Wednesday, July 03, 2019

A Storm of Strawberries

Cotterill, Jo. A Storm of Strawberries
March 5th 2019 by Yellow Jacket
Public library copy

Darby and her family live on a strawberry farm. Her older sister used to be very close to her, but as Darby is a tween and Kaydee is in high school, the two grow further apart. Her step father's son, Oliver, is very understanding and helps out a lot. Darby has Down Syndrome, and we see this reflected in her interests and behavior; for instance, she is very insistent that the yearly chocolate egg hunt happen as scheduled, even though her family is dealing with other issues. The business is struggling, and there are bad storms on the way. Not only does one of these damage a glass greenhouse, but the polytunnels also are in danger. Kaydee's friend, Lissa, is visiting for the weekend, so Darby is sad that the two of them are spending time together and excluding her. The bad weather continues, and Darby's mother becomes increasingly worried and agitated, but Darby is only concerned about the egg hunt. That is, until she sees Kaydee and Lissa kissing-- then she is concerned that Kaydee will spend even less time with her. Darby is instrumental in helping Kaydee when she goes out in the storm, and the family pulls together to weather the damage to the farm as well as the new information about Kaydee and Lissa.
Strengths: I was hoping for something that was a mix of Secrets, Blueberries, Brothers, Moose and Me and 14 Hollow Road, and this was pretty close. Darby was an interesting character, and I can't think of any other books narrated by a character with Down Syndrome. The sub plot with the sister was interesting, and the family reacted in a reasonable way. This is a British import, but didn't feel that way.
Weaknesses: I wish this had had more about strawberry farming and about the storm. Also, Darby's voice was a little inconsistent. A third person narrator might have been more successful.
What I really think: I may pass on purchase. This had elements that I liked, but didn't come together as a whole for me. My public library has it.
Ms. Yingling

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