Publication Date: March 28, 2011
Date I Finished: September 10, 2011
From: Review Copy from Author
Matt is in serious danger on the streets of Chicago after he makes a bad decision. His mom sends him away to Aunt LeeNell, but South Texas is the last place Matt wants to be for the summer. He has to survive the local toughs while he somehow finds a way to get back home. Things begin to look up when he meets Maria. That only leads to more trouble, as her brothers despise Anglos. Matt does his best to dodge trouble and get to know Maria. He meets an eccentric beekeeper, who lives out in the mesquite brush, and gets his first job helping out the old man. Matt is about to learn far more about life than he imagines in a summer that changes him forever.
First of all I have to say that this is not the kind of book that I usually read but when I got the chance to review it I thought I would give it a go anyway.
I have very mixed feelings about this book, there were parts I loved and parts that made me a little bored and have to put the book down.
Matt's life has always been very complicated. With no father and his brother being killed that leaves him to look after him Mom and finds himself getting involved in gangs as a way for some quick cash. Matt suddenly gets shipped off to South Texas to live with his Aunt and finds himself caught in a fight with locals, getting friendly with the local Latina girl Maria and meeting the strange but kind bee-keeper Buzz. Getting a summer job working on the bee farm with Buzz, Matt finds him learning a lot, not only about Bees but about life and the choices he can make to take control of his own life.
I really enjoyed certain parts of the book. At the beginning it reminded me a little of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles in the sense that the main is in a dangerous situation as a member of a gang not be choice but by necessity for looking after his family. I thought this story had a lot of promise. However I am very sad to say I was disappointed once Matt got moved to South Texas I started getting a little bored and wondering when something more was going to happen in the story. When Matt met the lovely Maria, I started to enjoy it more. Everyone who knows me knows I am a sucked for a love story and I felt promise that some romance was going to come into the story and it did. To a certain extent. I loved the parts where Matt and Maria were together and you could see their relationship building. There were a lot of times where you would go chapters without Maria being mentioned and it focussed on Matt learning to look after bees. This is the part of the book I really didn't enjoy. i got a little bored and was desperate to get back to the love story.
I also enjoyed seeing Matt and Buzz's friendship developing. Buzz is the reason I kept reading to be honest. I really like him. He's such a great character, he was strong and wise and could teach Matt so much about life if only he was willing to listen and to learn.
After finishing the book I was so torn, whether to give it 2 or 3 stars. I did enjoy certain parts of the book and for this reason really wanted to give it 3 stars but after sitting and thinking about it there was a lot of the book where I felt bored and it wasn't until the last 4/5 chapters that I really started to like the book more.
The storyline is a great idea and I did enjoy finding out what happened but I would like the book to focus more on the romance aspect of it.