Hello and welcome to my stop for The Honeys by Ryan La Sala. A huge thanks to #coloredpagestours and Scholastic for this chance and for the free copy!
Mars has always lived in his twin’s shadows, but when Caroline dies in an horrific way he’s ready to do anything to understand what happened, even coming back to Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy, a place full of memories, mostly bad for him and where his sister Caroline spent most of her time. To better understand her and devastated by grief, Mars decided to attend in her place. The bucolic place isn’t for him and his genderfluidity means he struggles to adhere to Aspen’s traditions and sexists separations, but when Mars starts to seek out his sister’s friend, the exclusive group called The Honeys for their beekeeping, everything changes. Even as he tries to piece memories of Caroline in Aspen, things start to get weirder and weirder. Mars starts to lose his own memories, peculiar things happen, people disappering and everything seems to involve the beautiful and terrifying Honeys.
WOW! Just…wow. This book left me reeling and speechless for days after I’ve read it. It’s absolutely peculiar, weird, but in a positive way and very surprising. I didn’t expecting things to turn out that way, at all.
First of all, the author did an outstanding job in describing Mars’ grief and pain, his strong bond with Caroline, made of love and missed chances, growing apart and regrets and the need to know her through her friends’ eyes, to feel again connected to his twin. His pain, his loss is fresh and painful to read, authentic and raw and I felt awfully involved in his story, his need to know why, to get a reason for his loss, even though sometimes there isn’t one. Mixing paranormal moments with camp’s activitities, Ryan La Sala wrote a brilliant, complex and lovely main character, whose genderfluidity means he’s often excluded by his political family expectations, fighting the camp’s sexism and separation and their toxic masculinity and homomisia.
It’s also brilliantly queer and I love the main character relationship with…SPOILERS! You’ll know soon enough!
The story is wonderfully written. There are quotes and scenes incredibly beautiful and rich, the setting, even though I’m definitely not a camp person, is evocative and it felt like being there with Mars, investigating The Honeys and the camp’s history, surrounded by heat, mysteries and nature. I truly loved reading this book. From the setting, the writing style, the characterization, the mystery itself, everything was compelling and thrilling and, with each twists, it kept surprising me, because I truly didn’t see some things coming, but that’s the truly beauty of it. My only “complaint” is that I wanted some things better developed and explained, but overall this book is great.
I can’t recommend it enough. It’s deliciously eerie and captivating and it will upend your reality.