Cover Image: Flowerheart


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Member Reviews

Clara Lucas's magic is uncontrollable. 

That's why the magical council threatened to bind her magic. When her magic causes poisonous flowers to grow in her father's chest, she seeks help from her childhood best friend, Xavier. Xavier is from a long line of successful healers but hasn't spoken to Clara in five years. Knowing Clara is desperate, he asks for the unthinkable from Clara if he takes her as an apprentice.

As the two rekindle their friendship. Clara realizes Xavier has a few dark secrets. 

As Clara hones her magic, she learns more about an illegal potion circling her town called Euphoria. It's intended to cure depression, but it has serious negative consequences. 

So to throw in a few buzzwords: slow burn. cottagecore. fantasy. romance. Yes, please!

It took me a while to get invested in Flowerheart, but I was hooked once I passed the 30% mark. I was also happy to see all of the positive queer representation in the book! The author did an excellent job of including real-world issues, like depression, and putting them in a magical setting. I didn't expect to feel this emotional over this book, but here I am.

I recommend Flowerheart to people who want a cozy fantasy that still packs an emotional punch.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTeen for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book has been described as a cozy cottagecore fantasy, and it was definitely that. Clara overcame insecurity and shame to find confidence and self-love with the help of her childhood friend, someone who only wanted to help people but made mistakes and was punished instead. I’d love to be able to read on about Clara and Xavier’s endeavors, if they could change the council, how they succeed in helping people with melancholy. A lovely, heartbreaking, and heartwarming book.
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I was really disappointed by this one. I wanted to love this a lot - especially after reading Bakewell's previous middle grade novel. I thought it was such an enchanting story and perfect for young readers. 

I was stoked about Flowerheart - Bakewell's cottagecore YA debut couldn't let me down, right? Well, I was unfortunately wrong. First of all, this read way too middle grade for me, and I think this is a prime example of why YA can be so frustrating, and why we need to recognize New Adult as a classification. The point is, the prose and the characters felt really juvenile. This would likely be more successful categorized as a middle grade book. 

With that said, I think I would have enjoyed reading it more if I were expecting a middle grade book. This definitely reminded me of some of my favorites, like Dreams Lie Beneath, A Far Wilder Magic, and Six Crimson Cranes, but it felt one-dimensional and flat compared to these nuanced works. The concept of the magic as a metaphor for anxiety/mental health/self-care was interesting as well, but it was super transparent. Again, a middle grade reader would've gotten more out of this book, especially the lessons. 

Thanks to netgalley and harper collins for this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I need this to be a studio ghibli movie immediately… this was the most whimsical beautiful heartwarming fantasy romance 💗💗
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I absolutely ADORED this book.  It gives you feelings of such elation, like you immediately know that no matter what happens in the end it will be okay. This is very cosy fantasy with low stakes, most of the stakes in it come from own self worth battles, fighting that voice inside your head that says you aren't good enough.  Just some mild injuries involved, but when your magic system has to essentially do with being a healer, a few cuts and bruises are expected.

There is so many topics touch upon in this book, stemming from transgender characters, same sex love, depression, anxiety.  The magic system is so delightful.  This book has SOLID series potential but can also work well as just a stand a lone.  Clara has what everyone has decided to tell her untameable magic and she is given a choice at the beginning of the book to either essentially lose some of it and be painful to cast or lose it all entirely.  Clara unintentionally curses her father when she lays a hand on him while she was upset from the choices the council gave her.  They in turn allow her more time with her magic so she can learn how to cast a blessing to cure her father.

Flowerheart is a cottage-core fantasy romance (light on the romance, but love is still involved.)  The character development is immaculate. You see so much growth in character development and not just from our main character.
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An adorable cosy fantasy, but with slightly higher (personal) stakes than some. The world isn’t going to end in Flowerheart, but Clara’s might. 

Clara has never been able to control her magic. She’s had so many teachers, tried so many things, and it still evades her. When she should be preparing to be declared a magical practitioner, instead she’s approached by the council with two choices: have her magic limited, or have it removed entirely. Stricken by the choice, Clara accidentally curses her father. The only one able to remove it, the council agree to wait and give her the opportunity to bless him before they act, and the man she hasn’t spoken to for years, who was her childhood best friend, steps in to volunteer to help her. But not all is as it appears. 

I adored Flowerheart. Despite the personal stakes for Clara it felt very cosy and was a super easy read. I found myself absolutely whizzing through the book and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. 

The world and Clara’s story are so intriguing I feel like this could easily have been expanded into a series, but it’s a solid standalone, and while I wouldn’t be disappointed to see more about Clara’s mother and Euphoria in particular, it doesn’t feel like it’s missing anything. 

The plot was pacy and interesting, the characters were loveable and felt very real in their emotions and reactions. I felt so sorry for Clara fighting her magic, and could completely understand why she would feel her life would be easier without it. The magic system was fascinating, and I would love to know how it works for others - do they also hear their magic speaking to them (this is mentioned by Xavier), is everyone’s magic a negative personification? I need to know!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Flowerheart, and will definitely look out for more books by the author in the future.
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I LOVED this book. It was so beautifully written that it is hard to explain. The story was attention grabbing from the beginning and I thought the pacing was well done. I really felt the wonderful relationship between Clara and her father. I also enjoyed the rediscovered friendship between Xavier and Clara that was so sweet and delicate. It brought me joy to see different queer representation in this book and it weren't explained- they just were!. I also felt that I learned the lesson of disliking a system, but accepting its purpose and still being a part of it to work towards making the changes you want to see. This book truly delivered everything it was advertising and more. This book was everything. 

Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollin Children's Books for this eARC. All opinions are my own.
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Flowerheart was really lovely - in addition to the prose being so beautiful, the imagery being so alive, the story itself was really beautiful. Clara's story is one of magic and triumph, of learning to love yourself for everything you are so that you can love the people around you. We see her grow, we see her make peace with her past, we see her start to treat her magic as something more than just a burden. There are clear parallels to mental health that felt so right for the targeted age group this story is for and I appreciated that it featured a diverse cast of characters and just the right amount of romance to tie a bow on the whole thing. I can't wait to share this with my students!
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Unfortunately, this book was just... kinda boring for me. I guess I expected more out of it. I'm not sure whether it was the lack of any real conflict here or just the way that the story was presented that bored me so much. I'm leaning toward the latter because I have enjoyed some low-stakes, relaxing reads in my time. They just had better writing.

As a protagonist, Clara is very promising. I enjoyed her magic immensely, and I loved the parallels between it and her anxiety. Her love interest, Xavier, however, didn't have much to recommend him to me. He didn't strike me as a strong person at all, and I get the feeling that, if he and Clara stay together, she'll inevitably end up in the role of comforter and cheerleader for the entirety of their relationship. I don't know about the majority of readers, but to me this just sounds exhausting. The writing style felt incredibly surface-level, almost dismissive. Bakewell presented all these really cool ideas like magic shops and beautiful towns with apothecaries and fields of flowers, but none of it felt deep or real. I didn't get a solid sense of place from this book, which is unfortunate because again, the world had so many promising ideas introduced that were never explored. The graduation scene was quite good, and overall I like the idea of the book. The execution was just lacking on this one for me.

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTeen for this eARC for review! 
5000/5 stars!

This book was such a warm hug and toasty mug of tea on a rainy sad day, knowing that everything may be bad but that it would be okay. I don't think I've ever read a book like it!
Firstly, what an absolutely BEAUTIFUL magic system! I absolutely loved getting the snippets of what each flower was and what their meaning was, and seeing how it correlated with Clara's feelings as she warred against her magic and her own anxieties. I just wanted to hug her so badly!! Seeing how her magic's inner voice was so evil and intrusive, trying to convince her of being a failure and a bad person was such a vivid comparison to one's own inner voice when battling anxiety and depression in real life. The way Catherine portrayed and wove mental health issues into the story and the story's society itself was beautiful and so very needed. Seeing Clara grow throughout the book with sweet sugar muffin Xavier's help, coming not only into her power but also into herself as a person and truly believing in herself was perfect. Speaking of cinnamon roll baby Xavier, I loved having a friends-to-distant-to-friends/allies-to lovers develop was so heartwarming and very refreshing in a world of YA where "enemies-to-lovers" is very popular (and rightfully so, don't get me wrong!). Their relationship development was so tender, heartfelt, and so sweet seeing them help each other. X was such a complex "antagonist" without actually being an evil antagonist, he was just a person who was trying to do the best for those he loved and his community as a whole, but suffered in the process and faced grave consequences. Although I'm sad that he lost his magic, it was beautifully fitting that he was still able to do what he loved best alongside his love. 
I felt like even though this book was a warm hug and so comforting, there was also SO MUCH happening constantly and it was so well done! I didn't want to put the book down. Everything that was introduced into the plot line truly felt well thought out and timed just right in the story to really convey the gravity and emotion of the situations occurring. Although I wish we got more of Clara and Xavier in more books, everything wrapped up so nicely without being too quick or too clean, and there was nothing inserted to the story that was unnecessary. For me, I'm actually glad that Clara's "evil" mother was more of a plot guide/device instead of the entire story/plot being centered around her being evil and with evil plans. It was nice to have both sides with the council and the outcast coven portraying what they think is right. Most importantly, PAPA IS PERFECT AND MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS!!! I couldn't help but picture Belle's sweet papa from Beauty & the Beast. Their relationship was so pure and loving, and I loved getting even small snippets of their time together while Clara was growing up. 
Another thing Catherine handled beautifully, was the inclusion of gender identity and sexuality in both her characters and their respective world/magic system. It's so poignant and equally important that this is continually included in YA stories, so that kids see that it's truly okay to be yourself and that the way you feel about yourself and others is acceptable and WILL be normalized by those who truly care about them and respect them!
In essence: this was absolutely immaculate and I will not accept any opinions that state otherwise, haha!
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Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Teen for the E-Arc!

A beautiful debut. It's perfect for fans of Margaret Rogerson and Allison Saft. 

Flowerheart is a cottagecore fantasy romance that had me completely immersed in its pages. The vibes in this book are something else. There's magic in the pages of Flowerheart and that is a great point in favor of Catherine's pen. Although it is a world inspired by the Victorian era, we found a world that is queernormative. It makes me very happy to find more and more queer fantasy books set in worlds without any prejudice towards queer people. 

I loved Clara, she is a character that grows a lot throughout the book. Also, this book has bisexual rep and here we love a bi main character. 

If you like flowers, teenage angst, romance, discussions of mental health and a beautiful and magic setting you need to give this book a try.
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Flowerheart is a YA cottage core fantasy romance novel. It follows Clara who is a witch with very unruly magic. After she accidentally curses her father she seeks out the help of Xavier who was her childhood best friend. Clara will do anything to save her father including giving up her magic. I was initially drawn in to this book because I love YA and fantasy romance and the cover is so cute. When I saw it described as a cottagecore fantasy I was even more intrigued because it sounded cozy and fun. Unfortunately, I did not love this book as much as I expected. I do think it does a good job with the cottagecore vibe and I loved all the flowers. It was cool that Clara produced specific flowers based on her emotions. I also liked the discussion of sadness and depression. My biggest issue with this book is how young it read. It read very much like a middle grade book to me. It’s not that big of a deal except it’s marketed as YA so that’s what I expected but did not see. I also with there was more world building because not much was explained. Overall this is a cute, cozy, and quick read and I would recommend it to a younger audience. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for a review!
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Cottagecore and howls moving castle inspired is all one needs to know about this title. It delivers what it promises! Super cute and a fun quick read with some romance in there as well. Tons of magic and great characters! A perfect book to add to your spring to be read list.
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The moment I saw this cover, I knew I had to read it! I’ve also already preordered it because I need that physical copy! I’m so grateful I got to read it early 🥰 

This story follows Clara has magic that she does not seem to be able to control, and that can be dangerous and volatile at times. One evening, she accidentally curses her father. She turns to her childhood friend Xavier Morwyn for help to heal her father, but he tells her only SHE can break the curse with a blessing. Clara does not know how to do that with her uncontrollable magic, and so Xavier and Clara make a bargain, with a high price, for Xavier to help teach her how to control her magic and perform the blessing to save her father. 

This was such a sweet read. There is definitely some darkness to the story, actually a lot more than I expected, but I loved the sweet friends to lovers slow burn romance, the world seemed so fantastical and lush to me, and the characters are lovely. It at times would remind me of Howl’s Moving Castle(which everyone should know by now is my favorite book ever!) with the teleportation through doors, the timeline of this world, and a few other little things. 

Clara is a tough, vocal, and yet sensitive gal. She’s had this uncontrollable magic for so long, and she’s never allowed it to deter her from helping people. I admire her and her determination to learn to control her magic no matter what. I actually found it a bit endearing whenever flowers would bloom with a particular meaning during the moment or situation she was in. I would love if flowers just bloomed around me 😂 

And then Xavier is this broody, shy magician who is just so sweet. I just loved his slightly bumbling self the moment he stepped onto the page. And he has such a big secret! 

4.5 ⭐️ mainly because of a decision that was made that effected someone that I personally didn’t think was fair and others didn’t seem to care or try hard enough to change that decision. 

Aside from that little disagreement, I highly recommend this book! I received a free digital copy via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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As delightful as sipping a mug of hot tea on a cool spring evening. I love all things cozy, and the atmosphere of this cottage-core fantasy had me constantly wanting to pick it up to read. The sweet friends-to-strangers-to-lovers romance will warm your heart. I enjoyed learning about the magic system and all the flowers. The storyline was engaging and enjoyable, and it was a nice contrast to other action-packed fantasies out there.
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Flowerheart is the type of book that pulls you in immediately. The magical world, beautiful writing, and tender characters all welcome you in from the start and make it impossible to stop reading. If you want a book that will keep you on edge while never making you feel too anxious, this is the book for you!
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This book was soo sweet! I grew found of the two main characters. The love interested is definitely Howl coded. I'll be adding this to my cottage core/cozy fantasy recs list.
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Flowerheart is a beautiful YA fantasy novel that warmed me with its cottagecore feel and sweet slow-burn romance and surprised me (in the best way) with its depth and deeper meaning. The story follows a young witch, Clara Lucas, who is plagued by her wild, unbridled magic. Unable to tame it, Clara mistakenly hurts the person she loves most – her father – and turns to an estranged childhood friend, Xavier Morwyn, to help save him. Xavier exacts a steep price in return, and as he and Clara slowly rekindle their bond and she works to control her magic, she begins to uncover his dark and dangerous secrets. Not only does Clara's magic serve as an allegory for anxiety, the book delicately explores the subject of depression and the dangers of drug use. Those suffering from self-doubt, anxiety, and/or a critical inner voice will deeply relate to Clara and her story. This book is inspiring, important, and filled with lovely imagery that immerses the reader in a charming world full of magic and flowers.
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I received a digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I just became aware of the term "cozy fantasy," and it turns out that this is a subgenre of book that I really enjoy. Bakewell's YA novel fits right into this category (and I would quibble with the term YA, because these characters read several years older than they are, I think). I love the magic system, I love the characters, I love the narrative arc of this story. This was just delightful, perfect for a quick read between longer, heavier books.
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This is such a fast-paced, whimsical, and magical read. Flowerheart is full of love and heart, with a unique magic system and a loveable protagonist.

Flowerheart follows Clara, who wants nothing more than to tame her magic and become a full-fledged witch. But when her uncontrollable magic makes flowers grow in her father's chest, slowly poisoning him, she will do whatever it takes to heal him--even if that means striking a bargain with her old best friend, Xavier, who is now nothing more than a brooding stranger. As Xavier opens himself up to her once more and teaches Clara how to control her magic, she discovers he hides a secret that will change everything for the both of them.

If you're looking for a fast-paced read with a beautiful, magical world, than I highly suggest reading Flowerheart. The plot is simple and wholesome, a big change from the dark, heavily built fantasy worlds we're used to (which also have their place and I love), but I think Flowerheart is a breath of fresh air in that sense. With a focus on family, friendship, learning to love yourself and to be strong I think Flowerheart is a great read for anyone wanting a little escape.
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