When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door,Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn’t so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don’t always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she’s soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.
Another blurb on the cover of Forget-Her-Nots says something about Laurel discovering that she's part of a "secret society" of people who know the language of flowers. My daughter read that and immediately asked "How can someone be part of a society without even knowing it?" I promptly replied "Harry Potter, hello?"And there are similarities -- Laurel's attending boarding school, and learning her own brand of magic. But instead of attending a school for magical people, she's learning her magic in the midst of the Muggles.
Laurel's a freshman in this book, but boys and girls from all years of high school (as well as adults) are part of the story. It will probably appeal most to girls ages 12 and up.
I enjoyed reading the story, as well as learning a bit more about the Victorian language of flowers, which was actually used in the 19th century to convey messages to friends and romantic interests. You might recall the words Ophelia used in Hamlet: "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts." Shakespeare wrote that long before the Victorian era, but the meanings remained and are included in Forget-Her-Nots. And in Louisa May Alcott's Jo's Boys, she has Demi propose to Alice using roses, and Alice gives her response accordingly. So the idea of using flowers to convey feelings and messages was both familiar and charming.
Amy Brecount White lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, three kids and Jessie the Wonder Dog. Forget-Her-Nots is her first novel.
This review is part of an ARC tour through Around the World Tours.