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The Poison Diaries

The Poison Diaries

3.5 26
by Maryrose Wood, The Duchess of Northumberland

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In the right dose, everything is a poison . . . even love.

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle with her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary. His pride and obsession, a poison garden, contains exotic and local specimens of the most dangerous plants in the world. But Jessamine is absolutely


In the right dose, everything is a poison . . . even love.

Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle with her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary. His pride and obsession, a poison garden, contains exotic and local specimens of the most dangerous plants in the world. But Jessamine is absolutely forbidden to enter.

Her life changes forever the day a traveler brings a stranger to their cottage, claiming that the young man has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is intrigued by the young man, who goes by the name of Weed. He has an intense sensitivity to growing things, and an even rarer and more specialized knowledge about plants than Thomas does. As Jessamine falls in love with Weed, she learns his extraordinary secret—and is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Ally Carter
“Lyrical and lovely, a fast-paced literary gem.”—
“This intriguing fantasy has many tendrils to wrap around teen hearts. The haunting ending will leave readers wanting to talk about the themes of cruelty, honesty, and loya—lty.”
Publishers Weekly
Based on a concept by the duchess of Northumberland, Wood (The Mysterious Howling) tells a passionate story of love, betrayal, and loquacious plants in this unique, slightly bizarre tale, first in a planned trilogy. Sheltered 16-year-old Jessamine lives with her domineering apothecary father, Thomas, in an austere cottage near an abandoned castle in late 18th-century England. Frequently left alone while her father journeys to London, Jessamine is thrilled when Weed, a taciturn teenage orphan, shows up. Weed has a vast knowledge of plants, which Jessamine learns comes from his ability to communicate with them. A sweet romance between Weed and Jessamine is threatened by Thomas’s desire for Weed to teach him about the poisonous plants in his garden. The story, slow at first, accelerates when Wood makes it apparent that Jessamine’s father is connected to her grave and sudden illness. The final chapters are a bit disjointed, as the first-person narration jumps between Jessamine, Weed, and the slyly evil Prince Oleander plant. Still, Wood does a marvelous job of creating heart-wrenching decisions for her characters and portraying a doomed romance reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. Ages 12-up. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Readers will be intrigued by both the romance and complex moral questions in this fantasy set in late-18th-century England. Jessamine, 16, lives with her apothecary father, Thomas Luxton, in the remote countryside near Alnwick Castle. As she keeps house and tends to the gardens, there is one place she is forbidden to go: only her father enters the locked apothecary garden where he nurtures poisonous plants collected from all over the world. Their pastoral existence is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Weed, a straggly teenage orphan who has an inexplicable knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants. As romance blossoms between Jessamine and Weed, she discovers that he is able to communicate with all growing things. Luxton begins to crave Weed's know-how and allows him into the apothecary garden, where the teen is made physically ill by the overwhelmingly evil personalities of the poisonous blooms. What begins that day propels the three characters into a tangled web of passion, betrayal, and the supernatural influence of the Prince of Poison. The novel explores the nature of good and evil and the consequences of choices whatever their intentions. As Luxton's explanation foreshadows, a plant that can kill used in one way can heal used in another. Told mostly in Jessamine's voice, the story has a compelling sense of urgency and mystery even as climactic events become too melodramatic. The book is based on a concept by the current Duchess of Northumberland who created the real Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle.—Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Kirkus Reviews

Jessamine, 16, tends house and garden for her stern apothecary father in isolated Northumberland. Thomas Luxton relentlessly catalogs the properties of plants, visits London for days and forbids Jessamine from entering his locked garden of poisonous specimens. Weed, an orphan able to commune with plants, irrevocably alters their lives as he and Jessamine fall in love. Employing a "concept created by the Dutchess of Northumberland" (whose renowned gardens at Alnwick Castle include a poison garden), Wood fashions a narrative whose conventions of gothic romance intertwine with, then utterly succumb to, the brutal forces of human obsession. As Jessamine sickens mysteriously, Weed desperately seeks her cure, entering the poison garden repeatedly, goaded by Jessamine's sinister father. Like the supernatural hecklers of Greek mythology, the denizens of the poison garden—their "Prince," Oleander, paramount—torment Weed into unspeakable acts in love's service. Innocent Jessamine's garden diary is taken up by Weed two-thirds in, permitting the author to dig at the notions of human goodness and love's purity until she exposes their base elements. Absorbing, with room for a sequel. (Historical fantasy. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Poison Diaires Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Poison Diaries

Chapter 5

30th March

The weather has shifted. The breeze is warm and full of promise.

No time to write more. I have to tend to Weed.

Today i s the first day of a new season.

It is the season of Weed.

He is not much company yet. All day and all night he hides in the coal bin, hunched and silent. Father says it must be because that is what he was accustomed to at the madhouse, but I think Father may have frightened him with his wild talk of throwing poison into wells; it is no wonder he does not wish to speak to us. So far he has refused to eat most of the food I bring, though he will drink as much water as he is offered.

I will be patient. Any wild creature can be tamed, if you are willing to wait and be still. I have learned this from the feral cats that lurk around the courtyard. They stare like yellow-eyed demons; they bolt and hide if you approach, but sooner or later, when they are hungry enough, they come and take the food from your hand.

So it will be with Weed -- but not yet. In the meantime I have decided that I will speak to him, to get him accustomed to my presence. He may not answer me at fi rst, but that is no matter. I have someone to talk to, at last! My words will be like sunshine and air. My voice will rain down on him, and then we shall see what glorious orchid may blossom from this shy, unwanted Weed.

I race through my chores in half the usual time so that I may spend the rest of the day taming my new friend. Since he will not leave the coal bin, I carry my small stool down to the cellar and sit as close as I dare.

"My name is Jessamine Luxton," I say, as a way to begin. "I am sixteen years of age. My father is Thomas Luxton, the apothecary. You met him already; he was the one that picked you up off the ground and brought you inside the cottage, after that dreadful man on horseback left you lying in the dirt like rubbish."

While I speak he stays facing away from me, his body curved around his knees as if he were encased in the hard husk of a seed.

"So," I say, nudging my stool an inch closer, "now you have met Father and me. That means you have met my whole family, for my mother is dead, and I am an only child. My father and I live alone together, here."

I see a finger twitch, flex.

"This place we live in, this house, which I call our cottage -- it is very old. Some would say it is a sacred place. The Catholic monks used to live and worship here."

He starts, and his mouth moves as if he would speak.

"Bells," he breathes.

His voice is so soft it is not even a whisper. More like the rustle of a leaf.

"Yes," I say encouragingly, in case I heard right.

"Centuries ago, in this very place, there were church bells ringing, and Mass bells, and the call to vespers. When the monastery was here there must have been bells ringing all the time."


I am nearly sure that is what he said, but it was so soft, a mere flutter of air. "Bells?" I repeat gently. "Do you mean Canterbury bells? They are such pretty flowers, I grow them in my cutting garden."

Weed's whole face brightens. "Garden?" he asks, quite clearly.

Once more, those remarkable green eyes pierce me like emerald daggers. "Do you like gardens? We have many," I say in a rush. "In the kitchen gardens I grow all our vegetables and herbs for the table, and there is a small orchard for fruit, and a bee garden so the bees will make delicious honey, and a dye garden so I can make dyes to color the wool. And Father has his apothecary garden of plants that he uses to make medicines and cures -- but we may not enter there, for Father's work is secret, and many of those plants are poison -- "

"Jessamine!" Father stands silhouetted at the top of the cellar stairs. "What on earth are you telling that boy?"

"Nothing -- "

"Do not lie, Jessamine. I heard you speaking. A person cannot speak nothing."

"I am sorry, Father. I should have said, "Nothing of importance," I reply with false cheer, to cover the shame I feel at being scolded in front of Weed. "I was telling Weed about us, and our home, and about the gardens -- he ought to know where he is, and in whose care, oughtn't he?"

Father ignores my reply. "Bring the boy upstairs to my study. I wish to speak to him." Then he leaves, letting the door close behind him. The shaft of daylight coming down the stairwell is snuffed out.

I take a deep breath to compose myself and give my eyes time to adjust to the sudden darkness. Then I make myself smile reassuringly at Weed. "Father can be stern, but you mustn't be frightened of him. Will you come upstairs?"

I extend my hand. Weed takes it and rises gracefully to his feet, unfolding his long legs in a single fluid motion. The dim light gives his pale face an ethereal beauty that takes my breath away -- the dark, unkempt hair, his wide, impossibly green eyes, his weightless form as willowy as a sapling.

"Come," I say, steadying my voice. "Perhaps he will let you see the belladonna berries; they are quite lovely. He keeps some in a jar on the shelf."

"Belladonna," Weed says, looking at me so intensely his green eyes nearly light up the dark. "A beautiful lady."

I know he does not mean me, but I blush anyway, and go first up the stairs so he cannot see my scarlet face.

The Poison Diaries. Copyright © by Maryrose Wood. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Ally Carter
“Lyrical and lovely, a fast-paced literary gem.”—

Meet the Author

Maryrose Wood is the author of the first five books (so far!) in this series about the Incorrigible children and their governess. These books may be considered works of fiction, which is to say, the true bits and the untrue bits are so thoroughly mixed together that no one should be able to tell the difference. This process of fabrication is fully permitted under the terms of the author's Poetic License, which is one of her most prized possessions.

Maryrose's other qualifications for writing these tales include a scandalous stint as a professional thespian, many years as a private governess to two curious and occasionally rambunctious pupils, and whatever literary insights she may have gleaned from living in close proximity to a clever but disobedient dog.

Jane Northumberland is married to the twelfth Duke of Northumberland and is mistress of Alnwick Castle. The earls and dukes of Northumberland have lived in Alnwick Castle for seven hundred years. The Duchess has spent the last fourteen years creating beautiful public gardens in the grounds of the castle and, because of her fascination with and knowledge of poisons, has created the world-famous Poison Garden. Alnwick Castle and the Alnwick Garden are the most popular tourist destinations in the north of England, attracting more than 800,000 visitors each year.

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Poison Diaries 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old Jessamine lives with her father, an apothecary, in an abandoned church she calls "the cottage". Her father's obsession is a forbidden garden where he keeps deadly and poisonous plants from around the world. Jessamine lives a boring life- taking care of her father and the plants, writing in her journal, doing household chores. Until a stranger shows up at her home with a present for her father. The present is Weed, a strange and introverted boy, whom with Jessamine builds a friendship, and later, a romance. Weed has a secret, though: plants communicate with him, and he is especially wary of the Poison Garden. But when Jessamine falls inexplicably ill, its up to Weed to unlock the secret of the dangerous garden in order to save her life. When I first started this book, I thought it was going to be good. The premise was unique and the writing was lovely. I really liked Jessamine's journal and how her voice fit the time period. Quickly, though, I got sick of it. The writing soon became (pardon the pun) too flowery, and the beginning was incredibly boring. No conflict was introduced until nearly 50 pages in. And once Weed was introduced, it was too late. I already had a sour taste in my mouth. Jessamine proved herself to be a weak character. All she did was cook, clean, and then become unconcious. I thought we had gotten past the whole Disney Princess concept. I guess not. And Weed and Jessamine's romance was incredibly awkward. I kept wincing and getting embarrassed for them. Weed would have been interesting if his ability wasn't so silly. He talks to plants, or more correctly, plants talk to him. I kept getting these absurd mental images of flowers with lips, and too soon I was past the point of taking this book seriously. And the ending was pretty horrible. Once Jessamine got deadly ill, she couldn't very well write in her journal, could she? So Weed had to pick it up. From there, things got even weirder. It would shift between Weed's POV (which was eerily similar to Jessamine's), and these weird tripped out visions which Jessamine had of a Plant Prince or something. It was quite difficult to follow. And of course it ended openly because we can't have a stand-alone now, can we? *sighs* There are just some books that don't need to be written.
NikiAmanda More than 1 year ago
The Poison Diaries is quite a gem. I'm glad I read this book as it now one of my absolute favorite novels. I recommend it to anyone that is looking forward to reading a delightful book centered around a sweet and innocent love. The character's are interesting in their own way (some more than others...), and the plot is quite interesting my opinion. Although the book starts off a bit slow, the story begins to pick up after the arrival of Weed (the love interest of the main character) and from there the story becomes very fast paced. There is also an interesting twist that involves one of the characters (I wont say which character sorry gotta read the book to find out :P) The story ends in a way that will have you CRAVING more (and luckily there will be more it's a trilogy guys!) My only qualm with The Poison Diaries is the relationship between Weed, Jessamine and a center poison reminds me a little too much of a center oh so popular series... Other than that TPD is an AMAZING book and has quickly climbed to the top of my favorites list, and is only rivaled by Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods (which I also recommend) 5/5
GirlintheStacks More than 1 year ago
I have been looking forward to reading this book. The plot sounded so intriguing. How could I resist a historical fiction centered on a poison garden ( I <3 gardens,) based on a real garden. Really, it's my cup of tea. However, much to my chagrin I really did not like it. Jessamine is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a cottage with her apothecary gardener father Thomas, near Alnwick Castle. They live an isolated life, only called on when there is a need for a cure for the sick. When not needed they tend their gardens, however there is one garden Jessamine is not allowed. The Poison Garden. Things change when they are asked to take in an orphan, Weed. Weed is a troubled young man who has a peculiar gift that Thomas envies and Jessamine finds herself drawn to. There were really lots of things I liked about this book, but at the same time I didn't like them. For example, I liked the plot. I didn't like certain elements of the plots though. There were several times I thought characters were out of character, I was actually embarrassed for them for their actions. The end explains the character mishaps, but really it had me cringing. I liked the characters, however I found them to be boring. Jessamine was probably the most boring. She really doesn't do anything in the book except garden, sew and cook. Weed is a very intersecting character with an extraordinary gift. It is the gift though that I had a hard time finding believable. I wish his character had been fleshed out more, more on his past and more about his ability. The most entertaining character in the book was Thomas, Jessamine's father. He is secretive, very secretive and all together not good. He is a trickster, only wanting to further his interests. What really got me was the last quarter of the book. It was "far out there.' I thought it completely different from the rest of the book. The ending was also abrupt and not satisfactory. All in all, this may be a great read for a twelve-year-old girl, but not for this thirty-something gal.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
This was definitely a novel that I'm so glad I ended up reading. Usually, I'm not a big fan of Victorian era novels and maybe it's because I prefer the reality of our time rather than that time, but either way I ended up finding another novel that will end up going on my list of 'awesome reads'. Everything about it pulled me in, the pretty lettering on the cover, the title, the synopsis and the story itself! I finished it quickly (it took me a few hours) because once I began reading, I just couldn't bring myself to stop, though I did enjoy the large amount of details that Maryrose Wood put into the story and the way that every little scene became more and more realistic. Though I will admit in the beginning I did assume that the story would drag, but as it progressed I found myself slapping myself silly for even thinking that. The main character Jessamine was just amazing. I loved the way her eagerness to enter the Poison Garden was presented early in the novel and the way she found treating the belladonna seeds to be a very important job. I even liked how she was daddy's little girl, in a sense. Her father, Doctor Thomas Luxton, was a character whose intentions I was constantly second guessing. At certain points in the story, I believed that maybe he wasn't good, that maybe he was bad and that maybe his obsession with being a botanist and a doctor was going to make him an irritating character. Now as to the character Weed, I was always wondering who he really was or more what he really was for a few reasons actually: 1- he came from an insane asylum. 2- he is very obsessed with the plants and 3- his name is Weed. Seemed kinda sketchy to me *narrows eyes*. Though as the plot thickened, I began to find interest in Weed. I wanted to know why he was so caring towards the plants and of course I wanted him and Jessamine to admit their feelings to each other. The other thing I know is that once you find out why he's so interested in plants you'll think of him as a guy version of Poison Ivy (it's a comic reference yay!). I was in love with the way that he was so willing to do anything for Jessamine when she became sick and the way we end up learning why Weed finds the Poison Garden just evil. The plants in there are just cruel and evil. With there being a Prince of Poison, a Poison Realm and there being so much death and sorrow in the story (there are still lots of cute and happy parts though despite all the poison!) I found it to be an interesting Gothic read with a cute male lead and a girl who just wants to go into the forbidden garden and prove that she's grown up to her father. I only found one downfall with the story and it was the reason I had to stop reading for a minute or so. It was the way that I had to consult a dictionary for certain words that I had no clue what they were. I absolutely hate having to stop reading a great story because of having to find out what a word means, but it is in the Victorian ages after all *shrugs*. I did get curious and ended up Googling some of the poisonous plants to see what they looked like during the parts that were in Weed's point of view. I would recommend this to anybody who wants to read a book that is Gothic, dark and has a twist (I love twists) that you most likely won't see coming. Now go and get it. It was pretty awesome.
Aik More than 1 year ago
Poison Diaries is a special story about plants, love and poison. Enchanting and deadly, it will surely lure you into its realms, a place filled with useful, beneficial herbs as well as the most dangerous and poisonous plants, a place where the fates of two souls intertwined. Jessamine Luxton has never been away from the ancient stone chapel she calls home, or her estranged father who seems more interested in the plants in his apothecary than his own daughter. Her life was boring; she has no friends or anyone to talk to. However, this situation changed when Weed arrived. Weed is a most fascinating character ¿ he has an uncanny ability which he keeps hidden for fear of being intolerated by most people. He shuts himself to the world, but a new understanding was born when he met Jessamine, who showered him with love and kindness. The book was realistic at the beginning, but later it shifted towards the paranormal, when the Prince of Poison, Oleander suddenly gained power to communicate with Jessamine, who was in a delirium due to her strange sickness. The story became so dark and twisted, and the villains so cruel and wicked that it was almost impossible for the young lovers to survive. Albeit I had some problems with the starting chapters of the book, I managed to delve into the story following the arrival of Weed, and it kept my attention until the last page. Maryrose Wood¿s writing is atmospheric and beautiful, and she cleverly presents an unexpected twist at the end of the novel. Overall, Poison Diaries is a captivating read, though I personally feel the pacing of the novel can be further improved.
rebecca_herman More than 1 year ago
Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton lives at Hulne Abbey, in a cottage with her apothecary father, not far from Alnwick Castle in 18th century England. Her mother died when she was young and since then she has grown up in the isolated cottage. Jessamine is interested in her father's work growing plants but he will not allow her to assist him for fear the poisonous plants will harm her. Instead her days are filled with the work of housekeeping and growing the herb and vegetable gardens. Jessamine's life changes when a mysterious orphan boy named Weed, who is close in age to her, is brought to the cottage by a stranger who thinks Jessamine's father will be interested in Weed's abilities, as he seems to have some strange knowledge of herbs or healing. Weed is close in age to Jessamine, and she is determined to get to know this strange boy. A romance begins to develop between the two, however Jessamine becomes dangerously ill with a mysterious ailment and Weed must use his special knowledge of plants to try and find a way to save her. The Poison Diaries is the first in a trilogy and as such it ends rather abruptly and somewhat unsatisfactorily as a result. This isn't really a book that can stand on its own, I think you will need to read the whole series and I'm disappointed the next book won't be out for a year since I really want to know what happens. I really enjoyed the first half of the novel, and reading about Jessamine and Weed's growing relationship. Later on however the book does get very dark and some of the decisions made by characters are morally questionable. I did love the creepy gothic historical setting, it was very atmospheric, and the plot was definitely something very different, and for that reason I would recommend this book to readers who love unusual young adult fantasy novels. This is definitely a book that stands out, and in a good way in my opinion, from all the endless young adult paranormals about werewolves and vampires. However, if you really hate cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the entire series is available before reading. Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book as a gift to myself the title alone was an attention grabber. As I read this book i found myself fasinated by each character. I was emotionaly pulled in & fighting with & for Jessmine & Weed. Cant wait to read the next installment, judt feel like pulling my hair out waiting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the begining I thought the storie would drag, but when Weed entered the novel I started to, and ended up loving the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out with a little girl talking about poison. Doesnt really catch readers attention. First line shod be more - capturing. Not something that makes the reader want to abandon the book already. Reallly boring. I never made it past the first few pgs. Not a good book. My three year old neice can do better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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KimballSK More than 1 year ago
The Poison Diaries is an entrancing, quick read that is one part fable, one part fairy tale (sans fairies) and one part love story. Jessamine's father, Thomas, (as you read in the blurb) is an apothecary. He maintains several different gardens, including: one to feed himself and his daughter (veggies),one for medicinal purposes (herbs) and also one for research (the Poison Garden). Initially, we are not allowed to peek into the mysterious "Poison Garden" because Thomas forbids his daughter to enter for fear of her safety. The beginning narrative of The Poison Diaries mirrors the glimpses of nature we are allowed to see. The tone is light and breezy while we are surrounded by chamomile, lavender and daises. Into this springtime bliss enters Weed (your typical Love Interest: handsome, glowing eyes, mysterious, thoughtful, weird name, enamoured of heroine....). Does it spoil the story for you to say Jessamine and Weed fall in love? Didn't think so. In the latter half of The Poison Diaries, we get to enter the Poison Garden (finally) and here's where things take a dark turn. Again, mirroring the background garden against which this part of the story is set, the tone is dark, sinister, cruel and deadly once we are surrounded by belladonna, foxglove and oleander. The Poison Diaries addresses the nature (pun intended) of life, love, death and deception in a masterful way. The only drawback might be that the ending is not wrapped with a bow. I would like to say that, "neither is real life" and think that is the reason it left off the way it did. However, the truth is: the ending is a good old-fashioned cliff-hanger to keep you coming back for the sequel being released this October. Well, then it worked Ms. Wood and Duchess, I can't wait to see what you have on store for Jessamine, Weed and Co. next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kitt-Katt More than 1 year ago
The Poison Diaries was a great book. I loved it. This book starts out great and finishes with bang. I can't wait until the next installment in the series and I hope that Maryrose Wood write many more books!
hayley lown More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. Seriously. A must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
In the beginning it was slow. At first I almost gave up in the book, then I hit chapter four, thats when things really started to get interesting. It certainly did pick up when Weed, started to do strange things. I was very intrigued from the start. Now, this book was written well, and the plot, drama was great. In the end, it had some very unexpected surprises and I really need to know what happens next.....like NOW! The Poison Diaries is what it is, poison. It seeps into you forcing you to finish the book no matter what. It was definitely a must read. I also like the fact how everything was well put together. The characters were great as well as the time period. I love to read books that are old fashioned talk. There is just something sexy about it. Also, it may be a little hard to read if you don't like reading book that are in the past, and it did take a little time to get to the good part. All in all, this was a very great, intriguing read. I often wondered a lot about plants, and I now know more now, then what I knew then. The paranormal element in this book is good. It is something different and unique.
BluHawk More than 1 year ago
After finishing the book, I still don't know how I feel about it! Parts of it were extremely charming while others left me flabbergasted. The good news is that it kept me on my toes the whole way through and I love it when books do that. Poison Diaries was refreshingly original and I am looking forward to more books in the series! If you liked this book, you might also like "Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale as well as "Wings" by Aprilynne Pike!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Jessamine has had a quiet existence living with her father on the outskirts of town. She's told not to associate with the townspeople by him. Thomas is the local area's apothecary. He's spent many years studying the healing power of plants. Always thirsty for knowledge. One day, a horse and rider come to their home. The rider, a man who owns a home for the mentally unstable, has a boy tied and laying over the saddle. He claims that the boy, called Weed, has a special knack for plants, even going so far as to say that the boy cured some residents of the institution by putting something in their tea. He can't have that, as it would ruin his business, so he's brought him to Jessamine's father in the hope that he would take him in. At first, Weed is withdrawn, hardly talking or eating at all. Soon, Jessamine begins to bring Weed out of his shell. They spend their days together, enjoying each other's company, their friendship blossoming into something more. In the meantime, Thomas is hungry for more information about Weed's gift. In the beginning, Thomas' curiosity seems normal. However, as time goes on, it begins to seem that Thomas has something more sinister in mind. When things come to a head and Jessamine is put in danger, nothing is as it appears. Weed's past and the extent of his gifts come to light. Thomas will show just how far he is willing to go for the knowledge he craves, and Jessamine will see things she's never even imagined. What a read! THE POISON DIARIES is a book that you can really fly through, full of great characters. Jessamine loves her father and her home, but she can't help feeling a bit restricted when he continues to treat her as a child. Weed has never had anyone to care for him, and he's always been treated as an outcast. Thomas is constantly engrossed in his work, seeming to only rarely bother with Jessamine. Although not neglectful, he's certainly not very talkative. Seeing Thomas flushed out a bit more as a character would have been nice, but readers will most likely be seeing him much more in the future installments of this series. There's an abrupt change in the middle of the book, with the narration switching from Jessamine's point of view to Weed's. Although it takes a few pages to get used to, it's for the benefit of the reader. Getting things from Weed's perspective makes the story very exciting. This is a fabulous start to what has the potential to be an amazing series. It's definitely one to watch.