Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Springsweet

The Springsweet - Saundra Mitchell Also appears on my blog, The YA Kitten! I received an ARC of this book via Amazon Vine.After the death of her fiance Thomas and her cousin Amelia, Zora Stewart is ready to get away from Baltimore. All it takes is one unexpected kiss at a party and she's off for the Oklahoma Territory to live with her aunt Birdie and younger cousin Louella until she "comes to her senses." While she is there, she discovers she has the power to sense the location of water, a useful power in such dry lands. In addition to her new gift, two men trouble her. Emerson Birch is regarded by West Glory as bad news, but Zora doesn't see what's wrong with him. Meanwhile, Theo de la Croix has made his way out to West Glory to court Zora, but she isn't interested like everyone wants her to be.I didn't always like the choices Zora made (surely there was another way to convince her mother to let her go elsewhere), but she wasn't bad as far as YA heroines go. At the very least, she didn't make me want to choke her on a regular basis like some other heroines I've encountered did. Zora's easy adaptation to the constant work in the country after growing up in the city of Baltimore was a little strange; she never struck me in this book or its prequel The Vespertine as the type to easily adapt.The Springsweet is short and sweet at 288 pages (well, it's short for me) and that challenges it to characterize everyone and get the plot moving more quickly than other novels while still making it feel natural. Does this book meet that challenge? It felt a little bit rushed, like it could have used another fifty pages or so to develop everything. Aunt Birdie's quiet characterization was a high point; my inability to understand what Zora sees in Emerson is on the lower end of the spectrum.Now then, a quick summary of the novel: A girl leaves home, temporarily moving to another city and taking residence with her aunt and cousin. One of her relatives, who isn't much older than herself, causes the heroine to experience some personal growth, but she discovers something: she has a magical power. The people all love her and her gift at first, but they threaten to turn on her when her gift no longer gives them good fortune. Meanwhile, our heroine is trapped in a love triangle. One man is a good, upstanding man proper society is pushing her toward; the other is a bad boy everyone disapproves of, but she can't stay away from him--and he has a power just like she does.What I just wrote is an adequate summary of both The Vespertine and The Springsweet. It feels like I've read the same book twice with the names and settings changed and I don't like feeling that way. I expected Zora's narrative voice to be unlike Amelia's because they were such different characters, but I can't tell the difference between them.The writing remains one of my favorite qualities of the novel. There's something about the way it tosses around metaphors and orders its syntax that makes me have an especially nerdy moment. I wish I had more to say there because of how much I like it, but that suffices and I'm not going to drag it out. Two climactic scenes one after another at the end off the novel ended up having two very different effects on me. One of them had me reading like it would have killed me not to. The other garnered this reaction from me: "Oh. Okay then." Considering that second climax involved someone getting murdered, this is not a good reaction for it to bring out of me.Fans of The Vespertine will enjoy the return of the lyrical prose and the development of Zora's personal story (not to mention where it looks like the next book might take both her and Amelia), but fans of The Vespertine who do not want to read almost the exact same story with new packaging may not love it as much.