The Memory Trees

The Memory Trees

by Kali Wallace

Hardcover

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Overview

A darkly magical novel about a mysterious family legacy, the bonds of sisterhood, and the strange and powerful ways we are shaped by the places we call home, from the critically acclaimed author of Shallow Graves.

For the first eight years of her life, an unusual apple orchard in Vermont is Sorrow Lovegood's whole world. The land has been passed down through generations of brave, resilient women, and while their offbeat habits may be ridiculed by other townspeople—especially their neighbors, the Abrams family—Sorrow and her family take pride in its odd history.

Then one winter night, an unthinkable tragedy changes everything. In the aftermath, Sorrow is sent to Miami to live with her father, away from the only home she’s ever known.

Now sixteen, Sorrow's memories of her life in Vermont are maddeningly hazy. She returns to the orchard for the summer, determined to learn more about her troubled childhood and the family she left eight years ago. But it soon becomes clear that some of her questions have difficult—even dangerous—answers. And there may be a price to pay for asking.

Editorial Reviews

Shannon M. Parker

A gorgeously crafted, sumptuously layered novel that masterfully peels back the layers of love, loss and endurance harnessed by twelve generations of brave, magical Lovegood women. The Memory Trees is a stunning powerhouse of a book. It is timeless. It is beautiful. It is a gift.

Booklist (starred review) on Shallow Graves

A fast-paced story with an interesting hook, and a thoughtful look at what it means to be human versus what it means to be a monster. The end result is a superbly crafted debut bound to entrance.

Booklist

Wallace has created a fascinating matriarchal backstory with touches of magical realism that will appeal to readers of Alice Hoffman.

Mindy McGinnis

A fast-paced ride through a dark, imaginative world.

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

From the tenderness and toxicity that can simultaneously exist in families, to the rippling effect of mental illness, to the search for a solid identity among all those jagged pieces, The Memory Trees has a lot to unpack with a hint of magical realism and mystique.

Adriana Mather

No one writes creepy, beautiful stories like Wallace does – she expertly weaves love, loss, compassion, and murder in a way that will both move you to tears and have you sleeping with the lights on. The Memory Trees will keep you guessing until the very end.

The Horn Book

This is a dark and brooding mystery about a matrilineal family steeped in tragedy, but a hopeful ending honors the enduring power of love and resilience.”

Madeleine Roux

Kali Wallace has created a world that’s both natural and unsettling …and reminds us with Breezy’s story that true terror is not a monster, but what lurks in the dark corners of human nature.

Booklist

Wallace has created a fascinating matriarchal backstory with touches of magical realism that will appeal to readers of Alice Hoffman.

Booklist on Shallow Graves

A fast-paced story with an interesting hook, and a thoughtful look at what it means to be human versus what it means to be a monster. The end result is a superbly crafted debut bound to entrance.

School Library Journal

09/01/2017
Gr 9 Up—A family feud lasting 12 generations is at the heart of this introspective novel. Eight years ago, Sorrow Lovegood's 16-year-old sister was killed in a fire, her mother suffered a nervous breakdown, and Sorrow was taken away to live with her father in Florida. Now Sorrow, at 16, returns to the Vermont apple orchard where she grew up in order to fill in the hazy parts of her memory. She is immediately reminded of the fierce animosity between her historically matriarchal clan and the neighboring Abrams family, who have been trying to take the Lovegood land for centuries. Flashbacks of Sorrow's reclusive ancestors depict many hardships, including the murder of nine-year-old twins by an Abrams man and a Lovegood mother who killed her children rather than have them starve during a harsh winter. Slowly, Sorrow begins to piece together what happened during the last days of her sister's life, and her own role in the tragic events. But a startling suicide and more heartrending revelations occur before understanding and healing can finally begin. The slow-paced, mostly quiet narrative is interrupted several times by short bursts of anger that generally involve Sorrow or another character uncharacteristically flinging F-bombs. This brooding tale of a strange family and its secrets may appeal to readers who enjoy lyrical stories of grief and redemption. VERDICT A good choice for large YA collections.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2017-07-02
Seeking understanding about the circumstances surrounding her sister's death, Sorrow returns home for the first time since the tragedy eight years earlier.Following her 16-year-old sister's death and her mother's breakdown, 8-year-old Sorrow began living with her father in Florida. Now, realizing that she has forgotten many details surrounding the fire her sister died in, the white teen demands to return to the family apple orchard in Vermont. Started by a female relative 12 generations ago, both the orchard and the strongly matriarchal family structure have endured the ravages of hard times and loss—much of which is exacerbated by their longtime feud with the neighboring Abrams family. Flashbacks capture the feud's beginning as well as unflinching scenes highlighting the terrible ways both families have escalated the conflict. Sorrow's interactions with the Abrams sisters signal that the animosity continues in the youngest generation. But spending time in the gorgeously mystical orchard begins reviving Sorrow's memories, raising questions about the feud and the fire. Sorrow's quietly fierce determination to break through the family's silent secrets exposes the grievances that tie the families together as much as they hold them apart. The novel is Sorrow's story of loss, the story of a family feud, and occasionally an exposé on how small-town traditions perhaps unwittingly encourage a bubbling animosity to continue for generations. An absorbing, lyrically drawn mystery, examination of grief, and cautionary tale. (Fiction. 14-adult)

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

From the tenderness and toxicity that can simultaneously exist in families, to the rippling effect of mental illness, to the search for a solid identity among all those jagged pieces, The Memory Trees has a lot to unpack with a hint of magical realism and mystique.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062366238
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/10/2017
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 751,639
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Customer Reviews