Like the one I finished today. "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. It was a popular book club choice when it came out a few years ago, but of course, it's been languishing on my TBR pile until now. It's about an eighteen-year-old girl who's a product of the foster system as she gets emancipated from the program. She's antisocial, ill-educated, and angry. All she cares about are flowers and the meanings they hold, as she was taught by one of her foster mothers. She finds work with a florist, but being on her own is hard. The story alternates between what is going on now in her life and when she was ten and living with the woman who taught her everything about flowers.
I'll admit, I almost gave up on the book after the first couple chapters. I don't like reading about excessively angry people, especially when they seem so willfully self-destructive like Victoria did. But I stuck with it and before I knew it, I was sucked into her story. She ends up running into a boy from her past and their budding relationship was so delicately wrought that I found myself holding my breath in their scenes. This relationship was what kept me into the story, especially as the whole thing began to unravel. Victoria was a very difficult character for me to care about in general, for the very reasons I almost gave up on it.
But when I finished it? I was crying. I don't think it's indicative of the book's skill, though. Instead, it triggered one of my issues--that of abandonment--and I pretty much lost it.
Was it a great book? Not really. But I liked the author's voice, and I adored a lot of her secondary characters. I'd probably give it a solid B if pressed.