations less vulnerable. I think I’ll be teaching the lemon drop method to some of my families. I appreciated the way her father utilized support from Morgan’s therapist, and the ways that the intersection between anxiety and grief was explored. This is a fantastic debut from Heather Clark that hit me in the way that my favorite (heart-wrenching) middle grade novels did when I was the target audience. Younger readers or readers with existing anxiety about parent death may need some support reading this one.
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Following her mother's death, junior higher Morgan feels the pressure to keep the family together.  Her mom asked her to take care of her siblings, and Morgan is determined to do just that.  But when her father spontaneously announces their family vacation, her anxiety transforms into a full-blown panic attack.  Determined to prove herself, Morgan sets off on a dangerous hike.  Along the way, she'll not only push her physical boundaries, but face her mother's memory as well.  Can she move past the sour to savor the sweet future?

Written in chapters alternating "Before" and "After," the author really gets to how Morgan's mother's death affected her.  Once I was in the rhythm of the writing, I really enjoyed this style of flashback.  It filled in a lot of the gaps of how Morgan came to her current understanding of the world.  Also the aspect of Morgan's mom being a life coach provided so many interesting life lessons.  Throughout the book, I came to realize that she was coaching Morgan into the next chapter of life.  Even though she was gone, she was still parenting Morgan.  So many life lessons where included in this book: working through grief, sharing emotions, allowing others to support us, and starting over.  Well suited for jr high and older, Lemon Drop Falls is a bitter sweet story of working through grief and healing as a family.  Great book for opening up conversation and sharing big emotions.

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
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Happy Publication Day!

I cried my eyes out while reading this book. I knew it would make me sad and break my heart when I got the ARC. But all the tears.... I wasn't expecting that.

All I am trying to say is that this book is really good. The writing, the themes it's representing, the realistic characters and the story. It all clicks. Just the perfect book which tells the story of a grieving family and a young character with anxiety. The book is written with sensitivity and understanding that I feel this book needs to be shared and read by the young and the adults.

Unlike most of the middle grade books, this book shows the vulnerable sides of adults. Adults do not know everything and we aren't perfect like how our kids see us when they are really young. 

The story is quite realistic and it explores what we can do in such situations. One of those books we bawl our eyes out because they are so real and relatable. 

Go for this book without thinking twice. But yes take your time while reading it. And also a certain headspace before picking it up.

*Be aware that the book deals with grief and anxiety in details.

Thank you, Flux, Jolly Fish Press for the advance reading copy.
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Morgan is having a bad summer.  Her mother died, she has to watch over her younger siblings and she has anxiety that is increasing with the need for everything to be perfect.  When her dad suggests they take their annual vacation to go hiking, Morgan does not want to do it.  Being a child, she loses the battle and off they go.  While on vacation, Morgan struggles with everything that has been going on in her life.
This book is told in a back and forth between "before" and "after" her mom's death.  Heather Clark uses this style perfectly to maintain two story lines with the same characters.  Throughout a good portion of the book, I had all the feels and my eyes were leaking to the point of barely being able to read the words.  The book, overall, has a positive outlook on coping with anxiety and dealing with grief.  
Many thanks to Net Galley and Jolly Fish Press for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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Lemon Drop Falls is a middle grades chapter book by debut author, Heather Clark.   Morgan's mom always had a plan for everything.  Except when she passes away unexpectedly she tells Morgan to make sure her younger siblings are looked after and are happy.  In this way she transfers the pressures she faced to her 12 year old daughter.  Morgan does everything in her power to take care of her younger siblings, who are quite a handful.  Whenever she gets in a bind, she thinks back to what her mom would do in that situation.  For example, when someone in the family had a tough problem, her mom would pull out the jar of lemon drops and they'd talk about it or just be together through the rough patch.  
Only now, there is no mom and Morgan feels like she's drowning.  Her father has always been used to her mom taking care of everything down to the last detail so he has no clue how to run their household.  It's up to Morgan to go without her plans for the summer soccer team and unsure of how to mend her fragile friendships before the new school year begins in a new middle school.  Each chapter of the story is either a flashback to before her mom passed away or the present where Morgan is trying her hardest to keep everything on track. When her dad suggests that they take a camping trip, Morgan's anxiety and stress overflow to where she is in danger.  
This important story is good for young people and teachers and parents to read to understand how OCD and anxiety can get worse if not treated.  I wish this book had been around when I was younger so I could better cope with changing friendships, puberty, and even grief.  I recommend this book for upper elementary students and middle school libraries.
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