January 05, 2022

#BookReview: Things That Grow by @MeredithGoldste

Synopsis: After her grandmother dies, a girl travels to different gardens to scatter her ashes, learning about life, love, and how to laugh again along the way.

When Lori’s Dorothy Parker–loving grandmother dies, Lori’s world is turned upside down. Grandma Sheryl was everything to Lori—and not just because Sheryl raised Lori when Lori’s mom got a job out of town. Now Lori’s mom is insisting on moving her away from her beloved Boston right before senior year. Desperate to stay for as long as possible, Lori insists on honoring her grandmother’s last request before she moves: to scatter Sheryl’s ashes near things that grow.

Along with her uncle Seth and Chris, best friend and love-of-her-life crush, Lori sets off on a road trip to visit her grandmother’s favorite gardens. Dodging forest bathers, scandalized volunteers, and angry homeowners, they come to terms with the shape of life after Grandma Sheryl. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but Lori might just find a way to move forward surrounded by the people she loves.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: Well this ripped out my heart.  This is a perfect book to just curl up with a blanket and a drink and a box of tissues. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-In the summer before her senior year of high school, Lori's world turns upside down when she loses her favorite person: her Dorothy Parker-enthusiast, retired English teacher, garden-loving Grandma Sheryl. Lori has lived with her grandmother since her mom spends much of her time bouncing from job to job. Her grandma's last wish? To be cremated and scattered near things that grow. Accompanied by her fun-loving writer uncle, Seth, and her best friend and object of her affection, Chris, Lori is determined to honor her grandmother by visiting all of her favorite gardens. Meanwhile, she tries to figure out a plan to stay in Massachusetts after her mom insists she move with her to Maryland for her senior year. Full of emotion and, at times, surprisingly humorous, this novel explores the devastating impact of loss and the different ways people are affected by grief. While serving up an honest depiction of loss, this novel provides the perfect balance between the serious and the lighthearted. The principal characters of Lori, Seth, and Chris are all well written, and their interactions with one another are genuine. Despite a lackluster conflict between Lori and Seth, it's interesting to see the characters develop throughout. While imperfect, Goldstein creates a memorable story with a massive amount of heart. Lori is white and Jewish, and Chris is Black. VERDICT A strong contender for those seeking meaningful stories about love, loss, and grief.-Amanda Harding, Elmwood Elem. Sch., Wauconda, ILĪ±(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


★ "Goldstein’s writing is lively and often hilarious...but it’s also sensitive in its exploration of character facets such as Lori’s reluctance to confess her romantic feelings to Chris, respectful in its treatment of Lori’s writing and Chris’ art, and genuinely poignant as the family grieves."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Full of emotion and, at times, surprisingly humorous, this novel explores the devastating impact of loss and the different ways people are affected by grief. While serving up an honest depiction of loss, this novel provides the perfect balance between the serious and the lighthearted." —School Library Journal

"Sharp wit and clever details pull this story out of the weeds of becoming just another grief narrative, and Goldstein’s writing blossoms in its portrayal of messy, complicated relationships....A charming story that promises to delight."—Kirkus

"Goldstein’s latest (Chemistry Lessons, 2018) offers doses of humor amid a story that explores grief and growth…. Readers with an interest in complicated relationships, grief, and contemporary stories of the heart... will cherish Things That Grow.”—Booklist

"Never has a book about scattering ashes been so full of life! Goldstein tackles grief with a sense of humor that will make you appreciate being alive—and also haunt you with the knowledge that there are human cremains lurking in every baseball stadium ever." —Gabby Noone, best-selling author of Layoverland

"A tender story about family, love, and the beauty of the impermanent. Thing That Grow will tug at your heartstrings (and make you want to take a road trip through New England.)" —Goldy Moldavsky, author of Kill The Boy BandNo Good Deed, and The Mary Shelley Club

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